Your next employee will be a millennial

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It happened last year – we finally overtook gen x to be the largest portion of the labor force. Now more than one third of workers in the US are 18 to 34. That number is expected to grow beyond 50% of workers in the next four years.

Whether you’re ready to admit it or not it’s very likely that people you hire in the future are going to be millennials.

A lot of things have been said about our generation, some good (we’re focused…), some bad (…we’re easily distracted), some true, some not (after all, many things being said are in opposition to each other.)  Regardless, it’s important to ensure you’re ready to work with the up and coming generation of employees.

PM Magazine has talked about the issue a few times in the last months (here and here.) The trades are booming and there aren’t enough people to fill the job demand.

Millenials are entering the job market at a rate far faster than any other group and they are enticed by the good potential earnings of plumbing & mechanical work.

The Good

FMI surveyed nearly 400 people in the construction industry; half were millennials. Some key findings in the report include:

  • 74% of survey respondents expect to remain more than five years with their company.
  • 96% of survey respondents are willing to work beyond what is required of them to help the business succeed.
  • 98% of survey respondents stated it was important for them to understand their career path and opportunities within their company

Despite a common statement of millennials being lazy and entitled, most are ready & willing to work.

They know technology – unlike previous generations they’ve never really known a world without a computer or the internet. Technology is second-nature, not learned.

Millennials on average are more optimistic than previous generations – this does also slide in to the bad below…

The Bad

One reported result of Millennial optimism is entering into adulthood with unrealistic expectations, which sometimes leads to disillusionment. Many early Millennials went through college only to find themselves employed in unrelated fields or underemployed and job-hopping more frequently than previous generations.

They’ve never lived a live without being blasted with advertisements, so we tend to be pretty skeptical of anything promotional–whether that is to buy a product or even employment opportunities.

Millennials in the workplace

The young generation can be your biggest advocate or your loudest detractor (social media only makes it easier.) On average, millenials are less driven by money and more by general work satisfaction. Find out what gets them interested and keeps them happy and you’re looking at a long-term productive employee & brand ambassador.

All of us are different. I’ve worked with folks young and old that fit all of these stereotypes and more that fit none of them. No matter who you hire it’s important to get to know them, find out what makes them happy, what motivates them and how best to interact & work with them to ensure they are being the best employee they can be for you. I’ve never met someone that didn’t want to be a good employee – just a lot of people that were in the wrong position.

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