In 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation Xers as the largest portion of the US labor force, with the Pew Research Center - an American think tank based in Washington - finding that the shift came in the first quarter of 2015. And, as Baby Boomers retire and more Millennials enter the job market, the skill of managing this unique generation will only become more important.
Millennials - who will make up 75% of the worldwide labor force by 2025 - are both the most diverse and most educated generation to date, but they are also a product of a unique period of history. The first generation to have had access to the internet during their formative years, Millennials have an intimate relationship with immediate content and large, unfiltered batches of information.
Financially, the situation for these younger workers is far from rosy. The economic crash of 2008 has the majority entering the job market burdened by small savings and high debt, with a sense of financial insecurity unmatched by preceding generations. When managing the first generation condemned to earn less than their parents, an employer must acknowledge the different relationship with remuneration and ambitions this breeds.
Contrary to seemingly popular belief, Millennials are actually sticking with their early-career jobs longer than Generation X did - according to a White House report from October 2014 - with 5% fewer leaving within a year of being hired and over 25% of Millennials staying with a single job for three or more years. The apparent decline in employee loyalty has been counterweighted by the difficult economic situation, with many choosing - despite a general opinion of - to hold onto jobs in an inherently less fluid labor market.
When it is considered that 52% of Millennials cited the possibility of quick progression as their top priority when identifying prospective employers - compared to competitive wages (44%), for example - the work of a good manager will be to retain their ambitious young employees. This is not to suggest that Millennials should be accelerated through a company without merit, rather reinforcement of this ambition should be a priority.
Training and development programmes are cited by 35% of Millennials as an integral factor in making an attractive employer. Motivation is increasingly being derived from personal development as well as traditional financial incentives, and open dialogue between all staff will cultivate a collaborate environment beneficial for all. Carlson COO David Berg took this concept one step further, setting up a reverse mentoring scheme so that he could understand future guests at his hotels. The employee/employer relationship does not need be skewed quite as greatly as this, but respect of the generation’s unique perspective and skills is a must.
Keeping Millennials around means greater stability for all. Allow innovation, embrace suggestions and create a work environment similar to that which Millennials themselves are forming in startups across the world to truly get the best out of the burgeoning majority.