Recruiting the Millennial Generation
Finding – and employing – talent is getting harder and harder. I suspect there are two things at play here: On the one hand, talent pools are shrinking and on the other, the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 2000) present new challenges in attracting and retaining talent.
First, millennials are far more numerous than any generation since the soon-to-retire Baby Boomer generation. By many estimates, millennials are already 25% of the workforce in the US (probably much larger in the digital and technology sectors) and account for over half the population in growing markets like India. It is estimated that millennials will form 50% of the global workforce in less than 20 years.
And they are different. This generation has different values and ultimately looks at their career choices through a much different lens than previous generations. Their career aspirations, attitudes about work, and knowledge and use of new technologies will define the culture of the contemporary workplace.
To Millennials, Money isn’t everything.
In short, the millennial generation places more value on benefits, purpose and support than earlier generations. In short, money isn’t everything.
Millennials are attracted to employers who can offer more than just good pay. That’s not to say that competitive compensation isn’t important to attracting new talent. It most certainly is, but it’s not enough. The opportunity for progression ranks high: ambition and optimism.
As a recruiter, when I approach millennials their conversation rarely starts with compensation.
Instead, I hear things like:
“I want to feel valued.”
“I want to work on something that matters. “
“I want to have an impact.”
“I want to be given the opportunity to stretch myself.”
“I want to feel good about the company’s purpose and mission.”
Balance is important.
Even though a career is defining for millennials, they value work-life balance. They want a rewarding career, but they also want a life.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a generation that experiences first-hand the toll of Boomer parents consumed by careers. They are not eager to repeat this pattern.
Millennials are looking for an employer that values balance.
A sense of purpose.
A 2010 Pew Research Center study found that 57 percent of millennials had volunteered in the previous year. That’s more than any other generation. Ever.
More than ever, I hear from candidates that their career “is important because I want to feel like I’m contributing to something and doing something that is worthwhile.”
In short, millennials believe social consciousness shouldn’t be separate from the workplace, but be a part of it.
How does this impact recruiting today?
First, the numbers are clear: we’re in a candidate driven marketplace where candidates today have choices. But perhaps the biggest challenge in recruitment today, is understanding how to align recruitment efforts to meet the values and needs of this generation.
Here are some tips on how to align the conversation:
- Be transparent and take the time to explain what you are offering a potential employee. (This includes taking the time to explain what you expect in return.)
- Test your rhetoric. Millennials are keenly aware of a gap between perception and reality, when it comes to issues of diversity and work/life balance. Companies need to take the time to understand the reality the employees experience on these issues.
- Think beyond base salary and be creative about reward strategies. Flexibility in allowing an employee to shape or customize a benefits package that meet’s their particular needs can go a long way in creating good will.
Above all, recruiting today is about a conversation and recognizing (and ultimately reacting to) the generational shifts in values.