Millennials in the Workplace

According to a study from Deloitte University Press, by 2025 the Millennials/Generation Y will comprise 75% of the global workforce. Born between 1976 and 2001, this generation has a perhaps unfair reputation for laziness and entitlement — and the labor market is soon going to have to absorb them in droves.

Despite their renown as multitasking video gamers, millennials can be an industrious crowd, who have different employment priorities from their (generally-speaking) baby boomers managers.

Generally speaking, millennials have different workplace priorities -- and ones that sometimes clash with their management's view of "a good day's work."

Millennials’ preferences sometimes clash with their management’s view of “a good day’s work.”

So, what exactly are Millennials looking for in their jobs?

Of course, not all Millennials share the same set of preferences, but here are a few principal values that many seek in their employment.

1. Collaboration. Millennials do well with project-based work in teams and open communication channels. They value both offering and hearing opinions before making decisions.

2. An emphasis on “company culture.” In this Sentinel article, Nikki Sutton, owner of Level Interior Architecture, said: “’Millennials didn’t grow up studying in libraries. They studied in coffee shops and more social environments, so that is reflected in what they expect when they go to work every day.’”

3. Idealism. According to this Forbes article, 64% of millennials want to make the world “a better place.” Millennials aren’t looking to be faceless worker-bees, but valued participants who can enact change in their work and their world.

4. FlexibilityMillennials aren’t looking for just a life-work balance, but rather life-work integration. The preponderance of technology and mobile computing makes accessing work materials easy (and sometimes a compulsive habit) when millennials are out of the office.

5. Entrepreneurship. Millennials recognize the value of the start-up company. With social media and instant communication, they can solve problems efficiently at companies that value speedy information exchange; according to this New York Times article, top millennial talent often goes to innovative start-ups. To compensate, Goldman Sachs cut down the number of hours new recruits work with the hopes of attracting young people to investment banking.

Here’s a snapshot comparison of the 21st century work-ethic vs the “traditional” workforce (for source study, click here):

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 12.41.39 PM

And for an interesting Huffington Post blog entry written by a millennial who says perseverance is this generation’s greatest necessity, click here.

In your opinion…If you’re a Millennial, what’s most important to you in a job? If you’re not, how do you interact with Gen Y in the workplace? 

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