Generation Y, Millennials, The Internet Generation"”it doesn′t matter what you call them; they are the future of the workforce. If you speak to any seasoned recruiter about this generation, you may be surprised to learn that while this generation may be the most intelligent generation to join the workforce, they are also considered to be lazy and difficult to retain.
While these two characteristics often cast Gen Y in a negative light, thanks to this generation, recruiting has changed drastically and will continue to evolve. Three key factors make for major differences between Millennials and their predecessors when it comes to engaging and retaining this generation:
Technology: Gen Y has grown up with technology and its members are referred to as "digital natives." This skill puts this generation at an advantage because they are able to integrate technology into all aspects of their work. Recruiters have noticed this trend and have begun to reach out to potential employees through online means other than job boards. It is very easy to build relationships with (and learn a lot about) future employees through networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. If your company is not using social media or other technologies to entice candidates, you are missing out on top talent.
Parents: Parents of Gen Y children are often called "helicopter parents," thanks in part to their constant hovering and super-involvement in their children′s lives. Never before have parents played such a big role in all aspects of their children′s lives, and these parents don′t just float away when their children head into the workforce. Hiring managers are reporting some parents are going so far as to accompanying their children to interviews and calling companies to inquire about the status of their children′s résumés.
While this practice should by no means be encouraged, helicopter parents are hard to ignore. Rather than completely brush them off (as much as you may want to), a better practice is to keep them in the loop through blast e-newsletters. As always, remind them that it is their child applying for the job, not the parent and they are not helping their child′s case by hovering too closely.
Higher Education: Gen Y is graduating from college with more knowledge than any generation before them. They have been told that they are invaluable to the companies that seek them. While they will bring a new breadth of knowledge to your workforce, there is one key aspect they have not been schooled on: how to behave in a professional environment with both superiors and peers.
Reports have shown that Gen Y has a strong sense of entitlement and feel as though they shouldn′t have to work to earn their superior′s respect and rewards. This is often off-putting to recruiters and puts these sorts of candidates at a disadvantage. The best way to mitigate behaviors such as this is to emphasize the way employees at your organization earn respect and move up the organizational ladder. Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, an exclusive online community connecting the best internship and entry-level job candidates with the best employers. She is also the national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.
How important is employer-sponsored health insurance to you?
In January 2009, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that employers planned to hire 22% fewer college grads this year. Bad news for eager and optimistic college grads. That news prompted EHealthInsurance to conduct their recent survey of college students about their job expectations after graduation and to see if they know how and where to get it if they find their employment options more limited than expected. You can see the results of the study here .
The poll found that a majority of the students would prefer to shop for their own health insurance to take with them no matter where they work than participate in an employer-sponsored health plan. While I'm still a bit unclear on whether these students expectation is that their employer gives them a stipend to buy their own insurance or if they would just prefer other perks or higher salary, I found it very interesting.
According to the study:
63% of students prefer health insurance portability. These new grads would prefer to find a health insurance plan on their own and keep it regardless of where they work.
37% would prefer to change health insurance plans every time they change jobs.
When I entered the workforce as an employee, I never thought about buying my own health insurance plan. If I were to work full-time for a company and an insurance plan were offered, I would have participatee in the employer plan. It wasn't until I became self-employed did I really start considering my health insurance options.
At the same time, 85% of these college students are counting on their future employers to provide them with health insurance, but 68% of them would rather take a job they liked without
healthcare benefits than accept a position they didn't like with a great healthcare package.
What do you see employer's doing now to accommodate the expectations of the future workforce?
We all know the current job market is tough, regardless of what generation you′re from. But for many Millennials, who are inexperienced when it comes to searching for a job, it can be an even tougher time. So this article provides all you newbie job seekers with seven tips that will give you an edge over your job-seeker competition.
1. Start a blog
Not "just" a blog — a blog that covers the news and information about specific companies, or industries, where you′d like to work. You can then contact the company(s) and let them know you have a blog that is "about them and their industry". This can attract their attention and give you an edge over just submitting a resume. Even micro-blogging on Twitter using this strategy is smart.
2. Make Yourself Known
Many newbie job seekers send their resume and then do nothing. Making 1-2 follow-up calls is not enough. Until someone tells you "the position is filled", keep calling, emailing, and inquiring. Sure, it may seem like you′re annoying, but you are making yourself memorable, and that′s key.
3. Know Your Target
Make sure you include the terminology used within that industry, and/or by that company, when submitting your info to them. This can range from the job titles they use to the industry/company jargon they use. The point here is to make your resume and cover letter "customized" to them, not generic to ANY industry and/or company.
4. Don′t Rely on Your Computer
Yes, the Internet is a powerful networking tool. And, of course, network on social networks like FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But face-to-face contact can be more powerful. Attend local professional networking events in industries you′re interested in. Interested in a Marketing career? Attend your local AMA chapter mixer. Each month, attend as many "live" networking events as possible. Not only will you make a lot of contacts but you′ll become better at "selling yourself" which can help when you interview.
5. Make Business Cards
Don′t arrive to networking events or job interviews without business cards. You can even make your title "Job Seeker in Finance" (or whatever you′re looking for). And on the back print a few bullets about you: Education, Degree, strengths, etc. These can be like mini-resumes and they give you something interesting to hand to people (versus writing your contact info on a napkin at an event). Make your own cards and get them printed inexpensively through online services like LogoMaker.com.
6. Thank You Cards
Whenever your return home from an interview or networking event, or even from casual encounter with someone you met at a party where you discussed your employment, send a hand written thank you note to everyone you met. People tend to send thank yous via email, but a hand written note makes a big impression nowadays because very few people send them!
7. Be "Employed" Through Volunteering
If you′re unemployed, use some of your free time to volunteer at a local non-profit. That reflects well on you when interviewing. You can say that you volunteer 15-20 hours per week for XYZ organization and your tasks include"¦employers want to know you′re "doing something" other than looking for a job full time. It also shows them you′re hard working and not just sitting around your home waiting for a job.
For more info about generations-related workforce trends, check-out Lisa′s business blog.
People want to do meaningful work - not just the new generation entering the workforce, but everybody. Don't tell Gen Y's a crappy job is a good job, just be upfront with them and make some compromises like giving them mentoring for some of the grunt work they'll have to do (what other generations consider is paying dues).
Flexibility. Don't expect them to work from 9-5. Manage by results.
Productivity. Time management is a subject they are very well versed in and many operate in a mode of productivity that other generations don't get. Penelope talks about the most read blogs by Gen Y are those about personal productivity. It's all about David Allen and his book "Getting Things Done." Just because they can listen to their Ipod and instant message at work doesn't mean they're not productive.
Do you agree? What is your company doing to make a Gen Y friendly workplace?
Fact: The workplace is changing. I'm not sure why I was so surprised at the results of a recent survey at Experience.com - we all know job hopping is common these days, especially with younger generations, but the fact that 60% of these young grads are actively looking for a new position although 57% are happy in their job just surprised me.
It's one thing to keep your options open to better career opportunities, but it's another to be actively looking for a new position. Where do these young grads find time to be actively seeking out opportunity and interviewing while they are just starting out in their careers and busy learning?
70% of young grads reported they left their first job within two years of their joining
43% of Gen Y are not in the career they expected to be in after college, either because they couldn′t find a job, or another opportunity presented itself
60% are currently looking for another job or career, despite the fact that 57% indicated that they are also happy at their current job
74% of recent graduates are in a career that aligns with their college major
Most hiring companies I work with still seem uneasy about candidates who jump jobs every two years despite the changing times. Often these same employers doubt a candidate's ability to assimilate into a new work culture after ten years of employment at the same company. Is there a happy medium?