There are so many articles out there about millennials and how we are spoiled, inconsistent, and blah, blah, blah. Yes, we are those things, but we didn’t get that way by accident.
We’re used to getting everything we want, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that millennials want to have their cake and to eat it too when it comes to choosing a company to work for. Compensation and company perks are now being valued equally to many millennials. Consider 25-year-old Talia Jane, who wrote a now viral open letter to the CEO of her company, Yelp. Not only is she financing her unemployment through a Paypal link she added to her post after getting fired, but she literally has her cake and is eating it too.
Older millennials, who graduated at a time where the economy was the worst we had seen in a very long time, took jobs in any field and industry just to get into the workforce. They took low-paying jobs and even internships just for the experience. Now that the economy is steady and the unemployment rate is the lowest we’ve seen since the 90s, this first wave of millennials are more focused on compensation when job searching, either to pay off debt or for the freedom to stop eating five-for-a-dollar Ramen noodles for dinner every night.
Younger millennials, and the ones who went to grad school just to avoid having to pay student loans in a down economy, are looking for “fun” companies. The ones whose recruiting efforts focus on perks like catered lunches, tree fort workstations, ping-pong tables, gyms or gym memberships, in-house laundry service, happy hours with open bars and a full d.j. setup… you get the picture. Companies targeting millennials are getting more creative with the perks they offer by the day—and we’re listening.
Since millennials are so used to getting participation awards, we are greedy enough to know that if we want a ping pong table at work we can ask and we will more than likely get it. Can you blame us for being high maintenance? Millennials now make up the majority of the workforce. If companies want to keep us around, they have to make us happy. Currently, millennials are 35% of the workforce. By 2020 (just four years from now), they’ll be 46% of the working population.
It might sound self-centered, but the reality is that if one company doesn’t offer it, there is another one out there who does and we will take our talents elsewhere. And we have a good chance of finding a company who will give us what we want.
But just as much as the companies are willing to offer all these perks, they must see a return on their investment. Companies are looking for the top candidates, those who offer innovative ways to get jobs done, ideas for programs, apps, products—every company wants to be the one with the next big idea. Job seekers, millennials in particular, absolutely have to bring it (or risk losing those perks when they don’t live up to their own hype).
The stakes are higher now than they have ever been. Companies want high caliber talent and millennial job seekers want a cake to have and another to eat. Millennials may have gotten participation trophies in junior kickball league, but it hasn’t affected their work ethic. Somewhere among us, there is another Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs waiting for the opportunity to pave the way for the next generation.
With every passing day, job market demand expands and the supply shrinks. If you don’t start revamping your policies, offices, perks and benefits, the millennial supply side of job seekers are just going to move on to the company that gives out the trophies for participation (along with breakfast tacos, liberal paid time off and flex time policies, and hoverboards). We’ll bring our “A” game if you do.
In short, If millennials work better when they have scooters in the office, companies: GIVE THEM THE DAMN SCOOTERS!