Millennials are now the “largest living generation,” surpassing even the baby boomers. They have “reached their prime working years,” and have already eclipsed generation X in the U.S. workplace, where they make up more than 25% of the labor force; and according to a recent study, by 2025, they will make up about 75% of the global workforce.
The Millennial generation was born at a time of accelerated technological innovation and advances. They are the first generation to have grown up in this fast-paced, technology driven global environment, and they have developed two important traits – adaptability and learnability. They rapidly and easily adapt to upgrades in technology and changes in social media trends. They are on track to becoming “the most educated generation in history.” A vast majority (93%), according to one report, “see ongoing skills development as an important part of their future careers.”
Unlike previous generations, they are the most mobile generation, and this has influenced how they communicate, receive and share information. They prefer using social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram to stay in touch and stay connected, and are fonder of instant messaging tools than they are of emails.
They devour and share information at rapid speeds, and have been empowered by the amount of readily available data on companies that interest them, or who are interested in them. Company brand value and their role in civil society is an important priority in whether they choose to work for an organization or not, and just as important is a company’s culture. As reported in Futurestep’s global survey, “Millennials are absolutely looking for culture and fit. They want to feel good about where they’re working and require a shared sense of purpose,”
There has not been a generation as socially conscious as the 60’s generation, but Millennials are proving that that is about to change.
How to Attract & Retain Them
A recent Forbes article pointed to the fact that Millennials are often thought of as “loyalty-lite, hungry for feedback, with high expectations for rapid career development,” which can be attributed to this world of sharing, rating and instant feedback they engage in daily. But don’t rule out their importance and value in helping organizations achieve optimum growth potential. The loss of experience and skills as the aging population of baby boomers approaches or have reached retirement age, means that finding ways to “attract and retain the best of this generation,” is critical to any winning talent strategy, in overcome the deepening shortage of critical hire talent now and in future.
GenXers alone, will not be able to fill the growing demand for the right talent to fill key roles. There is already intense competition for highly qualified candidates, and smart executives and workforce professionals are looking to groom Millennials to assume some of that responsibility.
Millennials are hard workers, they want to be an asset, and have an in-depth understanding of the critical changes impacting business today – such as the importance of the internet, technology and social media. Using that knowledge can bridge the gap between the generational divide that is often a part of corporate culture. Playing to their strength – their need for instant feedback, flexible work-life balance and an opportunity to keep their skill sets fine-tuned – could be the difference between losing them or keeping them engaged and overachieving. But it could also be a significant way Millennials are “pushing for change that all generations want to see happen” and that can lead to the “competitive advantage in attracting, developing, and keeping tomorrow’s talent” according to the Harvard Business Review.