Should I stay or should I go? What Millennials want

Employers must find new ways to entice and engage Millennials, who are keen to expand their skill sets and areas of expertise

Employers must find new ways to entice and engage Millennials, according to recent research, which found that this generation – more so than any before them – is keen to expand their skill sets and areas of expertise, and align these with future business needs to fulfill their aspirations.

“Millennials want progression, but that doesn’t have to mean promotion,” said Richard Fischer, managing director of ManpowerGroup Australia and New Zealand, which conducted the research.

“Employers will gain most value from Millennials when they participate in and play a role in influencing their careers, like facilitating on-the-job learning and helping people move around the organisation to gain experience more easily.”

The research found that Millennials in Australia are set to run “career ultramarathons”, will take lengthy career breaks along the way and place high importance on career development opportunities.

Some two thirds of Australian Millennials expect to work past age 65, 36 per cent expect to work beyond 70 years old and 11 per cent until they die.

They are also working longer hours, with 14 per cent working more than 50 hours per week and 16 per cent working two or more paid jobs.

In place of a traditional ‘retirement,’ 88 per cent foresee taking career breaks longer than four weeks throughout their career with almost two thirds (62 per cent) using the break for relaxation, travel or vacation.

On the other hand, few women and men said they would take time off to support a partner in their job, reinforcing the trend towards dual-income households.

“Millennials want progression, but that doesn’t have to mean promotion”

The research report, Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision, which took in more than 19,000 Millennials across 25 countries, also found that opportunity is highly important to Australian Millennials, with three quarters saying that learning new skills is a top factor when considering a new job and 60 per cent indicating they’d prefer to stay with their employer for more than three years so long as they were provided with new opportunities.

Millennials are strong believers in the need for ‘ongoing learning,’ proven by their large investment in tertiary education and many having witnessed parents or older generations having gone through organisational restructures.

As such, 69 per cent are willing to spend their own resources to further training, 78 percent state ongoing skills development is critical to their future career and 17 per cent intend taking an extended career break for study purposes.

Longer career trajectories are also inspiring different work models that disrupt traditional ways of working.

While almost three-quarters of working Millennials are in full-time jobs today, over half say they’re open to new ways of working in the future – freelance, gig work or portfolio careers with multiple jobs, and thirty-four percent globally are considering self-employment.

“Traditional leadership hierarchies are being challenged by the future generation of leaders”

Other recent research conducted by Deloitte found that almost half of Australia’s Millennials expect to leave their organisation in the next two years, citing a perceived lack of leadership skills development and feelings of being overlooked, compounded by larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility and a conflict of values.

“Traditional leadership hierarchies are being challenged by the future generation of leaders who have expectations and demands around the way they work that just don’t align with current structures,” said David Brown, Deloitte Human Capital lead.

“They want to see a new model of management.”

Deloitte’s recent Millennial Survey 2016: Winning over the next generation of leaders report found that changing expectations around ways of working also impacts culture.

This is especially significant when these changes are being driven by Millennials, who will make up around 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025.

While they continue to express a positive view of business’ role in society and have softened their negative perceptions of business’ motivation and ethics compared to prior surveys, Millennials still want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers, and society), products, and purpose – and less on profits, according to the research, which took in nearly 7,700 Millennials from 29 countries (including 300 from Australia).

“They want to see a new model of management”

It also found that Millennials seek employers with similar values; seven in 10 believe their personal values are shared by the organisations for which they work, and Deloitte said this is the potential “silver lining” for organisations aiming to retain these young professionals.

However, much skepticism on the part of Millenials remains, driven by the majority held belief that businesses have no ambition beyond profit.

Almost nine in ten (87 per cent) believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.”

Millennials judge the performance of a business on what it does and how it treats people.

For example, among those saying business “means more than a healthy balance sheet,” more than six in ten would reference the quality of its products and services (63 per cent) or levels of employee satisfaction (62 per cent).

A majority (55 per cent) focus on customer loyalty/satisfaction. Innovation and efficiency also rank highly.

Customer care and high-quality, reliable products also ranked relatively high in importance, while attention to the environment and social responsibility were also mentioned by a significant number of Millennials.

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