AT A GLANCE

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials will comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025
  • Millennials want time for themselves and space for their own self-expression; in a survey by Insead et al, the dominant definition of work-life balance was “enough time for my private life” followed by “flexible work hours”
  • According to a national survey conducted by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, 38% of millenials are freelancing, and 82% are optimistic about the future of freelancing

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May 01, 2015

What Do Millennials Want?

What is it that millennials want? As more millennials are occupying leadership positions across the world, organizations are trying to discover what they can do to ensure their success.

Why Does it Matter?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials will comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025. When it comes to employee engagement, this means that there is a large variance in the current workforce and each worker needs to be treated differently. Each category of worker has their own priority, from work-life balance to health care benefits. And employees today don’t just care about salary; they are looking for additional benefits from employers.

Projected Demographics in the U.S.

Projected Demographics in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Adding to the urgency to determine what millennials want at work is that most of the existing research on the generation is skewed towards a Western population. Conclusions based on this limited sample could lead to missed opportunities about attracting, retaining, and developing millenial leaders in a global business environment.

Leadership

INSEAD’s Emerging Markets Institute, Universum, and the HEAD Foundation recently conducted a survey on millennials, surveying 16,637 people between the ages of 18 and 30 in 43 countries. On average, 40 percent of respondents claimed that becoming a manager or leader was “very important” to them. The reasons, ranging from money to building career foundations, varies across countries. High future earnings stood out as the most dominant global theme, but the range was still wide. Half of respondents from Central and Eastern Europe chose high future earnings as a reason to pursue leadership, while only 17 percent of African respondents did. 

Why Do you Want to Be a Leader?

Why Do you Want to Be a Leader?

Source: HBR

Work-Life Balance

Numerous articles have been written about how millennials want a strong work-life balance, but it is rare to find research on the kind of balance this means. For previous generations, work-life balance often meant a work-family balance. For millennials, it seems to mean more of a work-me balance. Millennials want time for themselves and space for their own self-expression. In the survey by Insead et al, the dominant definition of work-life balance was “enough time for my private life” followed by “flexible work hours”. This might be explained by the fact that a large population of millenials are currently single, do not have children, and are not providing care for aging parents.

What Does Work-Life Balance Mean?

What Does Work-Life Balance Mean?

Source: HBR

Millennials and the Future of Work

Human resource experts are recognizing that millennials might understand the future of work better than other generations, and that companies can learn a lot about where the workplace is heading by watching how millennials approach and define their careers.

The internet has opened more doors to the millennial generation than any other. Their whole lives, millennials have been told that they can and should pursue as many interests as they want, so they are a generation with diverse interests. This is why the idea of a portfolio of work comes naturally to them. Millennials have been doing web design for thir mom’s coworkers after school, and teaching themselves video editing through online courses and picking up gigs to supplement their part-time job.

This natural flexibility positions millenials to take advantage of where the future of work is heading. According to a national survey conducted by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, 38 percent of millenials are freelancing, and 82 percent are optimistic about the future of freelancing.

Millennials understand networks and hubs, which make for successful freelancers. They understand the power of affiliations, more so than earlier generations. And they are putting this understanding to use in areas besides their career. In the U.S., the Occupy movement took up the cause of social justice and economic equality and built a networked infrastructure to advance their ideas. In Spain, Podemos, founded by millennials, is one of the fastest-growing political parties in the country. 

Things to Know About Millennials

Things to Know About Millennials

Source: Universum Global

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