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5 Things Millennials Want from a Job

Millennials are as great in number as they are in influence. Regardless of your opinion of this generation, you can’t dismiss their impact on the world.

It is estimated that by 2020, nearly half of the working population in the United States will be made up of this polarizing generation.

With the rise of millennials in the job market, significant pressure has been put on employers to not only attract, but retain talent amongst this emerging generation. In fact, 58% of Millennials expect to leave their job in 3 years or less.

What are millennials looking for from jobs and career opportunities? When answering this question, employers have to better understand the evolution the world has undergone during the lifetime of these individuals.

The sociological and technological changes over the past 30 years spawned a generation of people who look at the world and their lives differently. Millennials desire incentives from their careers that are unlike those craved by previous generations.

Although monetary compensation, commuting distance and vacation benefits still hold significant weight in millennials’ career decisions, their unique perspectives of the world create challenges for employers who want to attract and retain them as employees.

With that in mind, here are five things millennials are looking for from a job or career opportunity.

1. Autonomy

Autonomy is one of the key indicators in determining someone’s perception of their work. According to Millennial Branding, 45% of millennials will choose workplace flexibility and autonomy over pay.

Many people wish to control their own destinies, yet employers struggle to implement strategies that promote this notion without sacrificing structure in the working environment.

First, it’s important to identify what it means to be autonomous in the workplace. Complete autonomy is nearly impossible to obtain in practice; however, giving employees flexibility in how, where and when their work gets done is crucial.

Although there is clearly a balance to achieve when applying these principles, finding this balance can lead to exceptional benefits.

Things such as working from home and the ability to choose responsibility over certain work assignments have a significant, positive effects on worker morale. For example, a study by Stanford University found that job attrition was cut by 50% when employees were given the options of working remotely once a week.

Despite the necessary limits on workplace autonomy, it is important that employers actively seek to implement methods that promote flexibility and autonomy in the workplace.

2. Odyssey

Humans seek adventure and the excitement of trying new things, even within the confines of a working environment.

Although some employees prefer to have a routine without much change, millennials crave the opposite.

Although millennials are often wrongfully described as having an inability to stay on task, there is no debate over whether millennials desire the experience of trying new things.

Like their desire for flexibility in how and where work is done, millennials want to try new things that expose them to all aspects of a business.

According to research by LinkedIn, millennials are on track to surpass four job changes by the time they hit age 32. Furthermore, these numbers are expected to increase in the next 5 years among the younger segment of the generation.

Having a structure in place that helps young professionals uncover the different aspects and roles of a company not only aids in employee self-discovery; it boosts their work–life happiness as well.

3. Challenge

How do people learn best in a working environment? Research indicates that giving people responsibility to actually do things is most effective.

The individualism spread throughout American culture is more prevalent among millennials.

As a result, there is a somewhat egotistical desire among millennials to have extensive responsibility in their work, even at an entry-level position.

Although the onus is on employees to earn the badge of responsibility, it is important that employers meet them halfway.

If an employee displays the desire and ability to take on bigger tasks, employers must do their best to provide him or her with challenging opportunities.

According to Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast, “Millennials are determined to be challenged and to continue to grow, even if that means growing out of a company.”

It is important that employers not only supply millennials with the opportunities and challenges they desire, but that they constantly assess whether the implemented challenges are still offering the same value to ensure companies minimize employee turnover.

4. Diversity

The United States has always been a melting pot of cultures, and millennials have been at the forefront of not only accepting diversity in the world, but encouraging it.

Millennials are now the largest and most diverse generation on earth, and they want their workplace to mirror the diversity that makes up the world.

Although diversity does not always lead to seamless harmony in an organization, millennials are in favor of interacting with teams that have different outlooks and backgrounds.

According to Fast Company, “Eighty-three percent of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture, compared to only 60% of Millennials who are actively engaged when their organization does not foster an inclusive culture.”

This appreciation of diversity is also important in terms of the type of work that is done. When workers are given the same mundane tasks with the same group of people over and over, there is often a negative effect on worker morale.

With this drive for diversity, employers must stretch further than ever before to ensure that a company’s culture promotes diversity and inclusion.

5. Purpose

Of course salary and employee benefits matter, but what keeps employees motivated more than anything else is a sense of purpose in their work.

Although this is not a new concept for employers, there has been a rise in the need for a sense of altruism and self-actualization among the millennial generation.

Millennials look at their work from a bottom-up perspective. They first want to see that their work provides value to an organization. Once this need is met, they then look at the organization’s effect on the greater good of society as a way to identify whether their work is making a positive difference on a larger scale.

It is important that employers and managers recognize this process that millennials undergo, and that they take the role of coach rather than boss. Not only will this help get more out of millennial employees; it will assist in providing them with a higher sense of purpose in their work.

With the emergence of a new generation in the professional landscape now upon us, it is imperative that organizations understand the underlying motivations of their current and future employees to ensure they stay a step ahead of the competition.

Written by Teddy Baldassarre

Teddy Baldassarre is digital marketer, entrepreneur and student. He currently is finishing up his degree in Communication Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Dayton and has an immense passion for social media, digital marketing, tech and startups. In his free time he enjoys working with other entrepreneurs in assisting with digital marketing and business development strategies; along with improving his side hustles of being a free lance videographer, photographer, writer and content creator.

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