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Finding purpose: What do millennials want from work

Posted on 12.10.2016

What do millennials want? More than the baseline of salary and benefits, we want our work to serve a greater purpose and make a difference in the world.

Millennials as a generation are a hot topic and we have been for some time now. Nearly 50% of the workforce, the world can’t help but talk about this demographic group: what we want from work, how we are shaping the world, and what that will mean for businesses and the future. Even at Hanson Search, we’ve blogged about my generation three times in the last few months, from hiring millennials to engaging and retaining them. Born between the early 80s and mid/late 90s, we started building our careers at the start of the new millennium. And in recent years, our perception in the media has been less than kind. We’re often portrayed as lazy and narcissistic, the ‘me’ generation – quite the sweeping generalisation for an entire group of people.

Millennials are lazy: True or false?

However, most of the worst stereotypes about millennials are, unsurprisingly, wrong. Lazy? Millennials were raised in a different world, where technology has enabled us to work differently. Not being anchored to a desk doesn’t equate to laziness, it often means we know how to work smarter. We are also the most educated, though not the most paid, generation to date.

Millennials are job-hoppers: True or false?

Job hoppers? This is a big concern for employers who invest in staff and want to see a return through retention. But millennials are not the first generation to job hop in their twenties. Looking at job tenure figures in America, for instance, people in their 20s today are no different than those in the 1980s. It would seem that job-hopping is more a characteristic of young workers finding their feet, rather than a specific generation.

Millennials are self-absorbed: True or false?

Self-absorbed? Leaving our Instagram feeds aside, millennials are actually very civic-minded. According to Leigh Buchanan, editor-at-large for Inc. magazine, “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70 percent say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.”

Millennials seek a greater sense of purpose in work

According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, almost nine in 10 (87 percent) believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance” and 88% will stay in a job longer if they align with their company’s sense of purpose. And according to research by Adam Henderson on the Millennial Mindset, 100% of millennials interviewed said that “it is important that the company they work for stands for something” and 98% say “a company’s vision and values are important when considering working for them.” Millennials are no longer the leaders of tomorrow. Increasingly, we are the leaders of today. Businesses can’t ignore the direction we are taking them in. There is a new way of thinking. We all must learn to embrace the ‘millennial mindset’ and harness it to drive and shape our businesses and our greater purposes.

How can we help?

We build relationships to support your business and career aspirations. Whether you’re looking to recruit a great team or to find your dream job, our expert consultants can help you along the way. Based in the MENA region? Contact me below for a confidential discussion.

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