Canadian Rental Service

Kids these days

By Canadian Rental Magazine   

Features Business Intelligence

Much is made of the difference in attitude toward jobs and careers that exists between Millennials (21- to 30-year-olds) and older groups in the workforce (Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers).

Millennials are often shocked at the lack of training they receive on a new job. Companies that buck this trend could see retention climb. Much is made of the difference in attitude toward jobs and careers that exists between Millennials (21- to 30-year-olds) and older groups in the workforce (Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers).

But with Millennials set to make up half the Canadian labour force by 2020, your business needs to find a way to attract and retain these workers. Here’s some expert research and opinion on the subject, taken from, an online human resources site.

Hungry for training
by Mindflash
For many Millennials, the biggest shocker about the “real world” is the lack of training available at work.

The “lack of company support for training and development” was cited as the number one most surprising aspect of work in the “real world,” according to a national Millennial Mindset Study from Mindflash. This reality likely contributed to the fact that nearly nine in 10 Millennials (88 per cent) are willing to invest personally or sacrifice anything from vacations to coffee habits to train themselves in the skills needed to compete in today’s workforce.

Many Millennials are already putting this commitment into action. One in three (31 per cent) report that while it is tough to keep up with the skills they need to do their jobs, they seek out training on their own to address this challenge. Meanwhile, only 20 per cent indicated that while it is hard to keep up with the needed job skills, their employers equip them with necessary training opportunities.


“We at Mindflash felt it was critical to hear directly from these young employees about their work attitudes and experiences – especially so we better understand how to collaborate with, develop and manage this growing corps,” said Donna Wells, CEO of Mindflash. “Perhaps against conventional stereotypes, the majority of Millennials are shocked by the lack of skills development available in the workplace today, and is committed to taking matters in their own hands. This should be a signal for companies that both online training and traditional live training will be a critical component of harnessing the potential of these young professionals, especially with graduation season upon us.”

This is likely why the number one piece of advice Millennials have for the graduating class of 2015 is: “Invest in your own skills training to make you as marketable as possible” (cited by 40 per cent of Millennials).

This beat out other advice such as “be proactive” (28 per cent), “go in guns blazing” (six per cent) and “start your own company” (four per cent).

Despite the fact that more than half of Millennials (57 per cent) report they have managed or currently manage at least one person, there are areas where they want and need help.

When it comes to assessing their own skills gaps, project management (25 per cent) emerged as the top leadership skill that Millennials want to develop, followed by interpersonal communication (21 per cent) and problem solving (20 per cent).

So while they recognize there is room for improvement, Millennials are also aware that negative stereotypes exist around them. More than one-quarter, 26 per cent, said the biggest misconception is that “we don’t know how to communicate because we spend too much time with technology,” followed closely by “we’re overconfident and self-centered” and “we don’t want any guidance, training or input.”

One area where Millennials strongly assert they thrive in managerial roles specifically, however, is in bringing fresh thinking (26 per cent) and open-mindedness (31 per cent) to the workplace, rating these attributes over technological savvy as the chief benefits of having Millennials in manager roles.

Perhaps the self-reported spirit of fresh thinking is in dire need. When asked which TV show relates most to their work life, more than one-third of Millennials chose “The Office” since it’s “a bit on the ordinary side.”

Though they are surprised by the lack of employer-led development opportunities and are cautioning their successors to be prepared to fend for themselves when it comes to learning, Millennial employees are only willing to go so far for their own training and development. In fact, when asked which non-monetary benefit would make them most loyal to their employers, almost half (49 per cent) reported employee perks are the way to their hearts. Another 26 per cent chose “invest in my career by training me.”

Additionally, when asked if they could be trained in anything free of charge, the largest majority (46 per cent) opted for free physical fitness training over complimentary career development or job growth.

The survey polled 1,200 employed Millennials in the United States between March 31 and April 2. In order to qualify for the survey, respondents had to be between that ages of 18 and 33, and employed full-time or part-time.

Innovation attracts talent
by Universum
Millennials are seeking purpose and innovation in their work, and the world’s most attractive employers are delivering exactly that.

More than 240,000 business and engineering students in the world’s 12 largest economies responded to this year’s Universum Talent Survey, ranking the companies they find most desirable for employment.

The survey found that Millennials want to truly understand a company’s purpose, align with it and work with others to propel the organization’s performance. And they want to be inspired, not overwhelmed, by employer messages. Storytelling is critical: Millennials want to learn about employees who embody the organization’s values and communicate authentic stories about their working life.

Millennials’ greatest fear is to be stuck without the opportunity for professional growth and development. Professional services firms like PwC and EY continue to pull the highest rankings in this regard; other industries would be wise to benchmark how this sector nurtures employees through training and mentoring.

“The 2015 [World’s Most Attractive Employers] confirms that Millennials will go to work for companies whose stories they can tell, whose values they can espouse and whose businesses they can learn,” says Petter Nylander, CEO of Universum. “Students are seeking platforms for their own performance and growth. And they told us which companies are accomplishing this.”

There was little movement in the top five employers among business students since last year’s rankings. Google once again claimed the top spot, followed by PwC, EY, Goldman Sachs, and KPMG.

The top-ranking companies among engineering students are Google, Microsoft, Apple, BMW Group, and General Electric.

Millennials are highly attracted to entrepreneurial energy in the workplace. They want to work in innovative settings, unencumbered by infrastructure, while still delivering strong financial results. Consequently, the tech industry generally attracts this kind of talent.

And how did other industries fare? The energy sector took a hit with all employers losing in the rankings, while the fast-moving consumer goods industry experienced a positive upswing.

The World’s Most Attractive Employers rankings are compiled from the Universum Talent Surveys, conducted in Canada, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States. These markets represent 69 per cent of the world’s economy. The field period for the data collection was from September 2014 to April 2015.

Looking different
by Indeed
New research shows how the generational differences in today’s workforce also extend to the job search.

The Indeed Hiring Lab, a global research institute committed to advancing the knowledge of human resource and talent management professionals worldwide, analyzed current and future labour trends to uncover the key differences and similarities in job search behaviour between Baby Boomers (aged 51 to 70), Gen Xers (aged 31 to 50) and Millennials (aged 21 to 30) in the United States.

While the workforce is currently divided almost evenly between the three generations, by 2020, as Baby Boomers set out for retirement, Millennials are projected to make up almost half of the workforce. The talent gaps left by these Baby Boomers open up numerous opportunities for Millennials in key industries, such as health care.

“Looking at how these generations search for jobs, we’ve uncovered some unique characteristics but also surprising similarities in their approach,” said Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed. “Most notably, we found that job seekers at every age respond to labour market conditions, searching more in occupations and locations where there are many jobs. And with unemployment down and confidence high for the first time in many years, employers are finding it more important than ever to attract and retain the right talent and are adapting rapidly to these changing conditions.”

Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers all search more often in occupations and locations where there are many job postings. However, Millennials are slightly less responsive to the labour market than older generations, due to their lack of experience and familiarity with market conditions.

Millennials’ share of clicks in urban areas is much higher than the U.S. average, with Boston and New York as top destinations. Gen Xers are attracted to established tech hubs like Seattle, or high-populated health care areas like Charlotte, N.C.

Mobile is one point of intersection for job seekers from all three generations. Not surprisingly, younger generations overwhelmingly prefer mobile job search — 73.4 per cent of Millennials click on jobs from a mobile device and 71.3 pr cent of Gen Xers do the same. Baby Boomers are somewhat further behind at 48.4 per cent.

In addition to research revealing the behaviours and preferences of job seekers of all ages, the Indeed Hiring Lab conducted client interviews for employer perspectives on hiring across the three generations.

In a conversation with Jocelyn Lincoln, vice-president for Americas recruiting with Kelly Services, she commented, “The biggest discussions we’re having are around flexible and remote work, and this is a change that affects all generations. This has a lot to do with the portability of much of today’s work.”

“While we’ve found that younger segments are more adept at technological advances in the application process, we also know that for most of our workforce, people are basically on the same page in how they approach their job search,” said Aaron Kraljev, vice-president for employer marketing with Wells Fargo. “It’s part of how anyone looks for a job now.”

Perspective on priorities
by Randstad Canada
Job creation, health care and gender equality top the list of must-haves for Canada’s newest entrants in the workforce.

A new study conducted by Randstad Canada in collaboration with Ipsos Reid polled young adults from generations Y (ages 21 to 34) and Z (ages 16 to 20) found that social responsibility, gender equality and benefits are all important to these younger generations of workers.

When it comes to giving back, eight in 10 young adults (82 per cent) say that it is important that their employer do so, but it is the “how” that reveals the most interesting results. Creating new jobs locally (31 per cent) was cited as the most impactful way for their current or future employer to support the community – ranking more than twice as important as charitable giving or environmental responsibility.

Gender equality topped the list of expectations when it comes to fostering diversity, with nine in 10 emphasizing its importance. And it’s official – loyal workers are a thing of the past. Both Gen Y and Gen Z identified loyalty as a trait least likely to be associated with their generation.

“While they may share some similar traits – both generations are collaborative, tech-savvy and socially engaged – we can’t assume both Gen Y and Gen Z workers have the same motivations, work styles or even goals. They come from different historical and social backgrounds. That impacts their view of the world and of organizations. In today’s diversified employment market, it is important for employers to understand what motivates and inspires both Gen Y and Gen Z. By knowing what drives this emerging group of workers, organizations can shape their talent attraction strategies and position themselves as an employer of choice,’’ said Faith Tull, senior vice-president of human resources with Randstad Canada.

Giving back to the community isn’t the only expectation that young adults expect of their employer. There are also a range of benefits that they want from their employer:

  • Health insurance, with one in three (32 per cent) saying this is the most important employee benefit they expect,
  • Work flexibility, such as four-day weeks, compressed schedule, telework, etc. (29 per cent),
  • Training and development (17 per cent),
  • Individual performance bonuses (10 per cent),
  • A stock purchase plan and profit sharing program (four per cent),
  • Tuition reimbursement assistance (four per cent).

Interestingly, health insurance is more important for Gen Y (36 per cent) than Gen Z (27 per cent), and considerably more for women (40 per cent) than men (23 per cent). Gen Z places more importance on training and evelopment (21 per cent) than Gen Y (14 per cent).

Growing up in the internet age and amidst rapid high-tech advancement, technology plays a key part in the life of both Gen Y and Gen Z Canadians, including facilitating their work. Four in 10 (38 per cent) say that technology can best support them in their current or future job by allowing them to get answers to questions faster, while one in four (24 per cent) say it can help develop skills. Others say technology can best assist with helping workers collaborate on projects more effectively (20 per cent), enhancing personal relationships with co-workers (11 per cent) and giving workers a channel to express themselves.

As attached as they are to their smartphones, tablets and other devices, a surprising 45 per cent of young people believe the most effective way to communicate is in-person. Others say the best way is:

  • Through email (26 per cent),
  • Phone (11 per cent),
  • Instant messaging (nine per cent),
  • Social networking (eight per cent)
  • Video conferencing (two per cent).

Gen Y particularly favours email compared to Gen Z (31 per cent versus 20 per cent). While one would assume Gen Z would prefer instant messaging over any other method, they are actually more interested in face-to-face communications (47 per cent) than Gen Y (43 per cent). While not strongly favoured, Gen Z is more apt to use instant messaging (11 per cent versus eight per cent) or social networking (10 per cent vs. six per cent) as a method of communicating at work.

Whether it’s traditional – like television and radio – or digital – like video streaming or Twitter – young adults in Canada have grown up in an age of communication. It’s no surprise that four in 10, or 41 per cent of young people, say the most important quality of a leader is the ability to communicate, well ahead of honesty (19 per cent), confidence (12 per cent), commitment (10 per cent), vision (10 per cent), or patience (eight per cent).

However, young adults in Canada are more mixed about how they want their boss to engage with them in order to produce their best work.

  • Three in ten (30 per cent) say they’d want their manager to listen to their ideas and value their opinions,
  • A similar proportion (29 per cent) would like their manager to mentor them and give feedback regularly. This is more important for Gen Z (34 per cent) than Gen Y (26 per cent),
  • One in five (20 per cent) want their manager to allow them to work independently. This is more important for Gen Y (24 per cent) than Gen Z (14 per cent).
  • Just four per cent would most want their manager to use an online community to facilitate collaboration.

“It can be worrisome for employers to hear young generations described as disloyal, lazy and easily distracted. Employers who effectively meet their desire to be heard and actively involved will have the edge in keeping Gen Y and Gen Z engaged and eager to return to work each day. By making a few adjustments or enhancements to their organizational planning, employers will have these bright, young people bringing their skills, creativity and energy to their organization,’’ said Tull.

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