Skip to main content

What Millennials Really Want


Welcome to the era of the millennial workforce. While this generation has been rising up the ranks, a new report from LinkedIn shows that millennials are projected to fare the best in the job market over the coming years.  


Three-quarters of 2,406 U.S. hiring managers surveyed said they plan to focus recruiting efforts on millennials over the next five years, according to the report. Millennials include those born approximately between the years of 1980s to 1997, which puts them prime into some of their most productive working years.  


The millennial workforce contributions also make sense in the context of their place in the global market. Millennials and Gen Zers make up roughly half the world’s population as 10,000 baby boomers retire each day, reports USA Today.  


So what do millennials want? According to ManpowerGroup research, both women and men want flexible, meaningful and challenging work. They understand they have a career ultramarathon ahead of them and want to achieve balance for the long run. For women, to pursue challenging work, it must come with flexibility. They continue to do most of the emotional labor and unpaid work at home – balancing work around commitments.  


As employers face a continued global skills shortage, millennials share in the following advantages as well as their preferences when seeking to develop their careers.  


Flexibility in work arrangements  

Today’s way of working may not be how tomorrow’s generation operates. According to a ManpowerGroup survey, a growing number of people are opting for alternative models over full-time permanent roles. Part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, independent contractor, on-demand online are all on the rise. This affords businesses the choice, flexibility and alternative ways of working that build resilience for less predictable futures. Younger millennials, in particular, are seeking out gig work.  

Positivity and optimism  

According to ManpowerGroup’s Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report, millennials are remarkably upbeat about their careers. Two-thirds are optimistic about their immediate job prospects. Sixty-two percent are confident that if they lost their main source of income tomorrow they could find equally good or better work within three months. The majority of millennials globally see a promising future and successful careers ahead. They are the can-do, will-do generation.  


Growing into new roles  

Research shows that rather than having one job for life, millennials are focused on continuous skills development. Millennial talent provides organizations with employee traits like learnability and curiosity rather than a narrow set of defined “job skills.” According to Lory Antonucci, M.Ed., GPHR, Executive Talent Management Consultant for ManpowerGroup, while roles may also be actual positions (and someone’s job), they are first and foremost a combination of needed and valued skills, knowledge and outputs. Roles are about adapting to change now and in the future.  


As we enter a new decade, both employers and job seekers will have to adopt new ways of thinking about careers. With both experience and youth on their side, millennials are in a great position to capitalize and make the most of the 2020s –– on their own terms.