Should You Hire A Millennial?
Social media-obsessed, Me generation, apathetic – these are just some terms that have been used to describe millennials. Millennials are an interesting generation. Having been born between 1981 and 1996, this generation grew up in a technology age. In their teenage years, the first iPhone was launched. Since then, technology have evolved by leaps and bounds and millennials grew up being very comfortable with the latest gadgets, social media networks, shopping online and basically having technology integrated with all parts of their lives. This makes them highly adaptable, resourceful and attuned to the world around them.
Some millennials would also have experienced the great recession of 2009 and its after effects. This has caused them to be highly aware of the uncertainties present in our economies. Coupled with the ongoing conversations about skills becoming obsolete, robots replacing humans and disappearance of jobs or entire industry in the near future, millennials hold very different views about work, compared to their Boomer parents and Gen Xers who came just before them. No longer do they see a 9-to-5 job in a big firm as a ticket to a stable retirement. Because of how different millennials think, they have been labelled by older generations as narcissistic, self-entitled, and immature.
Are Millennials really that different?
Studies have shown that millennials do look for different things at work, compared to Baby boomers and Gen-Xers. More millennials are comfortable with what is termed “job-hopping”, loosely defined as changing 4 jobs in 10 years. While millennials may seem less loyal compared to previous generation, studies have found that 62% of them would prefer not to change jobs so frequently, if they have a job that challenges them, offers professional development and provides them with advanced skills.
Interestingly, a recent study by OCBC found that Singapore millennials couldn’t be more different from being self-entitled, narcissistic and immature. A majority of them are the exact opposites of those attributes. In the survey of 866 young adults aged 16 to 29, 73% were concerned about their parents’ finances for retirement and 77% believed that helping others was important. Financial success is still important to them and they want a job that would provide a regular income, but being able to give back to society is also important to them. Millennials are seeking to fulfil higher order needs, and not just chasing after material success. Millennials view experiences as important and this is one of the top things that they look for in life. Instead of material purchases (money spent having), they tend to look for experiential purchases (money spent doing).
To millennials, the top three qualities of an ideal job are: work-life balance, good working culture and passion for their work. And according to the Forbes HR council, millennials want these in the workplace:
- Flexible, creative work environment
- Ongoing collaborative training
- To be listened to
- Team environment
- Anonymous surveys to make changes
- Technology that inspire use
- Focus on quality of life
- To know how they’ll make a difference
Well-established headhunting firms in Singapore keep track of such trends and changes in the employment market and advice their clients accordingly so that they can leverage on these changes.
Should you hire millennials?
Millennials are a highly educated generation. Their thirst for knowledge and the attitude to never settle means they will actively seek out ways to improve their skills. They are also privileged to have the right opportunities to develop a good understanding of technology, and this means that they are comfortable with leveraging technologies to solve complex problems. Compared to older generations that may not be as welcoming to technological changes at the workplace, millennials might be more adaptable, flexible and experimental when it comes to trying new things or new ways of doing things.
In fact, in certain job functions, millennials may be able to provide fresh perspectives that may be overlooked by senior members in the team. This is especially true for job functions that have changed a lot in the last few years as a result of technological changes. Examples are information technology, marketing and human resources. A millennial may be more comfortable with social media marketing compared to a baby boomer who entered the workforce 30 years ago when social media was unheard of.
Since millennials are relatively new to the workforce, they have lesser career baggage. This equates to more flexibility and millennials are ready to come up with new ideas and perspectives. This is a huge plus for businesses with an innovative culture or are at a transformational phase.
With millennials making up 50% of the workforce by the year 2020, businesses don’t have a choice but to prepare the workplace for them. Millennials look for more than financial success, and are hungry for challenges and learning opportunities, and these are things you will have to consider in designing career paths for them at your workplace.
In summary, hiring millennials gives you access to the best talent today. Who could be a better candidate than an enthusiastic, motivated individual with a desire to learn? Headhunting firms in Singapore have long realised that generational differences shouldn’t matter and hiring millennials can actually give you the upper hand against your competitors.
What do you think of hiring millennials? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on our LinkedIn channel.
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