By 2020 Millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce. That’s one reason so many reports about them exist. Some say they are disloyal, self-absorbed and lazy, while others claim they’re a generation of digital entrepreneurs and innovators. Some aim to dispel the myths others have created.
Millennials are set to run career ultramarathons and anticipate taking breaks along the way, according to a ManpowerGroup report titled ‘Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision’. They prioritize job security and the opportunity for new challenges and types of work. The time is ripe for employers to take a fresh look at their people strategies.
Based on a global study of 1,000 Millennials from across the United States, the report provides practical advice to help employers rethink their people practices for attracting, retaining and developing Millennial workers.
Rather than one long job for life, Millennials understand the need for continuous skills development to remain employable. Ninety-three percent want lifelong learning and are willing to spend their own time and/or money on further training. Four out of five say the opportunity to learn new skills is a top factor when considering a new job, and 22% intend to take an extended break from work to gain new skills and qualifications.
“Employers need to listen up and get creative. They simply cannot afford not to appeal to Millennials,” said Mara Swan, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent, ManpowerGroup and Global Brand Lead for Right Management.
Where Millennials are more equal is in caring for themselves. Both genders aim to prioritize “me-me-me time” and leisure-related breaks. Regardless of gender, four in 10 Millennials are planning to take significant breaks for relaxation, travel or vacations. Taking time off to support a partner in their job ranks close to last place for both, reinforcing the trend towards dual-income households.
Millennials prioritize three things when choosing where and how they work: money, security and time off. They want to be rewarded for their effort, feel secure in their employment and still have the freedom to stop and refuel once in a while. They also value working with great people and enjoying the time they spend on the job, together with the opportunity to work flexibly and develop new skills as priorities.
“Millennials want progression, but that doesn’t have to mean promotion. We need new ways to motivate and engage employees, like facilitating on-the-job learning and helping people move around the organization to gain experience more easily. And what works for Millennials works for the rest of the workforce too.”
Workforce of the Future
Millennials are happy to disrupt and be disrupted however. Though they favor full-time work, over half say they are open to non-traditional forms of employment in the future—freelance, gig work or portfolio careers with multiple jobs. Self-employment is also a tempting future option.
Their comfort with disruption and openness to new ways of working may put pressure on employers to adopt more of the flexibility and varied work offered by alternative employment models.
It’s time for companies to reimagine their people practices. Progression doesn’t always have to mean promotion. Career enhancement doesn’t need to mean advancement. If the only way for Millennials to gain new skills or move up is to be promoted or leave the company, is job-hopping their fault or our problem?
Millennials know they need to upskill regularly to stay employable over longer working lives. They’ll even spend their own time and cash to do so. Employers need to listen up. Investing in training and creating ways to learn on the job and move around the organization is a sure way to make companies more attractive places to work.
Loyalty today is a two-way street. Once Millennials see what’s in it for them long-term they’ll be at least as committed and productive as generations before them. And no spoiler alert needed, what works for Millennials works for the rest of the workforce too, and you don’t need 2020 vision for that to be clear.
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