Generation Y Career Prospects and Preferences

Generation Y Career Prospects and Preferences

ManpowerGroup, a world leader in workforce solutions, recently published a report Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision with facts, figures and practical advice to both employers and young professionals.

The report pictures the career style and vision of young professionals, but also suggests what they need to consider in order to make the most of their career. The report also highlights the implications of the new trends on employer recruitment and retention strategies.

Millennials answered three survey questions:

  • How confident are you about your career and how much of a priority is skill development?
  • How long do you think you will need to work and do you plan career breaks along the way?
  • What does job security mean, how important is it and what would make you stay with an employer?

Who are Generation Y professionals?

Generation Y also known as ‘Millennials’ are the people born between 1982 and1996 and who are currently at the age of 20-34. By 2020 they will make up over a third of the global workforce.

Iliana Bobova, a Career Counsellor and Head of MBA Admissions Consulting at PrepAdviser, highlights:

This is also the perfect age to commit to MBA studies to empower future business leaderships potential for corporate or entrepreneurial career paths.

As the offspring of parents whose jobs became increasingly less secure in the '70s, '80s and '90s, they entered the labour market during a global recession with record youth unemployment, faster-changing business cycles, and increasing demand for new skills for which they are often told they lack the necessary education.

The latest ManpowerGroup research shows that generation Y is redefining the employer-employee relationship.

Career vision

The majority of Millennials, according to the research, are optimistic about their immediate job prospects. More than 60% are confident that if they lost their main source of income tomorrow they could find equally good or better work within three months. Results vary from a region and country prospective. Overall the majority of Millennials globally see a promising future and successful careers ahead.

Regarding the second question, most Millennials know they’ll work longer than the generations before them. Globally, over half expect to work past age 65. Twenty-seven percent expect to work over the age of 70, and 12% say they will likely work until the day they die.

Opposite to the overall perception that Millennials are ‘lazy’, the data tell a different story. Millennials are working as hard as, if not harder than, other generations. 73% report working more than 40 hours a week, and nearly a quarter work over 50 hours. Indian Millennials claim the longest working week and Australians the shortest – on average 52 and 41 hours a week respectively. Globally 26% are doing two or more paid jobs.

Career Waves are replacing the Career Ladder

Millennials expect to work harder and longer than previous generations, so they already anticipate more variety and more times when they will take their foot off the gas. Eighty-four percent are planning significant breaks along the way, reinforcing the thinking that Career Waves are replacing the Career Ladder of earlier generations. The reasons for these breaks are revealing.

Check out: Career Crossroads (Video)

Striking a work-life balance

Women plan to take more time out to care for others – for children, older relatives, partners and even to volunteer. Men have different priorities. This does not support hopes of gender parity, with both parents holding the baby.

Where Millennials are more equal is in caring for themselves. Both genders aim to prioritise “me-me-me time” and leisure-related breaks. Regardless of gender, 4 in 10 Millennials are planning to take significant breaks for relaxation, travel or holidays. Taking time off to support a partner in their job ranks close to last place for both, reinforcing the trend towards dual-income households.

How generation Y choose a job

The report shows that Millennials prioritise three things when choosing where and how they work: money, security and time off. They want to be rewarded for their effort, feel secure in their employment and still have the freedom to stop and refuel once in a while. They also value working with great people and enjoying the time they spend on the job, together with the opportunity to work flexibly and develop new skills as priorities.

In terms of job security, like the previous generation, Millennials want the security of full-time work to ensure they can maintain their standard of living.

Life-long learning for new job opportunities

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/or 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.

As opposed to the previous generation, the Millennials' mind-set sees individual jobs as stepping-stones to self-improvement, rather than a final destination. Millennials search for a new opportunity, not a new job.

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This generation is defined also as one with a high level of learnability, which employers need to recognise and reward if they want their employees to stay motivated and engaged.

Advice to employers

There is always the demand-and-supply rule on the labour market. On their side, the employers need to show and share Millennials examples of people who have progressed through training and on-the-job learning in their organisation. It is extremely important to satisfy and meet the Millennials' appetite and needs for new opportunities without them having to go elsewhere, which we are seeing as an increasing trend, an easy-to-take decision. Give them short-term and regular objectives and implement plans for achievement instead of annual appraisals.

Advice to generation Y professionals

Millennials, on their side, need to keep in mind that career progression is not something that happens overnight; there is a certain need for patience and understanding as companies cannot change their strategies and structures frequently in order to meet their employees' personal hunger for development. Millennials will always have something to learn from the previous and more mature generations in the company. Sometimes it is a matter of needing life experience to take the right step and decision. Do not forget that your behaviour and attitude provides a “role model" to the next generations, too.


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