How Will the Millennial Generation Impact the Industry?Fri, 09/01/2017 - 15:13
Together with technological innovation, the millennial generation has brought disruption to the industry. While some companies see these potential employees as a risk for business, others see them as an opportunity to grow and adapt to future trends such as digitalization and e-commerce, depending on the position the company has in the industry. It is true that priorities have changed among younger employees and consumers. However, companies are now learning to detect these differences and are changing their approach to remain attractive as an employment option and as product and service providers.
Millennial is just another label. There are many other conditions beyond generational factors that perhaps define what makes people similar or different but, in the end, there is no real generational gap between any of us. Age is a continuum. It maybe just seems useful to make a distinction between different generations because it allows us to put people in convenient boxes, easy to label. But from an applied perspective, there are many more considerations that unite rather then divide us. Our goals are similar regardless if we are 80 or 20 years old, even if how we want to achieve them differs. The best way we have found to work with millennials, baby-boomers and all other generations is to put people in mixed work groups. This way, remaining differences become useful and everyone can work toward the same target.
There is a clear generational gap that we must take into consideration when talking about millennials. As employers, we must consider new elements that are important for young people and their life plan, such as quality of life and work flexibility. New graduates are leaving university with adequate skills to participate in the industry but we still should train them on how to work in a corporate environment. Teamwork, responsibility and loyalty to the company are among the most important values we must work with. On the other hand, from a commercial standpoint, millennials are our future clients and if we do not understand how this generation thinks, we will not meet their needs. Younger people are focused on new digital trends and we need to shift our own business strategies to fit these.
Millennials are the ones driving change in terms of sharing-economy integration. Young people usually do not have the economic means to buy a car but they still have mobility needs, which has made solutions like Uber and Cabify extremely attractive. Although we have found that these people are the most willing to ditch the idea of vehicle ownership, they are also the most willing to invest more to incorporate advanced technology in their vehicles. There is a misconception that millennials will crash vehicle sales projections due to their indifference toward ownership. In reality, what is changing is the clients’ profile and how companies must target potential buyers. Between 40 and 45 percent of the active clients in the next 10 years will be part of the millennial generation, which means companies will have to shift their priority from the product to the consumer.
Millennials have great skills in software and hardware management, making them an asset for companies. We have gradually changed majors like Mechatronics and Mechanics to include more analysis and simulation activities, helping our students take advantage of their digital skills. Careers such as Automotive Design Engineering have also been conceived to boost students’ software capabilities from the beginning. This gives them an advantage over graduates trained more traditionally.
Millennials have different priorities and companies must learn to adapt to new requirements. These candidates might have similar goals to previous generations in terms of knowledge and human development but they are more relentless and ambitious. Millennials will turn down a job they do not feel satisfied with or connected to it. Management and motivation structures have to take this into consideration so new candidates feel like they are part of something bigger than just a day job. Companies are now changing their vision to this new mindset and must continue improving the interaction between older and younger generations. There is a common misconception that younger candidates look for a new job every two years. In fact, they just want to learn new skills continuously.
By 2020, millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce and they are surprisingly upbeat about their careers. Job security is critical for them, but they are not the job hoppers some would have us believe. Rather than one long job for life, millennials understand the need for continuous skills development to remain employable. Ninety-three percent want lifelong learning and are willing to spend their own time and money on further training. Four out of five say the opportunity to learn new skills is a top factor when considering a new job, and 22% intend to take an extended break from work to gain new skills and qualifications. The millennial mindset sees individual jobs as stepping stones to self-improvement, rather than a final destination.
The biggest challenge regarding the millennial generation is understanding each individual’s goals and motivations. Managing this will help companies find their perfect match according to their own needs. The situation must be addressed from both the company and the applicant standpoint. Companies must learn how to handle members of this new generation and understand that these people are moved by challenges and opportunities. If companies cannot offer millennials an interesting working environment with a clear growth plan, they risk losing their talent. From an applicant’s perspective, Randstad is investing many resources in understanding the millennial mindset, to help our clients as much as possible. The company is also investing in technology from startups that have a focus on human capital management and outsourcing, boosting its relationship with younger generations.