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Mar 16

Millennials: Why is everyone so afraid of them? – Bizwomen

I am a millennial. I don’t like to tuck in my shirt and I have a distaste for cubicle life. And apparently I am an enigma to employers everywhere.

Last week I attended a presentation titled “What Millennials Want” at Northeastern University’s Charlotte campus. A panel of millennial managers – who are millennials themselves – provided their insight and commented on survey results showing what millennials look for in an employer.

I wasn’t the target audience, but I was surprised to see everyone so intrigued by what seemed like common knowledge to me. Of course millennials want to feel good about their work. Of course they want to strike a balance between their job and personal life.

But the 50 to 60 people who filed into the small Northeastern classroom at 7:30 a.m. made me realize this information is not common knowledge, and that a real disconnect exists between millennials and the people employing them.

One attendee asked how to make a manual-labor industry like manufacturing appealing to millennials. Another wondered if millennials are pushing the institution of marriage to the edge of extinction. A career counselor who came to the event told me she worries about college students who don’t want to get serious.

This apprehension toward an entire age group — one that makes up 34 percent of the U.S. workforce and more than one-quarter of the nation’s population — caught me off guard. Are we really so mystifying and fear-inducing?

We shouldn’t be.

Research company Universum surveyed 46,554 U.S. college students with an average age of 22 on their employment preferences. The results showed students are cause-driven, focused on work-life balance and eager to work at an innovative company. Nearly 50 percent put a high priority on job security and respect in the workplace. More than half said they expect to stay with their first employer for at least five years, challenging the assumption that millennials jump from job to job.

Panelist Mary Ellen Player, city operations manager for Google Fiber in Charlotte, said you can’t paint millennials with a broad brush.

Google employees need to be creative and innovative with the ability to flourish in a casual work environment with hours that sometimes extend into the night. Many millennials fit this profile, but many do not.

Panelist Ted Williams, publisher of digital publication Charlotte Agenda, works with a small staff of people who decide their own hours and assignments. Because of that atmosphere, Williams said he must hire people who are disciplined, self-motivated and reliable. When he does, his system works.

The Washington Post recently profiled the founder of The Millennial Solution, a consulting service for employers and managers who want to work more effectively with millennial employees. Gabrielle Jackson Bosche, a millennial herself, charges a minimum of $5,000 for her insight. The author found this business idea intriguing and useful. I found it a profound waste of money. I guess this is where the problem lies.

Millennials are young adults who want a good, dependable job that will allow them to pay rent and student loan bills without feeling like they’ve sold their soul. For some, that means working around the clock at a company like Google. For others, that means putting in eight hours a day at a manufacturing plant.

No matter the job description, the right millennial is out there. I hope I saved you $5,000.

Source: Millennials: Why is everyone so afraid of them? – Bizwomen

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