By Sam Pierce
The past few decades have been a whirlwind of new technological advances, from computers to cell phones to the internet. In a relatively short period of time the world went through a drastic amount of change. For the first time in human existence there is a whole generation of people who grew up in a society completely immersed in digital technology. This generation has been coined as the “Millennials”, “Generation Y”, “Gen Next” and the list goes on. The time period that Millennials fall into is varied but I like to consider it to include anyone who was born from 1980 to 2000. This generation is joining the workforce and all the older generations are scrambling to figure out how to deal with them. So what do Millennials look for in employers?
Millennials are a generation with very high expectations for their employment. They are more likely to move from job to job seeking a better opportunity than the generations that preceded them. They put more of an emphasis on learning and growing than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers did in the past. Millennials are more likely to use an employment opportunity as a stepping stone to greater things like a higher position at a company or a higher paying job.
This generation is different from those in the past when it comes to the balance between work and fun. As Millennials like to say, “Work hard, then play hard.” They are much less likely to sacrifice their personal life for a job than previous generations. They think a flexible work environment is very important when looking for a job. Contrary to what one might think, Millennials don’t put much importance on whether or not a job opportunity is a fun and informal place to work.
Millennials function differently in the workplace than a lot of the past generations. They respond positively to recognition for their work. Millennials work best when they know that they are doing a good job. They like to hear feedback about their work more often than an annual performance review. Public recognition is key, publicly recognizing a millennial employee will let them know that their work is appreciated and will motivate them to work hard. Millennials are more likely to want an opportunity for advancement at a current company than generations past.
Millennials are a new kind of generation and because of that they are the topic of many new behavioral studies but they might not be as different from everyone else as one might think. When it comes to searching for employment, they look for things that are essentially the same things everyone else looks for. They value pay and other financial benefits above all else. Like the baby boomers, it is important to them to have an interest in the type of work they are doing. Many of the so-called differences between Millennials and the rest of the workforce can be explained by the difference between older and younger people. Millennials have been labeled as easily distracted, impatient, and narcissistic but that’s just how younger people are, and they outgrow it with age.
The Millennials have been a generation that doesn’t stand for things they see as not right. They voiced their opinion about who should (or more accurately, who should not) be the president of the United States. They act the same way when they enter the workplace. Millennials do not just stand by and let things happen, they fight to change the things in their workplace they don’t agree with. Even though the focus on Millennials seems to only be “what’s different about them” they essentially want the same changes as everybody else. They want a job that they feel aligns with their set of skills and beliefs. They aren’t afraid to change jobs to find the best fit. If they do change jobs, they want a new job that pays better than the last one.
Yes, Millennials have some characteristics that are different than older generations, but the differences are not as major as some believe. They are more likely to change jobs until they find one that they believe suits them the best, they like more of a balance between work and fun, and they fight for what they believe in. Millennials may seem so new and different but ultimately they are more similar from generations that preceded them than they are different.