While watching the news this morning, I saw a story based on Pew Research that the Millennials now make up the largest part of the US workforce. The children of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, the millennial generation were born 1981-1997 with approximately 1/3 of US workers (53.5 million workers) belonging to that generation.
The shift to a new generation provides both opportunities and challenges. As employers, we need to recognize this generation has a very different outlook on work life balance. They tend to prioritize things differently than previous generations. In fact, the CNN report this morning mentioned Millennials preferred midsize companies to larger companies and will opt for lower salaries in an organization that’s fun to work in over a rigid firm with a defined structure. This is the first generation to have a true freelance, independent attitude rejecting the traditional 9-to-5-employment structure. As a group, Millennials tend to reject career path planning and enjoy the flexibility to move from company to company. Another article I read predicts that Millennials will experience over 25 jobs in a lifetime.
The implication for those of us who are locked into the corporate mindset is that we will have to change the way we and our companies operate to attract the best talent. It’s time to start making adjustments to our employment plans, companies and work environments if we are to attract, retain and grow supply chain and operations talent. The stronger implication is that rigid corporate structures will have the modified to accommodate the group that now makes up the largest portion of the work force. Especially if we want to attract Millenials to manufacturing, especially in purchasing and supply chain.
Change is always hard, but necessary, if our companies are to survive.
Welcome, Millennials, time for us to pass the torch.