Millennials, Gen-Y – whatever you want to call them – may view career and coin a little bit differently than other generations. The business world had better pay attention because these globally-minded youths will comprise about 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
Last year professional services company Towers Watson released its global workforce study and found that retaining employees has a whole lot more to do with providing them a satisfying experience, inspiring culture and good quality relationships than it does rewards-based motivation.
With that in mind, it’s not unusual that tech-savvy Gen-Y workers take a different approach to managing and using the money they make. Instead of making dollars multiply or hoarding for old age, they use it to exercise more control over their professional lives.
They also have some wonky spending habits. “They’ll buy cheap beer but drink expensive wine,” says pollster John Zogby, author of First Globals Understanding, Managing, & Unleashing the Potential of Our Millennial Generation
Twentysomethings are Twentysomethings in every generation, says Zogby, referring to those born between 1979 and 1994, but
But what are they looking to get while on the hunt for a career and a paycheck? “85% want work that makes a difference and is enriching to themselves but also enriching to the world,” said Zogby. “And 71% want to work for a company or entity that encourages some form of global or community social responsibility. Each of those numbers is dramatically higher than the other age cohorts.”
In general, salary is paramount when trying to retain unhappy workers but manager relationships and career advancement opportunities are close behind, says Vlad Gyster, co-founder of human resources platform H. Engage and former consultant with Towers Watson. “I that it aligns with a lot of what we’re hearing aboutmoney not being necessarily the primary motivating factor, especially for the Gen-Ys of the world and more so kind of a mission and career advancement type of opportunities being something that’s really driving people.”
So how to make sense of an American Psychological Association study in 2009 that there was a “63% increase in the number of young people who rated money as “extremely important” (16% of Boomers compared to 26% of Millennials)”? The same study found that Gen-Y measured lower on the civic engagement scale than did Gen-X (lower than Boomers too). Are Millennials as entitled and self-obsessed as the media make them out to be?
Leonard J. Glick, professor of management and organizational development at Northeastern University, is not convinced there’s a huge difference between the latest generations to hit the workforce and those that are now easing into retirement. That’s not to say that employers and the business world don’t have to change their game a tad for Gen-Y.
“I think a lot of things that companies are saying about how to treat millennials – which is to give them more autonomy and to challenge them and treat them well – are true but I think that was always true,” he said. “Maybe what’s different today is that companies can’t get away as quickly with mistreating employees.”
Changing attitudes of fairness in the workplace, open knowledge about what certain positions should pay, access to knowledge about how companies treat their people and greater understanding of what recourse slighted employees have all contributed to the younger generation becoming a more empoweredworkforce, he added.