How Millennials Will Shape The World For Us All

by Jobbatical December 12, 2014

Millennials (also known as Generation Y), are those of us born between 1980 and 1995.

We arrived too late to really embrace the Walkman, probably owned (or at least knew of) portable CD players, may have dabbled in mini-discs, before signing up for Spotify while it was still free, discovering Apple and thereafter buying pretty much everything they produced from the iPod onwards.

Describing a generation by the means by which we have accessed our music might seem flippant — but the sheer amount of change in technology illustrated goes someway to show the pace of change in the environment we have grown up in.

Comparing the world of our youth to that of today is like placing a Walkman and a Spotify subscription side by side and expecting the uninitiated to spot the similarities.

And that is why the millennials now coming into positions of influence in business throughout the globe will change expectations of the world of work for us all.

What Matters

The new generation of millennial leaders have grown up through times of political, environmental and economic turbulence, and this has influenced many profoundly.

Consultants PWC completed a survey of millennial employees, including over 40000 participants and came up with some broad brush stroke analysis of what matters to those who will be designing our working future.

Unlike the generation before, who would traditionally be believed to rank transactional needs — such as pay satisfaction — higher, millennials list social needs as more important, including team cohesion, supervisor support and appreciation, and flexibility. The millennial participants agreed that work-life balance was crucial, and were less concerned with promises of improved rewards such as pay and benefit increases at a later stage.

Possibly having seen the difficult time suffered by their parents generation during the recent global economic crises, millennials place greater importance on where and how they work, than on a possible future pay rise. Experience ‘in the moment’ is more attractive than deferred gratification.

Flexibility Foremost

One of the key recommendations from the report findings was that flexibility in working culture, which can be improved with the use of technology to allow more variances in working hours and location, can be leveraged to improve retention of millennial employees.

Interestingly, the results of the report showed that non-millennial employees would also value this change more highly than improvements in pay or benefits — suggesting that a change in expectations of those outside the millennial generation, is already underway. Global mobility programmes should be revisited and improved as millennials expressed a desire to travel to a greater extent than other employees questioned.

The millennial need for appreciation and social cohesion, meanwhile, will mean that successful businesses will be those who truly listen to the needs and feelings of their employees, maintaining an adult-adult relationship, and as much transparency as can be achieved to increase the feeling of inclusion.

As these millennial employees move to more senior positions within business, it is likely that the approaches used to retain and motivate them, will become mainstream benefits. This will cause an overall shift in expectations about working life bridging the generations — as millennials shape and improve the working world for us all.


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