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What Millennials want

Rhian Morgan

What do Millennials want from today's workplace? Rhian Morgan examines what to expect from the new generation of workers

By around 2020, it is thought Millennials (born between 1980 and the mid-90s) will make up the bulk of the working population. So how can you, as a business, meet the demands and challenges of this demographic? Hilton Freund, from money people Wizzcash, offered some advice from their latest research project on the subject. While I also looked on a global scale by examining various surveys and stats to see what Millennials want - and how you can give it to them.

Millennials expect more

Millennials have itchy feet. Do you have what it takes to scratch the itch and make them stay? A 2016 Deloitte study shows 44% of Millennials would like to leave their current employer in the next two years. Why? Well, they're likely to say something like their skills aren't being developed and they are being overlooked for senior positions.

Millennials are concerned they're not being developed properly - they want to be primed for leadership positions and, if they feel neglected, they will have one eye on the exit.

A global survey by Universum, INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, and the Head Foundation found that, on average, 40% of Millennials have ambitions to become leaders, with 65% wanting to be specialists. Most cited high future earnings as their motivation.

And globally, their biggest fear is being stuck in a dead-end job, with no opportunities, and subsequently being held back from reaching their career goals.

However, one study in the US found that maybe they're not so keen to work for this success, with 40% of those aged in their 20s admitting they will try to get by doing as little work as possible. This blase attitude is maybe down to the fact that those surveyed believed their jobs to be transitional. And more than half agreed with the statement that, if employers do not pay well, then they do not deserve hard work.

Work-from-home days

Research by Intelligence Group shows 74% of Millennials want flexible work schedules and the option to create their own workspaces. That could mean the option to work from home, split shifts or flexi-time.

The topic of work-life balance is a big issue these days, and workers across the spectrum would surely grab at a flexible work schedule, if offered, added Hilton.

However, as well as citing family time as a reason for wanting flexibility, worldwide, Millennials said they wanted leisure time to pursue a private life (57%). In fact, nearly half of respondents to the global survey said they would give up a well-paid, prestigious job to gain more me-time. They also list being in a worthwhile job as an important factor.

Traditional communication methods

It is thought Millennials are the most tech-savvy of all. However, Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths, a study by IBM, found Millennials don't want to do everything virtually.

It is often older generations who have more experience with work-based technology and programs. For instance, a recent survey showed that even postgrads are unfamiliar with Microsoft Outlook and Excel.

Instead, Millennials strengths focus on video conferences and online forums rather than any specific IT knowledge. And a US study found that more than half expect the freedom to be able to go on Facebook, Tweet or text friends during the course of the working day. And, in the future, it looks like offices will be focused around social media and emerging technologies rather than traditional programs.

Millennials want secure employment.

On average, 52% of those surveyed globally wanted a steady job and income, which is unsurprising but perhaps rather optimistic, when we look at the new way we do business, with crowd-working, where people are paid hourly for their skills; zero-hour contracts, and also the rise of internships all contributing to the lowering of wages and the instability of the market, where there are few jobs for life.

What Millennials want in you

Globally, this generation cite different requirements in what they want from their manager. In the United States, Western Europe and Africa, for example, Millennials wanted managers who will empower them. Yet only 12% of Eastern Europeans desired that quality in a leader, preferring technical expertise.

And more than half expect feedback from their manager.

Millennials are optimists rather than realists

This generation seem more confident about their prospects than Generation Xers, and this is reflected globally. For instance, financially they believe they will be better off than their parents, even if studies do not bear this out.

However, despite all the stats and surveys, maybe its best to have no preconceptions and stereotypes. As Hilton says: There's often an assumption that Millennials are somehow different from other generations. Treat your Millennials as people and you will probably get along just fine.

For more on the survey, visit


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