3 ways millennials in the workplace are changing business culture
Millennials are poised to change the workplace in profound ways. According to Pew Research, millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the US workforce in 2015. Digital natives, millennials in the workplace grew up immersed in a world of tablets, smartphones and laptops. Their ability to handle mobile technologies and embrace innovation offer unique opportunities for businesses. By comparison, Generation X and baby boomers gradually adapted to technology throughout the course of their careers.
Here are some three predictions experts have regarding how millennials will influence jobs within the tech industry, reshaping it with a new worldview and focus:
1. Millennials are drawn to tech jobs
Millennials seek different positions in the tech industry than their baby boomer forebears. According to Tech Republic, they are more likely to look for jobs as developers, data scientists or UX researchers. Baby boomers, by contrast, tend to stick to engineering and project management roles. This difference could be attributed to the fact that millennials entered the workforce just as the tech boom was hitting a crescendo, whereas older generations have likely accrued valuable business experience that lends itself well to project management roles.
Millennials are being hired into tech positions at a 50 percent greater rate than their overall workforce representation, indicating both their strong interest in tech fields and tech companies’ interest in hiring younger talent. Indeed, according to Forbes, both millennials and their younger counterparts in Generation Z list IT as their top field of interest (at 24.9 percent), followed by technology (19.8 percent). Once hired, millennials in the workplace also express strong expectations about the role technology should play at the office.
2. Millennials expect to use modern technology at work
Viewing technology as second nature to the way they live, millennials believe that it should both complement and facilitate their working lives. According to research from PwC, millennials are the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of technology than more senior workers, and 78 percent of them say that access to the technology they like to use makes them more effective at work. Fifty-nine percent of them even feel that an employer’s ability to provide state-of-the-art technology is important to them when considering a job.
Businesses have responded to these expectations in a variety of ways. Many offer BYOD and CYOD programs so their millennial employees can use their smartphones and tablets of choice at work. Others may promote millennials’ business-related use of social media and other communications tools at the workplace, tapping into their native preference for connectivity and technology-enabled social collaboration.
Millennials are also known for valuing work-life balance; here, too, businesses are making some thoughtful adjustments with the help of technology. More companies are allowing their employees to work flexible hours, and telecommuting is also on the rise. With the benefit of remote access and mobility solutions that provide them with the same tools they use at the office, millennials can enjoy both greater flexibility in their jobs and increased productivity on the go — a win-win from their perspective.
Companies pursuing a path of digital transformation often note that, among other goals, they hope to retain talented staff by strategically leveraging technology to make the business more efficient. One way they can do so is by encouraging workflow automation, something millennials appreciate because it streamlines and improves the business processes on which they rely to be high performers at the office.
3. Millennials are eyeing leadership positions
Millennials are ambitious, eyeing future leadership roles as they gain business experience. As Forbes notes, 79 percent of millennials aspire to leadership positions, and 60 percent of them aim to secure such promotions at their existing company. That figure might surprise some businesses that have read the research on millennials’ purported propensity to hop from job to job without developing a strong loyalty to any single employer. Businesses that hope to cultivate millennial talent might have the best opportunity to do so by moving toward the leading edge of technology adoption, providing a workplace benefit that millennials greatly value.
As millennials move into leadership positions, it’s likely that they will spearhead even greater technology change within their organizations. If they have been frustrated at times by what they perceive as the slow pace of innovation where they work, we can expect that newly minted millennial leaders — fully appreciating the incredible business value that modern technology can bring to an organization — will use their new clout to ensure that the business optimally uses technology to its advantage.
There’s no question that millennials stand ready to make a profound impact on the technology workforce. Arriving in greater numbers with a strong belief that technology can make everyone’s working lives more efficient, they will change the way businesses run in lasting ways. Businesses that want to attract and retain millennial talent will want to begin adapting their workplaces now to fully capitalize on this opportunity.