4 Things Millennials Want in Their Career

by Anastasia C. Valentine on May 8, 2018



Over the past few years, many companies have made changes to their workplace in order to attract and retain talent within the Millennial generation. According to PEW Research, Millennials comprise the largest generation in the United States and by 2020 “nearly half of the working population will be composed of Millennials.” Along with their sheer number, they bring unique skills and challenges to the workplace and can significantly impact a companies’ ability to grow.

A recent Gallup poll reveals 21 percent of Millennials have changed jobs in the past year and 60 percent are looking for new opportunities. One of the reasons for their propensity to job hop is feeling indifferent towards their job or company. This indifference is reinforced by the fact that 55 percent of Millennials are not engaged at work.

These statistics indicate companies could face huge potential costs including lost productivity due to Millennial turnover. The estimated economic impact due to this loss in productivity is estimated to be $30.5 billion annually.

What if you could create more loyal, satisfied, long-term employees? If we uncover what Millennials want in their career, can turnover and disengagement be minimized? In this article, we explore a variety of factors that may impact Millennial retention.

1) Professional Development

PEW Research asserts that Millennials are currently between the ages of 22 and 37, which is a prime age range for establishing career growth. It is not surprising that professional development is one of their top factors when applying for a job. The Gallup data supports this finding by showing that Millennials rank the “opportunity to learn and grow” higher than any other generation.

For Millennial professionals in information technology, career development is especially important. A survey of 2,163 IT professionals reveals that 79 percent of Millennials who are looking for new career opportunities are doing so in order to advance their technology skills.

What does this mean for companies?

  • Creating a company culture that values lifelong learning and development will help attract and retain Millennial employees.
  • Providing a clear career path for new hires and establishing mentorship opportunities, tuition reimbursement, and online learning programs are all valuable strategies for retention.
  • Introducing cutting-edge technology will also spark interest among younger employees.
  • Incorporating frequent feedback to increase communication and provide an opportunity to learn more about an individual’s career goals will let them know you care about their personal growth.

Essentially, an environment which emphasizes personal development in addition to meeting corporate objectives is essential in attracting and retaining Millennial talent.

2) Flexibility

For a long time, the philosophy that Millennials just wanted to have fun at work, with ping-pong tables, happy hours, and free food, was a popular stereotype. Companies like Google and Facebook were among the first to create the “informal work environments.” However, Gallup data shows this stereotype is not as accurate as you may think. A “fun place to work” and an “informal work environment” are actually the lowest-ranked factors when Millennials look for a new job. A fun work environment is unlikely to be enough by itself to retain these employees.

The need for flexibility, on the other hand, is significant to Millennials. A recent Deloitte study reveals that Millennials tend to have significantly higher levels of employer loyalty when they are granted greater flexibility in their work environments. Not only that, but Millennials report that flexible work arrangements have a positive impact on both organizational performance and personal well-being.

Whether they offer flexible hours or remote work opportunities, many companies are exploring how to incorporate these trends into their own environments. In fact, globally, 84 percent of Millennials say their employers have implemented some degree of flexibility. Subsequently, as the interest in flexibility within the workplace continues to grow, companies that have yet to align themselves with this Millennial trend will struggle to remain competitive in the marketplace.

3) Philanthropy

According to the most recent Deloitte study, 75 percent of Millennials view businesses as a “force for positive social impact.” This generation is reported to have the highest interest in philanthropic initiatives. 77 percent are or have previously been involved in charity work in some way. Interestingly, the workplace is where Millennials say they feel the most empowered to influence causes such as environmental protection and social equality.

It is imperative that employers pay attention to this trend. Data from the World Economic Forum tends to agree, listing an “impact on society” as the second most important criteria when Millennials are evaluating potential employers. This is a generation focused on changing the world and having the opportunity to do so through the workplace is highly attractive.

What is your company doing to support your local community or the world at large? Paid volunteer days, charitable donation matching, corporate responsibility programs, and overall philanthropic values are all ways that employers can continue to attract and retain Millennial talent.

4) Compensation

There are many significant factors that impact a Millennial’s choice of employment but the opportunity for a better salary is still a major motivator for these young professionals. As a Business Insider article points out, this generation has more college debt than any previous generation. This predicament is impacting many of their decisions, from housing arrangements to job opportunities. Though the Deloitte study makes it clear that other factors like professional development or company purpose may be cause for compromise, that does not mean the question of compensation is any less important for the Millennial population.

Another unique finding reported by Business Insider is that Millennials are much more open to discussing money matters with their colleagues, friends, and families than previous generations. The most significant impact of this tendency is the resulting transparency it produces within a company. Employees with concerns are more likely to voice them, and others feel more comfortable when negotiating salary expectations.

As a result, employers need to stay competitive with wage trends within their respective industry. Getting accurate insight on market rates is essential and bolstering compensation with key benefits and perks will help attract Millennials.

Is Your Company Prepared?

These four major motivators – professional development, flexibility, philanthropy, and compensation – are core to the Millennial generation’s values in the workplace. As your company encounters increased hiring needs, it is important to understand how this generation fits into your work environment. Leveraging Millennial’s core values in your workplace will certainly help you minimize the costs of employee turnover.

Founded in 1982, Resource 1 is an established Information Technology Consulting firm that provides Staff Augmentation services to corporations across North America.  We leverage our expertise in the evolving IT marketplace to deliver top talent to our clients.  Our 36 years in the business has allowed us to experience and clearly understand a multi-generational workforce.  That history coupled with our passion for innovation has given us the experience to efficiently identify key players for our client’s hiring needs.  See how we can help you.  Contact us today.