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Millennials – recruiting Gen Y for your business

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Millennials – they’ve got a pretty bad rap. But undeservedly so. It’s true that their values and expectations are rather different to those of previous generations. But the fact that you’ll need to adapt accordingly is no bad thing. Baby Boomers are now approaching retirement, and Gen X is ageing. The fact is that Millennials, or Gen Y, are the section of society to target if you want to secure the best talent, and they’re widely regarded to be a generation smarter than any before them. Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996. They already make up the largest proportion of the workforce, and are set to make up a staggering 50% of it by 2020.

So how do you attract Millennials to your business, and get the very best of out of them? Here we give you the run down on some of the most impactful things you can do.  

Ensure your company provides real purpose

Millennials crave meaning in their work. Striving for financial gain isn’t their paramount concern. There needs be a higher purpose to work towards. This is often implemented by way of a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, and may involve partnering with charitable organisations, or working towards the good of society or the environment. Close to 90% of Millennials asked, believe that businesses should be measured by more than simply their financial success

The ethos of a company really does matter to Millennials too. 75% would take a pay cut in order to work for a responsible company.  It’s certainly no longer simply about the paycheck. 

Value your employees

The days of being content as a cog in the proverbial wheel are over. People want more. Millennials strive to work in companies that really value them as individuals. They don’t want to be ‘just a number’, so it’s important to really care about those you employ, and demonstrate this by supporting them along the way. 

Simon Sinek talks with great understanding about the challenges that the Millennial generation have faced, and what the impact has been. He discusses how ‘failed parenting strategies’ have led to low self-esteem at work. For example, telling children how special they are, that they can do whatever they want in life and that it’s the taking part that counts. In Sinek’s view, this has led to an unrealistic ideal of what the workplace is actually like. When starting employment, Millenials have realised that their parent’s kind words couldn’t secure them that promotion. There are no prizes for coming in last. Sinek is clear that this low self esteem is something we must help Millenials to overcome.

This isn’t a quick fix, but it will benefit your company massively, as Millennials will only become better employees as their confidence grows.

 Provide training and progression opportunities

Another Sinek insight is that for all the wonderful skills that Millennials have, they grew up in an age of instant gratification. An age where you don’t even have to wait for the next episode of a TV show to air, as it’s possible to binge-watch the whole season online. Therefore, they expect their careers to progress just as quickly. The reality is, of course, that in the vast majority of cases, this just isn’t possible.

So how do you combat this? Help them on the way to success and highlight their progress. To entice Millennial candidates, don’t just let them know about the specific role you’re hiring for – show them a 5 year career path. Show them that this job may not be the job they have always dreamt of, but it can pave the way to it. 

Opportunities for development are a huge draw. 59% of Millennials cite opportunities for learning and progression as a top consideration when applying for vacancies. And the opportunity for career growth is a top factor in retaining them.

Foster a great company culture

Many Millennials graduated around the time of the recession. Employers haven’t been able to offer attractive missing financial incentives to tempt them into jobs. But there’s something else that has a huge effect on an employee from the moment they work through the door – a fantastic company culture. Millennials have been found to value this above all else. This is particularly true when it comes to the company stance on staff wellbeing, and a healthy work-life balance. This change in expectation is, in part, down to the increased understanding of the effects stress has on health, and the importance of prioritising mental health.  

If you want our advice when it comes to employing and retaining Millennial workers – don’t fight the change. It’s a force for good. The expectations of the Millennial generation are tough to argue with. Being valued, having a work-life balance, access to training opportunities and having a purpose – they’re all worthwhile. And they lead to a positive outcome for all employees, regardless of age. You can’t afford to ignore the Millennials. The future of your businesses ultimately lies in their (responsible, principled, tech-savvy) hands.

As a generation, Millennials have a vast array of positive attributes. Great drive, highly developed multi-tasking skills, and they’ve grown up at such a time that the use of tech and digital media is second nature. These are people who are the future of your team.



Mark Gill

By Mark Gill

Recruitment Director with a proven record of providing world class hires at all levels of office and management positions within the Leeds Bradford region. We use our unique Headway Recruitment Platform incorporating psychometric testing to find the top candidates. If you want access to the full local talent pool get in contact with the team at Headway. We help companies achieve growth through our unique approach. This ensures the candidates we place are the perfect fit. Companies are then best placed to get the best from each individual as they understand their motivating traits. Proud to be recognised as preferred supplier for several businesses in the Sunday Times top 100 firms to work for.
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