The inner workings of the Millennial and Gen Z generations are the code that businesses pay millions of money per year to figure out. Embracing the quirks of the next gen is the key to your business thriving- from retaining employees, to profit, career rules are being rewritten everyday. What a scary, brave, new world to be alive in.
Rule 1: Don’t Catch Feels
Feeling unsure of your current career path or planning to move on soon? You’re not alone. A Deloitte study showed that 43% of millennials and 61% of Gen Zs would leave or are planning to leave their jobs in the next 2 years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average Millennial will have 6 -7 jobs by the time they are 26. Deloitte calls this ‘disloyalty’, but it’s not that we are ‘flaky’ (we prefer the term ‘dynamic’ thanks).
WHY: Millennials are less likely to stick to a company due to an increasing distrust in business ethics and social consciousness and a need for greater flexibility and diversity in our jobs. We work hard (contrary to popular belief), but we expect our employers to reward us accordingly and hold them up to a higher standard when it comes to investing in employee growth and development. Businesses are being forced to address the above, with Millennials expected to make up to 75% of the work force and have increasingly large buying power in the economy.
‘78% of recruiters find candidates via recommendation’
Rule 2: #SquadGoals
A rising trend in the job market is recommendation and ‘office culture fit’ over qualification. A 2015 survey by the Recruiter Nation reports that 78% of recruiters find candidates via recommendation. Safe to say that this statistic has only risen in 2018. Further, 34% of recruiters are looking for mutual connections, proving that your tribe really should be a vibe.
WHY: While ‘office culture’ can be exclusionary in itself, the reason for this new focus is to ensure a pleasant work environment- something that is more important to the next gen than it was for previous generations. Bosses report that relying on recommendations takes the guesswork out of the hiring equation (where the job market is highly competitive; ie more applicants per job) and is a deciding factor between two applicants with the same qualifications and backgrounds.This is reflected with more companies offering incentives for referrals.
‘57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online’
Rule 3: Follow Me!
And with social media becoming perhaps the most important and relevant marketing and networking tool, more now than ever is there a focus on brand YOU. The same survey reports that 56% of recruiters find candidates via social networks (87 percent are using Linkedin, 55 percent are using Facebook, and 47 percent are using Twitter). A new CareerBuilder survey reflects just how important your online presence is in 2018: 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. And if you aren’t online at all, don’t think you’ve been saved: eye-openingly, 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that 54% ‘have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles’. But conversely, if your Insta game is up to snuff, it increases your chances of getting hired with more than 44% of employers saying that content on a social networking site ‘caused them to hire the candidate’.
WHY: It’s the digital age, baby. Employers find it easier to market and recruit online, just like we find it easier to find jobs via Gumtree or LinkedIn than to trawl the newspapers.
Rule 4: Dress Code
And while we’re talking about brand YOU, the next gen are rewriting exactly what ‘dress for success’ means. The key word these days is ‘smart casual’.
Dressing for the job you want is still important, but it used to mean tailored and professional. Now with the job game as ever-changing as ever and with the rise of creative industries, success means more than a well-paying, bank job and you’re more likely to catch a Gen Z-er studying marketing than accounting. Dressing to fit the job description has expanded to include your personal style and if your style reflects your industry you are more likely to be a good ‘fit’ (see Rule 2). It’s a whole new, individual-oriented, as opposed to uniform dressing game.
WHY: Inc reports that a recent OfficeTeam survey backs this up: 56% of employees said they ‘prefer more relaxed dress codes’. This could also be down to Millennials leaning towards freelancing (ie working for ourselves) as opposed to companies. Our tolerance for beards, tattoos and piercings are changing as well. ‘More casual dress codes seem to be the trend when economic times are good and it’s [currently] an employee-driven market.’
‘A next gen trend is diversifying skills by exploring more than one career path’
Rule 5: Started From the Middle
Now we’re… still somewhere in between. Millennials have more or less shunned the traditional workforce structure, and the next thing to go out the window is the idea of a straight career path or career ladder. Credit Suisse says an increasing next gen trend is diversifying skills by exploring more than one career path. This is no surprise as experience seems to be above providing experience, so it’s more important now for us to diversify our experience than ever.
Ryan Jenkins predicts for Talent Economy that ‘millennial employees will move up or move on with greater frequency than previous generations.’
WHY: Because of job atomization (the assigning of more specific roles in companies providing new career paths and titles), job offerings are becoming more versatile and millennials are refusing to be boxed into one role.
….And 3 Next Gen Career Lessons
1 Have Patience
Managers advise millennials in a survey by the Man Power Group to ‘Prioritize an upward path over a perfect fit’, and it’s a lesson we can all remember. It’s more important to focus on the skills the job you’re doing can give you and benefit you in the long term than to focus on climbing up the ladder (which ICYMI doesn’t exist anymore anyway).
2 Soften Up
They recommend we work more on ‘soft skills’- this relates to interpersonal skills and creativity. These are indeed more likely what will get you the job and help you keep it.
3 Follow Your Gut
Huffington post laments that your greatest asset is YOU, saying that companies ‘need [Millennials’] creativity, affinity for technology and futuristic mentality. Despite a tough job market, they are not afraid to leave a current employer and embark on their own.’
Words: Zoya Pon
Images: Marianne Taylor