PreparedU: The Millennial Mind Goes to Work


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For more information go to: They're about to be the largest workforce in US history, but are they ready for the 21st century workplace? And is it ready for them? In our ongoing PreparedU Project, Bentley university looks into the mind of the millennial to find inspiration and opportunity.

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PreparedU: The Millennial Mind Goes to Work

  1. 1. The Millennial Mind Goes to Work How Millennial Preferences will Shape the Future of the Modern Workplace A Bentley University-commissioned survey October 2014 1
  2. 2. 1995 2005 2015 2035 By 2025, millennials will make up almost 75 percent of the global workforce. By the end of 2014 alone, one of every three employees in the U.S. will be a millennial. While millennials are often stereotyped as “lazy,” “entitled,” or having a “poor work ethic,” the fact remains that millennials are tomorrow’s workforce and an increasingly important part of today’s workforce as well. So what can we do to make sure millennials enter the workforce with the skills necessary for success? In January 2014, Bentley University created The PreparedU Project to spur a national dialogue and uncover solutions to the skills gap. 2025 We partnered with KRC Research to conduct the Millennial Preparedness Study, which looked at what corporate recruiters, business executives, parents, higher education leaders and millennials themselves think about the preparedness gap that young people face in today’s workplace. The findings were intriguing and made us want to dig deeper into the millennial mind. We teamed up with Equa-tion Research to ask 1,031 millennials, ages 18 to 34, what they think about their own preparedness for professional life and what they want out of their career. Overview Here is what we found. | | #PreparedU SHARE: 1
  3. 3. The 7 Big Takeaways 1 3 5 Millennials are reinforcing their own stereotype. 50% of millennials say the main reason people their age are unprepared for their first job is a poor work ethic. “Idk” about texting. 51% of millennials say they would rather communicate with a colleague in person. The typical 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t work for all millennials. 77% say flexible hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age. Millennials may be more respon-sible than we think. When choos-ing between two otherwise equal jobs, 96% say great healthcare benefits would be the most important factor in their decision. Some corporations hesitate to invest in employee development because they think millennials lack loyalty and won’t stay long. But 80% of millennials believe they’ll work for four or fewer companies in their career. Millennials are mixed on “doing well by doing good.” While saying it’s important to work for a company they deem ethical, particularly in the clients it takes on, they still have a strong desire for regular salary increases. 79% expect a pay raise every year. 7 Millennials view career success differently than their parents do. Rather than striving for the CEO spot, 66% of millennials would like to start their own business and 37% want to work on their own. | | #PreparedU SHARE: 2
  4. 4. LET’s TALK... IN PERSON Older generations think millennials favor text, IM and social media, but more than half of millennials say they prefer to communicate with colleagues by talking in person. | | #PreparedU Millennial Communication Preferences at work 51% Talk in person 7% Gchat or other 9% Phone call 14% Text 19% Email MEN & WOMEN It’s no secret that men and women communicate differently. But how each gender prefers to communicate at work may surprise you. Men are more likely to prefer speaking to a colleague in person (56%) than women (48%), while women tend to rely more on email for communication (23%) than men do (13%). SHARE: 3
  5. 5. WHAT IT MEANS Ian Cross, director of Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technolo-gy, says that while overall millennials prefer to communicate in person in the workplace, it depends on what the conversation is about. Particularly at the beginning of their career, millenni-als need more validation than previous generations. They like praise, and they want clear direction as to what a manager may be asking of them, which explains their desire to speak to a colleague in person. Even so, says Cross, don’t be surprised to find millennials communicating with friends by text, which is still their primary vehicle for social interacting. Aaron Nurick, a professor of management and psychology at Bentley, says millennials yearn for more personal communica-tion and real relationships, in part because these opportunities have become so rare for their generation. | | #PreparedU SHARE: 4
  6. 6. THE END OF “9 to 5” Millennials prefer a more flexible work schedule, with 77% saying flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age. Some companies are already doing this well. Still, 31% percent of millennials do worry that their desire for workplace flexibility is often mistaken for a poor work ethic. Which Would Increase Productivity? Flexible work hours More remote working More breaks during the work day Fewer meetings The Always-on Generation Millennials’ flexibility routinely finds them checking email after 5:00 p.m. With 80% of millennials owning a smartphone, the great majority (89%) of this always-on generation admits to regularly checking work email after work hours, while 37% say they always do. So who has a poor work ethic now? ? | | #PreparedU SHARE: 5
  7. 7. WHAT IT MEANS While it’s no surprise that millennials want more flexible work schedules, could this be part of a greater cultural shift toward better work-life balance? According to Aaron Nurick, a pro-fessor of management and psychology at Bentley, people have been pushing for workplace flexibility since the 1970s and mod-ern companies like Google have been moving in this direction for quite some time. It’s typical that any younger generation is on the edge of cultural trends, Nurick says. But with millennials now entering the workforce in greater numbers, more companies are moving these trends forward. However, a company’s client base always comes first. It will be client needs that ultimately determine whether flexible work schedules become a reality. Of course, new mobile communication technologies enable us to work from anywhere at any time of day. “People worry that if they don’t check email outside of work, they will miss some-thing,” says Nurick. “But this leads to a bigger question about our society: Are we creating a culture of workaholics? And is this the standard we are using to define work ethic?” | | #PreparedU SHARE: 6
  8. 8. Millennial Must-Haves: A Good Salary, Flexible SchedulE and... gREAT healthcare benefits? Today’s millennials are a practical bunch. In addition to flexible work hours and frequent salary increases, a huge majority of millennials (96%) cite healthcare benefits as a key factor in deciding between two otherwise equal jobs. Important Factors If Choosing between Two Equal Jobs Flexible work hours Great healthcare benefits Frequent salary increases A fun and social office environment Rapid promotions Ability to work from home My own office Free gym membership / on-site gym | | #PreparedU SHARE: 7
  9. 9. WHAT IT MEANS With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, young adults are able to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. So why do so many millennials rank healthcare benefits among their most important job requirements? Susan Adams, a management professor at Bentley, points out that millennials grew up in tumultuous times. They were children during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the time of war that ensued and the Great Recession of 2008. “This is a group of survivors and they are looking for security in this insecure world wherever they can,” Adams says. “In this respect, having great health benefits is appealing to them.” Len Morrison, director of undergraduate career services at Bentley, said the healthcare crisis has been in the news for as long as millennials can remember. “Healthcare costs are escalating na-tionally | | #PreparedU — it is in the news every day — and this generation is at an age where they are beginning to see how these costs are affecting their parents and grandparents,” says Morrison. “This is likely an important influence on how they weigh their own job benefits.” SHARE: 8
  10. 10. Are Millennials the Job-Hopping Generation? Millennials are thought to be “job hoppers” but they may be more loyal than we think. When asked how many companies they expect to work for in their career, 80% of millennials believe they’ll work for four or fewer companies in their lifetime. When it comes to their current job, 36% of millennials expect to stay 3 to 5 years. And a surprisingly high number — 16% — think they’ll stay in their current job for the rest of their career. (Females and older millennials aged 26 to 34 expect to stay longer in their current job than males and younger millennials aged 18 to 25, our research found.) Expected Tenure in Current Job Less than a year Between 1-2 years 3-5 years 6-10 years 11-20 years For my career | | #PreparedU SHARE: 9
  11. 11. WHAT IT MEANS The employment landscape is much different from 20 or 30 years ago and loyalty has changed among employees and em-ployers alike, says Susan Brennan, executive director of Bent-ley’s University Career Services and Corporate Relations. Since companies don’t offer the kind of incentives they once did and pensions are all but unheard of, the financial benefits of moving to a different company are greater today. So while millennials don’t intend to jump from job to job, changing companies often benefits their career in today’s marketplace. “Millennials intend to be loyal to employers but they are ulti- mately looking out for themselves,” says Brennan. “They are seeking companies where they can learn and grow, move up the ladder and increase their compensation. Growing up in a world of technology and instant gratification, they are inter-ested | | #PreparedU in putting in extra effort, but only if they can clearly see the benefits. If they do not see these benefits in their current company, they will look elsewhere.” SHARE: 10
  12. 12. Money Morals Millennials have mixed desires when it comes to what they expect from a job. While 95% say a company’s ethics are very important, they also have big expectations for financial compensation. In fact, 79% expect a salary increase every year. And 77% value a pay raise over a promotion. They want to “do well while doing good.” | | #PreparedU ARE YOU ENTITLED TO A YEARLY SALARY INCREASE? VALUE SALARY INCREASE OR PROMOTION MORE? vs. YES NO 79% 21% 77% 23% SALARY INCREASE PROMOTION SHARE: 11
  13. 13. WHAT IT MEANS Susan Adams, a management professor at Bentley, says millennials don’t view these desires as conflicting. Millenni-als see an ethical company as one that will take care of the environment, its community and its employees. Millennials want to work somewhere where they feel valued and they believe this recognition of value should come through pay raises. “While millennials do prefer to work for a company that represents a product or customer base they believe in,” Adams says, “many millennials are entering the workforce with a lot of debt, so their ultimate goal is to survive and thrive within the system while still making a difference.” Jessica Sackett, a senior at Bentley, said companies are starting to realize this. As she and her peers have looked for jobs, they’ve noticed many companies touting their ethical practices to compete for millennials who care about more than a paycheck. “After learning about cases like Enron and the fall of many of the big financial institutions,” Sackett says, “millennials are looking for employers that not only do good for the company and the bottom line, but also do good for their clients and their employees.” | | #PreparedU SHARE: 12
  14. 14. For Today’s Millennial, Ambition doesn’t Lead to the Corner Office Are millennials ambitious? You bet. But success doesn’t always mean climbing the corporate ladder. Two-thirds (66%) of millennials are interested in starting their own business and 37% would like to work on their own. A much smaller number — only 13% — said they’d like to be a CEO or company president. Men & Women Compared with their female peers, men reported more interest in starting their own business (71% vs. 62% women) and were more likely to want to be a chief executive or company president (17% vs. 9% women). | | #PreparedU CARER GOALS 66% 37% 25% 13% START MY OWNBUSINESS WORK ON MY OWN OWN MY OWN COMPANY BE A CHIEF EXECUTIVE OR COMPANY PRESIDENT SHARE: 13
  15. 15. WHAT IT MEANS Why are millennials so interested in striking out on their own? Fred Tuffile, Bentley’s director of Entrepreneurial Studies, says the answer’s simple: Just look at corporate America. “Millennials see chaos, distrust of management, breaking of contracts and bad news associated with business,” Tuffile says. “They’ve watched their relatives get fired and their peers sit in cubicles and they think, ‘There has to be a better way.’” From Facebook to Tesla, millennials have plenty of positive entrepreneurial role models to look up to. “While they know their chances of creating another Facebook are low,” said Tuffile, “they do think it’s fairly easy to create a cool startup.” And easy it is. Today, the cost of starting a business is lower than ever, private equity capital is readily available and the consequences of failure are less significant. “Millennials are realizing that starting a company, even if it crashes and burns, teaches them more in two years than sitting in a cubicle for 20 years,” Tuffile says. Krassi Popov, a senior at Bentley who founded a mobile phone charger startup called Veloxity, says being able to live with their parents longer and stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 gives young people today a safety net that makes them comfort-able | | #PreparedU taking risks. “Millennials have a certain level of confidence that enables them to take these risks,” says Popov, a native of Bulgaria. “This is especially true in the United States, where young people think they are special because they are told that they are. People who think they are special don’t want to sit in front of a computer from 9 to 5 doing cubicle work. That is not exciting.” SHARE: 14
  16. 16. Who says millennials have a poor work ethic? THEY DO! Older workers aren’t alone in faulting the millennial work ethic. 35% of millennials say people their age are unprepared for their first job; the main reason they cite is a poor work ethic. What would make millennials more productive? 66% of millennials think employers should limit social media usage to make workers more productive. Ways in Which Millennials are Unprepared for Their First Job 35% 32% 30% Not confident Can’t speak well to a group Not good decision-makers 29% 28% 25% Can’t work well on a team Lack relevant internship experience Don’t write well 19% 9% Not risk takers Not up to speed on the latest technology What do corporate recruiters and business executives say? 54% of corporate recruiters and 59% of business decision-makers give recent college grads a “C” on preparedness for their first jobs. (Source: KRC Research) ? Poor work ethic 47% 38% Poor time management skills Not well-organized 50% | | #PreparedU SHARE: 15
  17. 17. WHAT IT MEANS Where does this perception of a poor millennial work ethic come from? According to Leslie Doolittle, assistant dean and director of academic support services at Bentley, it stems from a differ-ence in how millennials and older generations view “work.” “While older generations think of their job as a large part of who they are, millennials see work as a piece of their life but not everything,” says Doolittle. “In other words, work doesn’t define them. Family, friends and making a difference in their community are much more central to them than previous generations.” As a result, millennials seek to have more work-life balance. “Frankly,” says Doolittle, “I see this as a healthy adjustment to our world view of work.” | | #PreparedU SHARE: 16
  18. 18. SO WHAT After analyzing the views of more than 1,000 millennials in this Bentley University survey, a clearer picture begins to emerge of millennials’ views on work. Despite a supposed poor work ethic, millennials at their core are a passionate, responsible group. They crave personal commu-nication, believe in work-life balance and value praise. They are serious about succeeding in their chosen career and loyal if rewarded fairly by their employ-ers. Millennials are ambitious and entrepreneurial, our survey found, and be-lieve in ethical business practices. All of these characteristics give reason for optimism about this highly scruti-nized and much talked about generation. “This is a group that really believes in community and really wants to make a difference in the world,” says Leslie Doolittle, Bentley’s assistant dean and director of academic support services. “I don’t believe there has been a gener-ation that is so committed to making an impact since World War II.” So while millennials may bring different work styles and skills to the office, they represent a pivotal shift in culture and behavior that holds great promise for society as a whole. As the millennial generation continues to join the nation’s working ranks and soon comes to dominate them, it is critical for leaders in higher education and business to work together in creating an environment where millennials can thrive and ultimately succeed. The future of our economy depends on it. | | #PreparedU About Bentley University Bentley University is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and custom-ized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doc-toral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB Interna-tional – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit ? SHARE: 17