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Millennials in the Workforce

Millennials_at_work-350.jpgDemographics in the workplace are changing.  The baby boomers are in the next ‘work stage’ of their lives. “The demographic transition of the workplace to an older, female, caregiving, and multi-act career work life is shaping the future role of employers and the recruitment and retention strategies they implement”, says bigthink.com.

As the boomers age, what was once considered the private life of an employee, is now important to the productivity and HR of many businesses. For employers to be competitive, knowledgeable and recruiting the right talent, they must invest more in standing policies and programs while also exploring new approaches to manage an older workplace. “The oldest of the baby boomers are now turning 64 – one every seven seconds – as the cohort’s youngest members enter mid-career at 46 years of age. While their generation ‘X’, ‘Y’ or ‘millennial’ children are entering the labor force, the baby boomers will continue to shape the workplace and the roles of employers for the next two decades.”(source) The older generations of Baby Boomers are retiring.  “Generation X is moving out of middle management to upper level positions, leaving Millennials to fill their shoes.” says eVeritas.  The youngest members of the workplace have a very different approach to work than any other generation before them.

Millennials are the largest generation in the United States with an estimated population over 75 million which, in number, exceeds Baby Boomers. Their first members were born in 1980 and the youngest being born as recently as the year 2000. They have often been called a generation of entitlementWhile this may be true, it is easy to understand how they gained this stereotype.  Children born between the early 1980's and early 2000's have grown up with technology, full schedules of extracurricular activities and helicopter parents that provided all their needs and wants.  They have also witnessed violence in schools, violence in workplaces and parents being laid-off after many years of loyal service to an employer.  As a result, they may be extremely self-centered.  Because of all of these experiences, they have a basic belief that there has to be more to life than work. They see that work is inevitable, but that it can be performed anytime, anywhere.

This generation wants to make a difference and professes to not be afraid to work hard to achieve their goals.  They yearn to work for a company that they believe inA lot of millennials say they will choose their employer based on its ability to innovate. Millennials have to realize that innovation in the workplace is really not innovation at all – rather innovation is simply one of the mainstays of the working environment and an integral part of teamwork that is to be expected in a place worth working. The current corporate structure in many companies may not seem innovative. The attitude that a work day is eight to nine hours, performed in a cubicle until you work your way up the ladder by putting in unpaid overtime is perceived by Millennials to not be innovative. “Patience and paying your dues” are thought processes that are the exact opposite of what the newest members of the workforce are thinking.

What do Millennials want from their employer?

  • A position that allows for advancement
  • Flexibility
  • Security and safety in their career - even more so than preceding generations
  • A job that supports their core values
  • A place to gain new experience

While this may seem like a tall order, if a company can help cultivate this generation into leaders through mentoring, professional development, and recruitment, they will be rewarded with a loyal team member.  They key will be finding these individuals that do not have skewed core values along with the entitlement attitude and are eager to learn, work hard and take a sense of ownership. 

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