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What Do Millennials Look for in a Job

The workplace has undergone many changes and transitions over the years, and while many employers refuse to change their company’s ways — others are embracing the change. 

Millennials are a misunderstood generation. Their reputation balances in a purgatory between lazy and a clear drive for growth. But, before we dive into the specifics regarding what this generation seeks in their employment opportunity, it’s important to get a firm grasp on who Millennials are. 

A Quick Look at Millennials

Millennials are typically defined as those born between 1980-1994. This generation has had the unique opportunity to experience their lives in the pre-digital and modern digital age we know today. 

Millennials knew about being home before the street lights went out or getting off the computer when their parents were expecting a phone call. However, they also grew up with cell phones, smartphones, e-commerce stores, and other nuances that we’ve come to appreciate and even expect in our everyday lives. 

This leaves a generation stranded in a sense, caught between understanding hard work and taking advantage of the tools at their disposal to make their lives easier. It’s for this reason that they were unfairly and unfortunately labeled as self-centered, lazy, and unhappy with work. 

However, we would also be remiss if we didn’t focus on the positives that shaped Millennials. 

Key Millennial Traits

  • Millennials have a lot of debt. While they may not be lugging around nearly as much debt as Generation X, their $27.9K average has created a generation of budgeters. Millennials crave financial security and take employment opportunities that reflect those values. 
  • Millennials are researchers. They are the generation that grew up before and after Google hit the scene. As such, they are apt reviewers, browsers of forum pages, and care a whole lot about what their friends and peers may say about a particular job. 
  • Millennials witnessed the burden of unhappy careers on their parents. While a good portion of Millennials need the money, they aren’t willing to join a workplace culture that drains their emotional health like generations before.

While Millennials encompass far more than these three examples, it does lay a bedrock where we can begin to understand how this generation seeks employment. Millennials aren’t complicit in just being a cog in the machine, nor are they apt to choosing an employer without any room for growth or upward mobility in the company. 

6 Things Millennials Seek in a Job

So, what are Millennials looking for when they take on an employment role? Well, there are a few popular motivators that come to mind when we think about how this generation’s views on career choices. 

Purposeful Positioning

While it’s rare for a new hire to drastically change a company or pivot a brand’s focal point — Millennials aren’t a generation that wants to sit in the background. They are especially interested in being involved with a company’s progress and making a real impact on the development of a brand or business, both on the client-end and in the workplace. 

However, more importantly, they aren’t a generation that wants to work for less. 

According to a Gallup poll, roughly half of Millennials would jump ship and take a job with another company for a raise of 20% or less. Competitive pay or the ability for upward movement in a company can certainly combat these metrics, as they leave doors open for pay boosts and growth within a company. This leads us to our next point. 

The Reward for Their Hard Work

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Millennial generation is the reward factor. Contrary to common belief, we aren’t speaking about the participation trophy effect but rather, actual concrete proof of their hard work or success within a company. 

These rewards can come in many forms:

  • Pay increases 
  • Bonus
  • Promotions 

While these rewards are typical for most organizations, they are essential for Millennials to feel not only appreciated but motivated to continue working hard. 

Workplace Culture

While many companies out there have stocked their offices with ping pong tables, beer, and bean-bag chairs — that’s not enough to get Millennials in the door. We’re not sure if it was a television show or images of Google campuses that sparked this trope, but Millennials are far more concerned with the culture of the company than the amenities that could be masking deeper issues. 

Instead, this generation is interested in being a part of the growth or overall progress of a company. They want to be involved in changes, whether they are office decorations or team outings — they want to be heard. 

Positive Workplace Relationships

While not every Millennial wants to be best friends with everyone at work, they crave positive workplace relationships with their superiors. These relationships are often lumped into the “culture” conversation, but it’s more about having a boss that they feel comfortable and understood by. 

A managerial staff that invests time and interest in the growth of their employees is a major bonus and a surefire way to get Millennials in the door. 

Accepting Failure

Millennials love to innovate and test out new ways of doing their job. Because they are so invested in becoming a part of the company and playing an integral role in the growth and development of a business, they need room to experiment and possibly fail along the way. 

We’re not talking about the traditional sense of failure, where an employee doesn’t know how to do their job properly. It’s more about testing ideas and pivoting from the traditional for the possibility of newfound success. 

Commitment to Values

Many Millennials have some pretty heartfelt values and opinions, and these cemented stances are qualities they find attractive in their potential employer. Now, these can be entire company values like an emphasis on sustainability or simply recycling in the office — whatever it is, it’s essential to remain authentic and consistent with the values you’d like to see in your employees too. 

Company volunteer initiatives are another way companies can illustrate their commitment to certain values. Volunteering not only shows a mission to help the world but also brings the team together for a bonding experience outside the workplace. 

Your Millennial Workforce

There you have it, some insights into how you can attract Millennial employees to your company. We’ve worked with countless companies, business owners, and entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding of generational differences that make up target audiences. 

We’ve pioneered global studies on the newest generations and have spent years delving into the contrasts that make each generation unique. So, read up on what we’ve said about what Millennials want in their employers and decide if you’re willing to make the right pivots or changes to get them into the door. 

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