Despite their reputation, ‘millennials’ are fast becoming the most sought-after workers in today’s job market, and I’m really not surprised. The vast majority of Generation Y that I’ve encountered in the workplace have been hard working, likeable, multitasking technology ninjas. Oh, and they know how to work the coffee machine too. I still can’t persuade it to do me a flat white.
With the number of startups in the UK rising to a new record, combined with the fact that millennials not only seek a competitive salary but also value a strong company culture and want access to high quality resources, it’s little surprise that millennials are turning to small businesses to find work.
Aren’t these the same self-entitled ‘moaning millennials’ who frequently appear at the top of polls entitled “Britain’s whiniest workers”, I hear you ask? Maybe, but I think that’s a bit unfair. Yes, some millennials are starting to moan – but they’re in a minority, and there’s no denying that they’re having a huge impact on the world of work. They’re not perfect. Far from it. But the benefits this smart, ambitious generation bring far outweigh the challenges.
They’re sounding like a pretty appealing bunch of new hires so far, aren’t they?
There’s no definite time period of when the millennial generation began and ended, but the general consensus is that it includes those who were born from around 1980 to the mid 1990s. Interestingly, it could be argued that the growth of the digital industry has developed in line with this generation and this will only continue as Generation Z – born around the late 1990s and early 2000s – begin to enter the workplace.
So, what jobs are millennials looking for?
Research from Adzuna has found that millennials’ comprehensive understanding of technology has led to a rise in the digital industry, so it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that the generations with the highest number of people working in digital and tech are all millennials.
The research reveals that one in ten millennials, 2,919, have ‘digital’ in their CVs, in comparison to just 169 Generation Zers and only six Baby Boomers (those born from the end of World War II, up to the early 1960s). Similarly, whilst 133 Generation Xers (born in the 1960s and the early 1980s) currently have ‘social media’ in their CVs, 1,297 millennials have it listed in theirs.
How can small businesses attract millennials to their companies?
If we do pay attention to the claims that, perhaps unlike previous generations, millennials won’t tolerate doing tasks that are of little worth, companies will need to have a work ethic and values that will fit the bill.
Follow these top tips to attract top level millennials to your SME:
1) Be on trend
Millennials are said to be digital natives. Unlike Generation Z, the generation who have never known a life without smartphones and WiFi, millennials grew up alongside the advance of technology making them extremely savvy when it comes to the digital world. An old computer or an ink-jet printer (or even a company that still uses printers on a daily basis) may put a millennial off of your organisation.
2) Provide opportunities to be ambitious
For many younger workers looking to join your company, they’ll be looking for a place to put the theoretical skills they’ve learned at university or college into action. Ensure that prospective employees will be taking a hands-on role, and won’t feel like they’re on work experience. They should feel confident that any suggestions or ideas they have for their role will be taken on board and listened to, so ensure that they don’t feel taken for granted or undermined.
3) Be transparent and clear about career progression
Some may describe millennials as impatient with their careers, but it’s more likely that they’re simply looking ahead at their career path and have a desire to succeed in their jobs. A survey found that 41% of employee respondents would leave their job for a company with better career prospects; in order to stand out to prospective millennial employees, it’s critical that your business has the space for staff to have their say about their role and how they want to progress in the future.
4) Offer competitive benefits and perks
For millennials, salary isn’t the be all and end all; they want an environment where they enjoy working and have a clear balance between work life and social life. Consider flexible working hours, a quarterly team day out or even a pool table for Friday lunch times. If you’re looking for inspiration for your company, at The Body Shop, staff are entitled to five volunteering days a year and Swinton Insurance employees are given an extra day’s holiday dedicated to Christmas shopping.
5) Enable opportunities for continuous learning
Millennials are constantly on the lookout for ways they can better themselves and their work skills, providing opportunities to support them with this will attract new hires. Look out for relevant conferences or networking events that could improve their skills that they could attend – these should be seen as an investment as the skills they learn are sure to benefit your company.
6) Be active on social media
When millennials are in the job-hunting stage, you can be sure that they’ll search for your business on social media. Make sure you don’t only have accounts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but that you also keep them updated – an empty Twitter feed is extremely unlikely to impress a millennial. Give an insight into what type of company you are, and also interact with people who interact with you as it’ll show that, as a business, you’re polite and a keen networker, too.
Whilst millennials may have somewhat of a negative reputation, focus on the positive elements they can bring to your workplace. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to employing a highly skilled millennial, who will be able to grow and improve your small business.
Andrew Hunter is co-founder of Adzuna