The Baby Boomers dominated the workforce for a long time, but Generation Y is taking over. In fact, in 2015 the Millennial generation became the largest age group in the labor force. As those born after 1980 move into leadership positions, we expect to see even more ways Millennials are changing the workplace—especially in the engineering and tech industries.
Technology and Education
Millennials are the most educated generation in American history, with more young people obtaining Bachelor’s degrees than ever before. Not only are they college educated, but they are digital natives. Millennials are the only generation ever to have lived their entire lives with access to digital technology, and they know how to learn and adapt to the ever changing tech world. This new style of learning brings a competitive advantage to many companies and a new outlook on hiring engineering professionals.
With technology comes communication. Millennials are used to fast communication and transparency, so the traditional bureaucratic chain of command doesn’t work well for them. They seek input from all levels of organization because everyone is easily accessible. Previous generations accepted that companies were built with a top-down communication and organizational structure. However, as millennials entered the workforce, many tech companies spearheaded the exploration of different organizational structures, and hierarchy is no longer the status quo. This is important to keep in mind when hiring the best engineers for your company.
Millennials are notorious for their desire to make an impact and shape both the world and the workplace. Tied into this is that they want to work under an inspiring leader; a leader that is a mentor. Leaders need to be approachable, open and supportive. When taking on assignments, Millennials want to see the big picture and how their company’s goals, values and mission play a role in their work. In order to see future success for your company, it is important to hire based on character—company culture is an important factor for Millennial job seekers.
Generation X brought the idea of a work-life balance to the workplace. Millennials are taking it a step further by bringing the idea of work-life integration to the workplace. It is harder to confine the generation to a typical 9-5 schedule. The nature of their relationship with technology has created a generation of successful multi-taskers. They believe life can happen at 1pm during the workday and work can happen at 9pm from home. Millennial managers don’t micromanage, and being at the office from 9-5 in business professional attire is less important to them than results. Flexibility is often shown as the top reason why Millennials become dissatisfied with their jobs. Forbes cites that “Millennials rate workplace flexibility even over healthcare.”
These are just a few ways that Millennials are changing the workplace. Companies need to adjust their technology, organizational structures, leadership styles and flexibility in order to keep up with the transforming climate of the business world. The future success of businesses when working with Millennials will be largely based on hiring practices and company cultures.
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