If your company or organization wants to build a strong core of current and future leaders from among the ranks of Millennial (also known as “Generation Y”) talent, it’s critical to understand how this generation views and reacts to the potential rewards and challenges of leadership. Universum’s 2014 survey of Millennials in 43 nations, developed in conjunction with INSEAD and the Head Foundation, reveals that while most Millennials are intrigued by the prospect of leadership, their feelings about it differ widely from nation to nation, from gender to gender, and even between younger and older members of this generation.
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The global majority of Millennials covet leadership for the extra money, prestige, and power over others it represents. At the same time, however, only African and North American Millennials stood out for their strong desire to lead others. Millennials in most regions would also prefer specialized rather than general leadership, with the notable exception of Central and Eastern Europe.
Millennials’ views on assuming leadership also split along age-related and gender-related lines. As a rule, younger Millennials (those born between 1990 and 1996) are more attracted to the notion of leading, coaching, and mentoring their fellow workers than older Millennials. Women were more likely than men to view leadership as a strong career foundation, but they were also less likely to desire leadership positions for themselves or feel a strong need to show off their leadership skills.
As for Millennials’ thoughts on talent management, once again different parts of the world had different priorities. Millennials in North America, Western Europe, and Africa expected a feeling of empowerment from their ideal manager, while those in Central and Eastern Europe put a premium on fairness and expertise. In the Middle East and Latin America, Millennials prized advice and answer-dispensing role models and managers. Younger Millennials were more interested in their manager being a role model than their older counterparts, while women were more interested both in role models and fairness. One universal constant was the desire for feedback from managers and peers.
If you want your employer branding to draw potential leaders from among Generation Y, you will most likely need to adapt your recruiting statements according to the priorities expressed in whatever part of the globe you’re hiring from. Issues such as work-life balance may come into play, notably for women who may see leadership as a stepping stone instead of an end in itself. However you promote your management as a selling point, though, make sure you offer transparency and feedback as major enticements.