We discussed here in few occasions the changes that Generation Y, also called Millennials, getting to age brings to our environment and societies at large.
Today, we are looking at a different aspect:
With an increasing number of Millennials working, they are transforming the workplace.
The 9 to 5 job may soon be a relic of the past, if Millennials have their way - and they usually eventually do.
A slow climb in a company was once the accepted career path.
However, today the experiences of men and women starting their careers are closer to juggling multiple positions than steady growth.
In Western countries, freelancing and self-employment – once an occurrence rare enough to be noted - are on the rise.
According to a 2016 study from the freelancer Web site, the number of freelance job offers increased by a whopping 36.3% last year compared to the same period in 2015.
Meanwhile, 60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years.
With, according to a Millennial Branding recent research, 87% of companies reporting a cost of between US$15,000 and US$25,000 to replace each lost Millennial employee, industries need to start paying attention to structural changes.
Reports and studies seem to indicate three roots to Millennials’ discontent and the resulting dramatic change in the way companies should be run:
The drives for flexibility, purposeful labor and economic security.
According to the Millennial Branding report, 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay.
Dori Albert, crowdscourcing practice manager at Lionbridge Technologies, stated that Millennials helped create a “new nature of work,” with increasing reliance on the gig economy and freelancing.
Lionbridge began as a translation focused site, but has expanded to provide crowdsourced employees to a wide range of industries including companies such as Microsoft or Expedia.
Lionbridge's 100,000 crowdworkers are united by their drive for flexible labor.
This includes stay-at-home mothers, retirees and Millennials, who make up to 53% of crowd-workers.
“A generational change is occurring,” said Albert, who believes crowdsourcing to be key for Millennials seeking employment on their own terms.
The second feature Millennials are seeking is working with a greater purpose.
Millennials have been pegged as a generation committed to change.
As mentioned in a previous article published by imagine4tomorrow.com, a Net Impact study explains that 72% of students, as opposed to 53% of workers, consider having “a job where I can make an impact” to be very important or essential to their happiness.
Social entrepreneurship has exploded in the last fifteen years, going from an undefined phrase to a program offered at more than 30 business schools, as per the Harvard Business Review.
Outside of making meaningful change to their community, Millennials are seeking meaningful connections at work – 71% want their coworkers to be their “second family,” noted a Business Insider 2013 report.
The search for these qualities results, according to Millennial Branding’s founder Dan Schawbel, to the Millennial employees' rapid turn over.
The same survey states that 60% of Millennials leave their company in less than three years, unless they believe the firm demonstrates a “good cultural fit.”
While the term is nebulous, Millennials increasingly require some aspect of personal fulfillment from their jobs, and are willing to walk out if they do not find it.
The final piece of the puzzle is economic concerns.
Much of the discussion of Millennials has downplayed the economic necessity of career decisions, a reductive position that few are able to afford.
Dori Alberts reported that most Lionbridge crowd workers were employed with the company as a second job.
Websites that allow for flexible labor are in high demand, as Forbes reported.
Millennials don't just value flexible labor - they need it to make ends meet.
In most countries, Millennials entered the job market in the wake of the recession. Unemployment rates for 20-to 24-year old currently hover around 13%.
Millennials are therefore conditioned to expect economic disruption, and are very much risk-aware.
Outside of economic caution, rates of alcohol use, drug use and sexual activity have declined, says the New York Times Magazine.
Thus, job turn over and exploration of more flexible labor sources reveal Millennials' fear of putting all their (career) eggs in one basket.
The question then becomes:
How can employers shift to better fit these core needs of Millennials?
As mentioned earlier, the quick turn over of Millennial workers is costing employers a real fortune.
Perhaps employers need to embrace the changing workplace, with increased freelancing, crowdsourcing and flexible hours.
In this manner, companies can create a workplace where taking on different roles and jobs fulfill different aspects of Millennial’s career requirements.
This generations' priorities are not radically different than those of earlier generations - they are just attempting to meet their needs in different ways.
Is your company Millennials-compatible?