April 4, 2017

What do millennials want from work?

By 2020, over a third of the global workplace will be millennials, according to this 2016 Manpower research. Other research puts the number even higher at 50%.

No wonder then that employers keep talking about the importance of recruiting, rewarding and retaining millennials in the workplace. But, if you want to recruit and retain them, you need to know what makes them tick.

There is lots of research to draw on – research on how millennials like to work, what drives them, what they want from work, what they don’t want from work…. and it’s not all positive. Some research claims they are lazy, self-absorbed, have short attention spans, need constant reward and praise and can’t handle even constructive criticism, let alone anything stronger. That’s the negative stuff. The positive attributes are that they are a generation of values-driven entrepreneurs and are innovative, forward thinking and willing to learn and re-learn – vital skills in today’s fast-moving business environment.

Considering the numbers of millennials in the workplace and the fact that many are now either in managerial positions or will soon be, organisations need to get to grips with what millennials want from work. The Manpower research, ‘Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision’, is a good place to start. Let’s take a look at some of its key findings:

Top priorities. The number one priority when looking for a job is money (92%), followed by security (87%), holidays/time off (86%), great people (80%) and flexible working (79%). Job security may come as a surprise to many, given that the modern generation are notorious job hoppers and are not happy to sit it out in the same job for years on end. This research found that although millennials do want to progress their careers quickly and move jobs, many are happy to do it within the same company.

Job hopping. Millennials want to be promoted quickly and constantly. Manpower asked participants what the “right” length of time was to spend in a role. The answer? Two thirds said less than two year, with a quarter saying less than 12 months.

Lifelong training. Millennials understand the important of continuous skills development and know they need to keep learning if they are to remain employable. As a result, the vast majority (93%) want lifelong learning and are prepared to invest their own time and money in training. Four out of five say the possibility of learning new skills is a major factor when considering a new job. And a significant number (22%) intend to take an extended break from work in order to gain new skills and qualifications.

Recognition. We all know that recognition is important to millennials: 50% would consider leaving their current role if there was a lack of appreciation. Manpower recommends frequent, face-to-face feedback to keep millennials engaged.

Career waves. Retirement age is rising and the working day is lengthening – millennials know that they are going to have to put in the hours and years at work. However, 84% of those participating in the Manpower survey expect to take significant breaks during their working lifetimes, to bring up children, look after elderly parents…And one in four anticipate taking a significant break in for personal fulfillment – travel, relaxation, pursue a life dream or hobby…