Of the generational cohorts, Millennials - those born between 1980 to 2000 --will make up 50% of the world's workforce by 2020. Where Baby Boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- drove so much of the decision-making, leaderships and consumer purchasing factors until now, it is clear there is another key influencer taking over this role, the Millennials or Generation Y.
Company HR departments, recruiting firms, ad agencies and just about any business looking to drive market share and hire rising star talent are bringing their attention to answering the questions: "What do Millennials want?" and "What will attract Millennials?"
It is with these questions in mind that I share the high-level summary of a recent project conducted by Bentley University called PreparedU. The infographic featured as the image in this blog reveals what Bentley's PreparedU project found out about Millennials.
1) There are some misconceptions about how they work and think. It has been generalized that they tend to hide behind technology with a preference for communicating via text or phone. The result? 51% of Millennials prefer to communicate face-to-face and in person. Email at 19% and text at 14% came in a distant second and third.
2) Another generalization that may be falsely anchored was that Millennials are not loyal to employers and would likely have a dozen or more jobs throughout their career. The Bentley survey showed that Millennials are more loyal than was assumed with 16% of respondents indicating that they saw themselves staying with one employer for their entire career and 80% of surveyed Millennials believing they would work for 4 or fewer companies throughout their career.
3) What may have been validated through the Bentley survey is the assumption that many Millennials have a poor work ethnic. Millennials agreed with 55% of respondents saying that they are unprepared for their first job and 66% of them said that the workplace should limit their use of social media to help address their ability to get work done and limit these online distractions.
4) How does the normal workday look for Millennials? According to the survey, the traditional concept of working 9 to 5 is over with 77% of respondents sharing they would be more productive if they were allowed flexible work hours.
So how does preparing for the influx of Millennials impact talent and shape benefit plans in the future?
1) Employers are looking to focus on introducing wellness programs that show their commitment to the mind, body and spirit of their employees. There is more of a focus on fitness reimbursement programs that aren't just for gym memberships, but for other cardio-related activities such as rowing clubs, Frisbee and baseball leagues. What is offered in vending machines and cafeterias is also being given closer examination. Living a healthy lifestyle includes the food choices made readily available to employees.
2) Companies are looking to introduce voluntary benefits with pet insurance and there is more interest in coverage for identity theft and other on-line related employee concerns. Employers are also incorporating coverage for naturopathic medicine and mental health counselling,
Providing benefits that the Millennials actually value and find of interest is a key question. As this generation continues to chance the face of the modern workplace, more pressure will be placed on finding answers that suit their preferences. Being prepared for Millennials means developing strategies to address these questions now before being forced to do so later.
To discuss workforce planning and considerations for your benefits and/or pension plan, please contact us. We stay on top of the trends with a practical awareness that comes from over two decades' industry experience. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
To learn more about this survey and to hear from Millennials on these topics, please watch the YouTube video from the PreparedU site called, "The Millennial Mind Goes to Work."
I’ve written on the topic of the effects of the various generations in the workforce before, but never with a specific focus on the Millennials, also known as Generation Y. This cohort was born between 1980 and 2000 and in today’s terms, their ages range from 15-35. By 2020, nearly 50 percent of all workers will come from this generational cohort.
As the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) retire, the Millennials will take front seat as the dominant workforce player representing the 25-45 year segment of workers who are increasingly stepping into leadership roles.
What we know from research about the Millennials is based on research and cautious generalizations. They are optimistic, achievement-oriented, and comfortable multi-tasking. They grew up with technology and haven’t lived in a world without the Internet. They tend to be comfortable with social media and are hungry to learn and develop their acute sense for social responsibility.
Millennials may be considered the most well educated of the generational cohorts, but with that knowledge comes the burden of post-education debt loans in the $20,000 plus mark. They seek employability, flexibility, and purpose-driven work with socially conscious employers. They also want help from their employer to find ways to manage their debt.
They are comfortable working in teams and the influence of staying connected supports their need to work within a community or network framework. They don’t look for linear progression or hierarchical structure the way the generations before them did, and while pay is important, it is paired with the need for a more balanced focus on work that matters to them, teams that allow them to thrive, and a workplace culture with high engagement levels.
With the war for talent starting to heat up, employers will be looking for ways to attract and retain Millennials. With an eye on the input, throughput and output of workers, employers will be well-served to ensure that retiring Baby Boomers do a good job in transferring knowledge to the up and coming Millennials and share what they know about the path they can carve for themselves based on the role they have today.
Millennials don’t carry the same loyalty to employers and are more willing to make several career moves to suit their needs. This behaviour isn’t as favourable for employers who don’t gain from higher turnover and retention loss. Employers benefit from communicating through social networking channels that Millennials use in their personal life. Messages that establish and reinforce the company’s culture, social responsibility, and development opportunities will be instrumental in retaining Millennials.
Employers can also look to create mentorship arrangements and communities of practice that facilitate knowledge transfer.
These and more suggestions are areas my team and I would be pleased to explore in greater detail with you. Keeping a pulse on the demographic shifts in the workforce not only from a benefits perspective, but from an employee engagement and retention focus is key. We’re here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
A 2013 report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimates that by 2016, Canada will face 1.5 million vacancies for skilled jobs. Yet the Government of Canada debates the issue of an existing skills shortage citing that there is more of a skills mismatch where technology changes render some skills obsolete. The Government does recognize that there are regional and sector specific shortages and that more labour market information is needed to access this data at a granular level. Whether imagined or real, a recent Ipsos Reid survey of more than 2,000 respondents found that 90% of Canadians believe there is a skills shortage and that it will continue to grow.
According to a recent Randstad Canada study, the top five industries for jobs are:
* A study by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (150 of Canada's largest employers) reported that engineers topped the list of workers most difficult to find and retain, followed closely by information technology professionals.
Based on the 2013 Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan, by the year 2020, 600,000 workers will be needed in the following roles -
Experts say that globalization, an aging baby-boom population, and technology changes contribute to this shortage of skilled workers. A 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that by 2020, the global economy could see employers looking to fill 90 to 95 million low-skill worker jobs.
The numbers are staggering. Whether in Canada or internationally, there are ways for employers to address attracting talent. Some helpful tips to consider include -
For more ideas and tips attracting talent and ensuring you have the right employee benefits package to meet your needs, please contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
According to a 2011 report by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, there are approximately 5 million Canadians aged 65 or older. This number is set to increase to 10.4 million by 2036. For a variety of reasons including harsh financial realities, many seniors will need to remain in the workforce for some time.
What does a benefit plan look like for this age group? Do these "seniors" change the group benefits landscape? Increasingly, employers will be faced with this challenge as they continue to want to offer value for their employees while still keeping a close eye on the costs of their group plan. As employees age, plans experience increases in usage and costs due to age-related health degradation. Another factor to consider as employees age involves termination provisions. Will provisions stay the same or will they need to change based on the needs of an aging workforce?
Employers benefit from understanding their current workforce. The reality is that the Canadian employee landscape finds itself dotted with a mix of four different generations. From Traditionalists (born before 1946) to Generation Y (born after 1980), employers seek to find the right benefit offering to meet the changing needs of their employee base. While Generation X (born after 1964) and Generation Y may be focused more on core health and dental coverage to ensure they have some financial support for braces, etc., employees at the other end of the age spectrum may be interested in other and perhaps more non-traditional benefits such as end-of-life planning services.
The question goes beyond the basic understanding of basis demographic components such as age, sex and family status. Contributing factors relating to the issues impacting employee benefits programs include culture, diversity, and health. Employee needs and expectations vary by age band and demographic grouping. What an employee over age 62 wants from a group plan may vary significantly from the interests of a 25 year old employee.
Another important consideration involves how demographics contribute to what, when, and how employers communicate messages about benefit plans. The way Generation Y employees wish to receive information about their benefits plan may differ significantly from the manner in which a Baby Boomer (born after 1946) wants to access the same information. Generation Y is known as the Digital Generation. They are tech savvy and they leverage social media well whereas many Boomers still prefer face-to-face presentations to learn about programs and benefit offerings.
Finally, employers also benefit from factoring in the cultural element of their workforce. In our multicultural society, our diversity makes us stronger, but it also creates a variety of expectations about the value offered by existing benefits plans. A one-size-fits-all plan finds itself stressed to meet the varying needs of increasingly diverse workforces.
No matter how we look at it, employee workforce demographics play a big role in the design, communication, and value perception of benefit plans. Employers who review and adapt to the changing needs of their workforce will continue to attract and retain talent. For more information about effective ways to achieve the best mix of plans for the specifics of your employee population, please contact us. Our team has the skill and the experience to design benefits packages that will assist in attracting and retaining talent while managing costs well at the same time. We're here to help so you can focus on what you do best.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.