The corporate world has never been this focused and invested in understanding a particular section of the workforce like it is with millennials. Everybody is pitching in to understand this rather obscure, misunderstood (or maybe misrepresented?) section of the workforce – those born between 1980 and 1996. It is the sheer numbers that have taken the industry by surprise, as millennials are set to become a majority section of the workforce in the coming future, and that makes it imperative to understand them better – so that they can be recruited, retained and utilised better.
A simple search of the word will throw back an endless list of articles, studies, reports, surveys, and scholarly papers, a major chunk of which will exclusively or certainly focus on understanding them a little better. We present three such studies that made news recently, which give us an insight on how millennials are thinking:
Millennials Pick: Best Countries Overall
5,800 millennials from all over the world chose Canada as the world’s top country in a survey. The top list was as follows: Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, United States. However, if one looks at responses from all age-groups, the list changed to Germany, Canada, United Kingdom and Sweden.
The rankings were based on a survey, which took into account the respondents' perceptions of 65 different aspects of life in each country that include everything from economics to culture. Interestingly, although Canada managed to achieve the top spot, it was second in millennials’ choice of which country they’d like to live in. In this list, Australia was first, followed by Canada, Italy, New Zealand, and Sweden. The USA was ranked eighth in this list.
In the matters of starting a career, China bagged the top spot, followed by Germany, and USA, respectively. Japan and South Korea also made it to the Top 10. A lot of economic and financial promise was projected on developing economies, with Thailand, India, Brazil, Japan and Singapore marking the top 5 countries with most economic potential by and for young adults. Surprisingly, USA was ranked 24th on this list. Lastly, Brazil was ranked as the best country for dating, followed by Italy and Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
The Study helps one understand the outlook of millennials towards different countries, in different aspects, and proves to be an interesting and insightful reading.
How Millennials want to work and live
Although this 150-pages Gallup Report needs to purchased to be investigated thoroughly, an abridged version is accessible on sign-up. The report verifies the ‘job-hopper’ tag of millennials and says that 21% of the millennial workers had left their job in the last year to pursue something else, and this number happens to be thrice of that of non-millennials. Furthermore, 60% of millennials reported that they are open to different job opportunities, the highest amongst all generations. The authors of the research wrote an article in Harvard Business Review, explaining that they did not have data on what millennials did after they left their job, but continuing their education seems like a possible option. They also revealed that 47% of actively disengaged Millennials strongly agree that they will switch jobs if the job market improves in the next 12 months, compared with 17% of engaged Millennials, proving the conventional wisdom that engagement is a key factor in retaining millennials.
Furthermore, the study also sought to understand the importance of particular attributes when applying to a new job. The opportunities to learn and grow, and the quality of their manager were frontrunners in all the generations. Additionally, the authors write, “Contrary to popular perception, Millennials place little importance on a company encouraging creativity or being a fun, informal place to work. In fact, Baby Boomers are slightly more likely than Millennials and Gen Xers to say that creativity and fun are “extremely important” to them when applying for a job. But Millennials do need to be convinced why and how an organization will help them learn, grow, and develop, and further their careers.” The study also talks about the importance of income as a deciding factor in taking and switching jobs for millennials. Although this is a US-based study, it does serve as a doorway in understanding how one can attract and retain millennials better.
Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On
This Time Article opens with a rather bold statement, “By 2017, millennials will have more buying power than any other generation. But so far, they're not spending like their parents did.” It then goes onto discuss a few things that millennials in the USA today aren’t willing to spend their money on. Terming them ‘frugal’ more than once, the list includes PayTV, Investments, Cars, Homes, Weddings, Children, Health Insurance etc. as the goods and services that millennials in the US refrain from making expenditure on. The list provides reasons and explanations, sometimes rather simplistic. Sample this, “It’s not that millennials don’t want to own homes—nine in ten young people do—it’s that they can’t afford them.... Now that unemployment is decreasing, working millennials are still renting before they buy.” Interestingly, the last point of the list reads, “Anything you tell them to buy”. It explains, “Sixty-six percent of boomers said the recommendations of friends and family members influences their purchasing decisions more than a stranger’s online review. Most millennials, on the other hand, don’t want their parent’s or peer’s help. Fifty-one percent of young adults say they prefer product reviews from people they don’t know.”
Thus, millennials clearly have the spotlight on them, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Several studies and researches will be undertaken to make an attempt to understand this generation better in the coming years, and these actions does fit in with the larger human psychology. This generation hasn’t been ‘figured out’ yet, and that brings with it the risk of instability, something that the corporates cannot allow. Hence, a lot of time, energy and resources will be spent in understanding this ‘unknown’ aspect about the motivation, drive, passion and working of millennials, but in the opinion of this author, a millennial himself, these attempts will never fully define what a millennial stands for. Why, one may ask? Simply because this generation hasn’t figured itself out, and to allow someone else – an external to do it, will be rather counter-productive.