Seeing how more than 35% of the US workforce is comprised of Gen-Ys, as Pew Research Center analysis shows, companies now have to consider hiring Millennials for their executive teams.
Luckily, the younger generations are ready to take on executive management positions. In fact, 91% of them desire to assume a leadership role, according to The Millennial Leadership Study.
But what does that mean for organizations? Do Millennials really pose a “flight risk,” as the older generations seem to believe? Or are they the kind of leaders companies need to accommodate the upcoming workforce’s needs for?
This article will illustrate the pros and cons of this new generation of managers, considering how they are transforming the workforce and companies’ cultures and what that change means for the future of work.
Generational Differences in the Workplace
Currently, most of the workforce is comprised of four generations of workers:
1. Baby Boomers
People born between 1946 and 1964 are known as Baby Boomers. This generation of employees is career-oriented and incredibly hard-working. They deem ranking up in the workplace quite significant, which is why they can be competitive and often make sacrifices to achieve success.
2. Generation X
Generation X includes people born between 1965 and 1980. They are self-sufficient and value their independence. This generation laid the foundation for the work-life balance trend as they consider their personal lives more important than the company’s interests.
Workers from this generation are resistant to micromanagement and workplace changes that affect their personal lives. Hence, if managers breathe down their necks or don’t meet their needs, they are quick to move on.
People from Generation Y are born from 1981 to 1996. Also known as Millennials, they prefer working smarter rather than harder. Like Gen-X, they value work-life balance and flexibility, such as working four days a week or working from home.
Gen-Y employees want to be challenged and thrive in a workplace that offers unique experiences. They are more likely to stay loyal to a company if they have a quality manager who supports their growth and development.
4. Generation Z
The youngest generation, Gen-Z, comprises those born between 2001 and 2020. They are the most technologically-proficient generation of all four who self-identify as digital device addicts.
Gen-Zs prefer to work with Millennial managers who allow them to be independent and support their innovative ideas. They expect their employers to provide them with training and opportunities to help them advance in their careers.
How Millennials are Reshaping the Workforce
The older generations have many complaints against Gen-Ys. They see them as lazy, unengaged, entitled, and naive.
The truth is, Millennials are the leaders of a positive revolution in the workforce, paving the way for more employee-centered culture in the future.
This generation of employees doesn’t want to be seen as only a human resource.
They strive for goal-oriented and collaborative workplaces where people support each other, mentorship is encouraged, and colleagues are more than just another cog in the company’s wheel.
They are here to stay and reshape the workforce in all industries, changing the aspirations for a fulfilling career.
Top Industries for Millennials
Being the first generation born in a tech-driven world, many people in this age group work in the technology sector.
According to GetSmarter’s The Future of Work Is Here report, the IT and services sectors consist of 38% of employees under the age of 35.
In addition, younger generations also join the healthcare and finance industries. Typically, they assume roles such as nurses, medical assistants, accountants, business analysts, and corporate finance specialists.
Even though they are open to exploring different opportunities and trying out various positions, young people avoid working in industries that don’t share their values. Thus, as GetSmarter’s report shows, only a tiny percentage of them work in the public sector (7%), manufacturing (6%), and oil and gas companies (5%).
Millennials & Job-Hopping
Millennials are gaining a reputation for job-hopping. According to a Robert Half survey, 76% are job-hoppers, compared to 57% of Gen-Xs and 38% of Baby Boomers. However, 75% of Gen-Ys think that job hopping can benefit their careers.
People typically switch jobs for a larger salary, but increased compensation is not the primary influence for the millennial generation. In fact, Workplace Intelligence’s study found that the main reasons why 74% of the younger generations are likely to jump ship are a lack of opportunities for skill development, career advancement, or career mobility.
The Deloitte 2022 Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey confirms this in its findings, which show that another reason Gen-Ys chose a new job is the learning and development opportunities.
Hence, as their career expectations change, younger people are not afraid to explore their opportunities until they find their spot in the workforce.
Millennials Career Expectations
As an individualistic generation, people within this age group value personal growth and skill development ahead of job security. They look for jobs that provide them opportunities to develop their skills, extend their knowledge, and even take on different roles as they become more skilled.
In fact, the Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report found that, for 93% of Gen-Ys, skill development is the most significant part of their career.
Therefore, obtaining a specific role, such as working only as an accountant, doesn’t attract them. Rather, their ideal position is one where they can switch positions until they find the one that best suits them.
It’s been shown that they won’t wait long to find another job if they feel they are standing still. Namely, two-thirds of Gen Y-s think the “right” amount of time to stay with a company without progress is less than two years, and a quarter wouldn’t wait more than a year to quit, according to the Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report.
The Rise of the Millennial Managers
With the oldest Millennials reaching their 40s, this generation is establishing itself in middle management positions, with the most ambitious ones even taking on senior-level roles.
Zapier’s data report found that more than three in five Gen-Ys, or 62%, say they manage direct reports. Most of them decided to become a part of an executive team to advance their career and earn higher incomes.
As leaders, they are eager to make a difference and apply their practices to management, which might be precisely the change necessary since most of the workforce consists of same-generation employees whose work demands align with their management styles and strategies.
Millennial Workforce Management
Despite their bad reputation, this generation is one of the most hard-working groups of employees today. In fact, the Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report found that 73% work more than 40 hours per week, and 26% have two or more jobs.
Therefore, managing millennials in the workplace has nothing to do with making them work, but everything to do with motivating them to work.
To keep them engaged, younger generations want to be able to see the bigger picture of a company and know how their work impacts the organization’s success. In addition, they want to have a clearly defined career path within a company.
Last but not least, they don’t like to be forced to put in more time than necessary. Instead, they want to work flexibly as much as possible to complete their work.
Therefore, leaders who manage younger generations must adapt their management styles to have better talent attraction results.
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Millennial Management Styles
Each generation favors a unique management style regarding communication, employee benefits, and even workplace design. Since the workforce has gone through a complete change, millennial management styles have adapted to today’s employees’ needs.
Hence, Generation Y executives use technological advancements to foster communication, straying from traditional face-to-face meetings. These new methods of correspondence can be more efficient and effective.
Additionally, they embrace a flat management structure because they value the opinion of their team members and are convinced that collaboration and feedback are the keys to a company’s success.
Moreover, they are committed to enhancing the diversity and inclusiveness of their workplace, believing that it advances the culture and growth of the organization.
Millennial Management Strategies
Due to the belief that a company’s values should reflect one’s values and beliefs, this generation of executives is implementing strategies disrupting traditional leadership.
Since younger generations highly value their work-life balance, Gen-Y leaders know to offer their teams flexible opportunities.
With personal growth and skill development being the most important aspects of sticking with a job, learning and development options are a must-have strategy when managing Millennials.
Young generations want to be given a purpose and recognized for their hard work. Offering career coaching and employee recognition programs are great strategies for retaining Gen-Ys.
Pros & Cons of Millennial Leadership
With many different opinions about the generation and their leadership skills, it’s a good idea to weigh their strengths and weaknesses when considering hiring Millennials for the executive team.
So, what makes this generation good leaders?
Millennials carry with them high expectations, both in their lives and workplaces. When they are put in an executive position, they also hold their employees to high standards. Hence, a Gen-Y manager will ensure that the ship always runs smoothly and efficiently.
But even though they might be strict regarding work, managers from this generation understand that employees need to achieve a good work-life balance to flourish in the workplace. Therefore, they stick up for flexibility and go out of their way to accommodate their workers’ needs.
Since they have different perspectives on the world and are aware of its current cultural climate, they fight to create inclusive workplaces where people from different walks of life will have a positive employee experience, whose ideas will be heard, and who will gain support to advance in their careers.
Their different worldview, which offers a fresh perspective, can be an asset depending on the structure of the workforce. Younger employees tend to respond better to younger managers who share their values, beliefs, and opinions.
However, in companies whose workforce is older, generational gaps between management and the staff might be a downfall. Older generations have different expectations of their leaders, and they might think a young one lacks the experience to fill the shoes of the role.
Consequently, when the staff doesn’t feel their manager is competent enough, there’s likely to be a lack of trust, which is necessary to build a strong team and achieve success.
Millennial Managers & Company Culture
Millennials are transforming companies’ cultures for the most part.
At the core of this change comes their aim to create a culture that fosters transparency, feedback, and purpose.
Due to globalization and digitalization changing workplaces, employees, especially those from Generation Y, now want more than promises. They want to be kept in the loop about their organizations’ strategies and processes.
A recent study by The Org found that 74% of Millennials expect their companies to be more transparent, and 84% stated they would be more loyal to a company that values openness. The most vital facets for them are a company’s values and culture (37%), which is why Millennial managers strive to embrace transparency.
This need for transparency echoes their generational desire to receive and provide more feedback. But as leaders, they don’t give just any kind of feedback. What they put forth is open communication that doesn’t only focus on what the worker is doing wrong or right, but also lets them know how they can improve.
They believe meaningful feedback can significantly boost productivity and performance, while also empowering employees to find their purpose.
Building a purpose-driven workplace is another alteration of a company’s culture that comes with millennial management. This shift comes from young workers yearning to have purposeful work.
In fact, according to Deloitte’s paper, The millennial majority is transforming your culture, more than 66% of Gen-Ys chose to work in a company because of its purpose, and only one in five working in a company that doesn’t align with their values is satisfied with their job.
These company culture millennial developments show that they are making headway for new trends in leadership.
Trends in Millennial Leadership
Given that Gen-Ys are stepping even more into managerial positions, with 16% having climbed up in a C-suite role, as GetSmarter’s report found, they inevitably bring around new trends.
One of the most present trends they are putting forward is flexibility above all. For them, flexibility is larger than simply offering better flexible benefits or a hybrid work model. Rather, their open, fluid, and flexible leadership style aims to create a workplace unburdened by management structures.
They focus on creating meaningful relationships with and among their employees, developing a team culture that encourages collaboration and creativity.
As many as 63% of this generation’s managers want to be “transformational” leaders, according to The Millennial Leadership Study. This indicates they are not interested in becoming CEOs and creating a legacy. In fact, the same study found that their primary motivator for becoming leaders is to empower others.
Apart from empowering their team, growing up in the gig economy, younger-generation managers are increasing the trend of hiring external contractors for specific tasks. Namely, GetSmarter’s report shows that 23% of young managers are hiring giggers to accommodate skill gaps within the organization.
Millennials & the Future of Work
According to Deloitte’s projections from 2014, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
Therefore, the millennial work culture will become the norm for the future of work.
Hybrid and flexible working arrangements are here to stay. Direct and frequent feedback, as well as performance reviews, are becoming a staple of employee engagement.
With these changes and many more, Millennials are slowly tearing down the corporate firewall and giving it a bad reputation, completely changing the future of work according to their standards.
Despite their generation’s ill repute, companies considering hiring Millennials for their executive teams have much to gain.
Since it’s Generation Y who is changing the business landscape and the labor market, having a leader from the same generation can help organizations attract and retain top talent.
- Changing Expectations: What Millennials Now Look For in a Career
- What employees expect in 2021
- What’s Your Workplace Language? How Millennials Are Reshaping Office Culture
- Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation
- The Top Industries Gaining and Losing Millennials, According to LinkedIn Data
- Pros and Cons of Having Millennials As Managers
- Millennial Managers Can Change Company Culture for the Better
- Why You Should Consider Hiring Millennials For Your Executive Team
- 5 Things to Consider When Hiring Millennials
- What Does Modern Leadership Really Mean?