Recognising the Needs of the Millennial Workforce

4 min read

An European investment bank was asked by a prospective applicant if they would consider increasing the base salary by 60% from what they were currently earning.

This was after the potential employer had already offered an attractive 24% rise on their existing base. This individual only had 18 months of experience since graduating from university. This example illustrates how the millennial generation is changing the workforce.

Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y

Currently one third of the workforce is made up of Generation Y, those born in the early 1980s to the start of the new millennium. This generation has unique needs and wants. There are also many ways in which this growing workforce is different, with a number of surveys suggesting that the motivations and expectations of this social group are the opposite to previous generations. Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers will recognise that Millennials can be impatient for progress and advancement, and therefore, require feedback, training, variety and change. The traditional values of joining a business, getting your head down proving yourself and waiting to be recognised for your efforts, is nearly extinct. The new workforce require quick and regular reward and stimulation in the workplace.

In response to these changes, organisations began the practice of fast tracking promotions where appropriate, not allowing graduates and junior staff to work excessive hours and offering more flexible working patterns. Businesses conduct internal research and look into external resources to deepen their knowledge of millennial generation to be able to meet their needs and accommodate those as best they can, in order to maximise their impact.

The Job-Hopping Generation

The negative notion of ‘job hopping’ has now gained a new meaning. A candidates with a few different employers in a space of a couple of years has become the norm. Changing employment every year or two is no longer seen as a negative. In fact, it shows the candidates exposure to different types of organisations, markets and/or roles. There can be noticed a shift in perception from seeing a candidate as a 'job hopper' to seeing him or her as an explorer. In practice, this means that the employers came to accept this near reality.

What's more millennial workers seem to prefer companies that understand them as individuals, build relationships, and offers a hiring and employee experience that looks at their needs and aspirations. The need to have clear and shorter-time frames for promotion, more flexibility in working from home, and the use of technology, in particular social media, to support their communication style, are all examples of how Gen Y think and work differently.  Similarly, they want a boss who is a leader, not a manager. Someone who leads from the front, someone who coaches and mentors and thinks “we”, as opposed to “I”.

It is suggested that by 2030, 75% of the working population will be from the Millennial generation, needless to say that the Millennial population is becoming the most influential part of the current work force. They are a fast moving group, and therefore, need to be led in this fashion. Having grown up in a digital environment, they are natural problem solvers and therefore, need to be stimulated as such. If their leader is able to recognise this and invest in personal growth to satisfy their needs, they are more likely to build a stronger and longer lasting relationship. It is suggested that by 2030, 75% of the working population will be from the Millennial generation.

The only way the millennial workforce will remain motivated and driven on the path to succeed in any given company is that regular reviews should be offered to them. Opportunity to discuss performance, provide feedback and then (re) set targets/goals is vital. Millennials prefer a forum to voice their thoughts and opinions which is also critical in their development. Similarly, they also like to have responsibilities to work towards. Once many of the above are achieved, it is important to revise these depending on the individual’s desires. 


Final Thoughts

Gen Y / Millennials are not that different from past generations - they are asking for the same things that everybody else wants, but they just go about it differently. Millennials, like any professional, want to be challenged, offered security and variety in their careers; they want to work for a company of which they can be proud; and have every intention of being loyal. Companies need to be more clever and savvy when attracting and retaining this social group by listening to them and most importantly be willing to adapt to this changing workforce. 

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