Millennials will represent the majority of the workforce within the next few years. Employers that grasp the importance of understanding millennials will be better positioned to adjust their employer branding strategies and employment offerings around the expectations of Millennials. These companies will gain a distinct competitive advantage in attracting, recruiting, and retaining the best and the brightest among them.
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One of the biggest challenges is that Millennials, also called Generation Y, form a vast and diverse population group around the world. Our study, in association with INSEAD and The Head Foundation, is the largest independent study of those born between 1984 and 1996. This survey was conducted over several months of summer 2014 and includes data from the Universum Student Survey.
Most Millennials around the world expressed that they would consider working longer hours to speed up their career progress. On average, men are more open to this strategy than women. The main exception is in Central and Eastern European countries, especially Russia. On the other hand, this is the same group that said they would not give up a well-paid job to gain better work-life balance. They can be very loyal employees if the business is sensitive to their work schedules.
One fact that many businesses may find surprising is that achieving wealth is at the bottom of most Millennials’ life goals. When asked to prioritize their lives, nearly all Millennials placed spending time with family in the top spot, followed by personal growth and learning. The only exception was in the Middle East, where growth and learning ranked higher than family time. In fact, Millennials in every region agreed that their families trump their careers to varying degrees. In Central Europe and Latin American, however, it was nearly an even split. Salaries are one area where significant differences appear between women and men, with men concentrating on compensation while women want more work-life balance and parental leave.
In many ways, the younger Millennials (born 1990-1996) share unique characteristics in opposition to the rest of their generation. For example, they place a much higher value on having enough leisure time. For them, work-life balance tops their place in the company, and they care more about working for the good of society.
There is much more to learn as you look deeply into regions and other sub-groups. Millennials are a very diverse group, but employer branding initiatives will certainly need to address work-life balance. A focus on the family is just as important as providing a clear career path for these workers. Employers need to communicate that they care about employees’ families and internal training. The result will be a more loyal workforce that isn’t as driven by rising salaries.