What does that mean? As a Millennial, I represent a large portion of your future employee demographic (35.9% in 2025 in Europe, according to LinkedIn) and I bring an attitude towards work and my workplace shaped by the digital revolution.  

As the world celebrates World Youth Skills Day on 15 July it’s timely to reflect on the critical role young people with skills are going to play in the future of our economy, and think about how organisations need to evolve to attract, retain and nurture young skills and talent.  

The same LinkedIn report describes the Millennial workforce as having far lower acceptance levels for the status quo, used as they are to Apps that update several times a year.

“Due to the convergence of social, mobile and cloud, Millennials are used to sharing, transparency, and being instantly connected with people regardless of location.  They hold a dissatisfaction with corporate systems and traditional hierarchies. While these frustrations are by no means unique to Millennials, it is this generation that is speaking out about the challenges these present and expecting to see quick fixes.” (LinkedIn)

Let’s hear some more from Alex and his friends:

How do we differ?

When it comes to picking careers, there has been some speculation that Millennials have turned from the classic incentives of higher salaries and other financial bonuses, asking instead for emotional attachment, flexibility, and career progression.

I decided to verify numerous ‘independent’ studies with some qualitative discussions with friends and share the insights with you now: 

Money Still Matters

One study I read claimed if you talk to a Millennial about what they want from a job, money won’t even come up. This is simply not true. Whenever one of my friends tell me they have applied for a new job, the first question I ask is: ‘what does it pay?’.  When I asked my friends what they looked for in the job, almost all mentioned salary first. Those that didn’t mentioned it in their top three.  

That’s not to say money is all that matters. Neither my friends nor I would stay in a job that made us miserable. But nor would we take a job we loved for a salary smaller than what we had become used to.  It would be very foolish to mistake the importance Millennials place on flexibility, transparency and mobility as a replacement for financial reward. 

Money still definitely matters!

We want to feel engaged and valued (but honestly, who doesn’t?)

My desk research into what ‘experts’ say about Millennials also touted the same most common three desires when seeking employment as:

  • Career growth opportunities
  • Flexible working
  • Managers who care, provide feedback & career advice

To me, the only real surprise here is the implication that this is somehow unique to Millennials!  

Surely every employee wants a sense of their ‘careers’ are going somewhere? Also, with the question of whether to offer flexible working is pretty much being taken off the table in post-lockdown 2021, surely it’s even more critical for organisations to build robust plans based on clear employee feedback to address this need?  And of course there is endless evidence that employees that feel valued are not only more productive, but ultimately better ambassadors for your brand, regardless of age. 

So what’s the secret to attracting, retaining and nurturing the best #youthskills?

WorkInConfidence has partnered with 50+ organisations over the past 7 years to enable them to build open, transparent two-way communication channels with its employees.  Based on this experience, and the insight from smart individuals like Alex, we know that the first step to figuring out how best to address the unique needs of your employees is to start by listening to them.  

No survey or independent research can and should ever take the place of the feedback and insight you get from your employees.  

So, this World Youth Skills day, and every other day, start by giving your employees a voice to express which benefits, perks, workstyle and management approach suites them best.  #Startbylistening.

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