By Rasheen Carbin, CMO of nspHire, the Tinder for jobs.
There’s 80 million of them. They’re already the biggest and most diverse generation in American history. In time, they’ll be the best educated. They’re tech savvy and use social media a great deal. They get most of their news from TV and the internet. They highly value self-expression. They want jobs that benefit the world. By 2020, they’ll comprise 50% of the workforce; by 2025, that percentage will grow to 75%. All of these facts are widely accepted and probably true.
These are some typical responses you get from people about how millennials are changing the workplace:
Millennials need a lot of feedback and so managers will have to learn to communicate better and be more approachable and open to mentoring.
Millennials expect promotions sooner than previous generations. They are job hoppers. They never stay more than 2 years at a job. Employers need to be more flexible. The traditional 9-5 structure doesn’t work for them. Given millennials’ short stints at companies, corporations need to change their workforce environment and become more project focused since they have a different view on career advancement.
Millennials are connected, team-oriented, and enjoy collaboration with their peers. Companies need to adjust to this reality and create more opportunities for team success.
There are two factors that are never fully explored: the impact of the recession and their social connectivity. Regarding the recession, all you hear is that this will negatively affect their salary levels and lifetime earnings. With social connectivity, the conversation never moves beyond that they like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This is where the typical analysis ends.
Let’s take it a few steps further. Again, keep in mind that millennials entered the workforce during a time of economic upheaval. They are leaving school with an unprecedented level of student loans. They were forced to take internships because they couldn’t find a job. If they could find a job, it was at a reduced salary as there were so many people that could fill the position, many with far superior experience and skills. They saw their parents being downsized and struggling to keep their homes.
They’ve witnessed business scandal after business scandal dominate the news. Naturally, all of this instability has made them cynical about the traditional workplace. Millennials are the first generation that feels that their standard of living will be worse than their parents. So how have they dealt with this?
They’re becoming entrepreneurs at a greater rate than any other generation. In fact they’re 2 times as likely to start their own business. 27% of them are already self-employed. They’re fleeing traditional jobs because Corporate America largely has no use for them, except to underpay them. Companies are going to have to make amends for this and eventually will capitulate to millennial demands.
Let’s turn to the issue of social connectivity. Millennials don’t just like connecting with friends on Facebook and Twitter. They get a lot of their news from it. More importantly, they are highly influenced by peer opinion. Social media provides an easy way for them to share what they feel about products, companies, and important issues. The accepted wisdom is that online reputation management is something that should only worry candidates. That’s not true anymore. Employers need to be worried too . If you have a terrible culture, that will spread like wildfire. If you pay low salaries and have terrible benefits, candidates will know even before you interview them. If management is incompetent or holds abhorrent views on social issues, everyone will know. These things get discussed in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and sites like Glassdoor all the time. If your online reputation is poor, you will struggle to attract the best talent. You will not be able to compete in an increasingly competitive business landscape.
Millennials will change hiring and recruiting by punishing companies that don’t share their values. They’ve already showed a propensity to opt out of Corporate America. Their various communication platforms will make it easier to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Companies would do well to listen and adapt to this reality.