Positive, Negative Pressures on Millennials’ Career Prospects

Kachina Shaw
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Ten Questions Not to Ask During an Interview

The fact that new U.S. companies tend to hire more young employees than more established companies, and the fact that those young people like the start-up or young company environment, may end up soon hurting Millennial career prospects, according to a Bloomberg piece.

While Millennials may enjoy quick promotions, added responsibility and generally faster career progression in newer companies, those companies are collectively slowing their hiring:

Yet the 795,000 workers that the new establishments added to payrolls in the last three months of 2013 contrasted with almost 1 million a quarter from 2003 to 2006, according to Labor Department data. The number of jobs per new business fell to 3.6 in 2013, again excluding data from the first quarter, down from 4.3 in all of 2007 and almost 5 in 2003.

More established companies, the article also notes, employ a higher percentage of the total number of U.S. employees, according to numbers from the Brookings Institute:


Firms more than 16 years old employed 72 percent of all workers in 2011, up from 60 percent in 1992 …

Higher risk and a lack of growth also make career prospects for young workers in young companies less than ideal, at least according to Bloomberg. “… many startups aren’t high-growth: Only about one-third are created with the purpose of bringing a specific service or good to market, while most are crafted so the founder could have more job flexibility or be in charge.” While the article doesn’t specifically state that this tends to be true in so-called tech startups, the description seems to suggest that is what we’re discussing here.

Quite a bit of other research about Millennials in the workplace came out this week.

The UK’s HR Magazine cites a Randstad and Millennial Branding survey finding: “only 28% of millennials believe money is the biggest motivator to work harder and stay with a company, compared to 42% of Gen Y.” One third of those Millennials say they are most motivated by development opportunities.

Managers, beware. Millennials already have a reputation for being entitled and less than loyal. A new survey by marketing firm DDB found that Millennials are more likely to self-identify as workaholics than either Gen X or Baby Boomer employees, according to NBCNews.com. “It makes me wonder if they understand as a cohort what workaholic means,” muses Denise Delahorne, senior vice president, group strategy director, DDB Chicago.

Also alarming: The survey found that Millennials “say they would take credit for someone else's work to get ahead more than five times as frequently as boomers.”

Taking a more optimistic view of the opportunities that employing more Millennials may bring for companies, however, is author Bruce Kasanoff. Writing on Forbes.com yesterday, the co-author of “Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will Thrive, and How to Be One of Them” explains that smart companies seek out and engage Millennials as employees the same way they engage with their customers.

“if you can keep them happy, you can keep your customers happy. Millennials need the same type of flexibility that customers need. Millennials need the digital tools that customers need. Millennials grew up in the digital age, and customers want your business to act as though it is a leader in the digital age.”

While these employees may expect and need different treatment than do older employees to be productive, smart businesses will be flexible and, in the long run, will benefit from stretching away from their aging practices and policies, says Kasanoff. In other words, all that bad stuff can actually be good stuff with the right attitude.

Kachina Shaw is managing editor for IT Business Edge and has been writing and editing about IT and the business for 15 years. She writes about IT careers, management, technology trends and managing risk. Follow Kachina on Twitter @Kachina and on Google+



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