Appealing to millennials: What are they looking for in a job?

Rachel Hill
Rachel Hill

10/15 years ago, you could almost guarantee that a new employee would stay in their role for an extended period. Nowadays, Generation Y referred to as ‘millennials’ will often only remain in a role for 1 to 2 years maximum.

The rapid movement of millennials between jobs is scary for recruitment personnel and companies everywhere. Many companies are simply perplexed by this phenomenon, but fail to do anything about it. Consider the following quote :

‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ – Albert Einstein

My point is that if you keep using the same recruiting strategies, you will employ the same staff and lose the same staff over and over again. The first thing you must remember is that millennials are different from the staff you employed 10 years ago; they have different wants, needs and outlooks. If you consider them the same as everyone else, you will lose them before they enter the door.

So how exactly can you appeal to ultimately – the next generation of workers? See our following tips:

Create a flexible workplace

We know that millennials are prolific job hoppers, but creating a flexible workplace can help attract and retain top talent. Work-life balance is very important to millennials, so providing flexible working hours, sufficient holiday time, dedicated charity work and hobby time will give you an edge over the competition.

One tip that PwC implemented was allowing workers to submit flexibility plans. These flexibility plans encouraged employees to individualise their schedules with measures such as working from home or taking time out for charity work. This freedom is attractive to millennials and makes the work environment appear less as a chore and more as a cordial place.


Offer development programmes

If millennials can’t foresee development opportunities at their current company, chances are they will leave sooner or later. Doing the same thing day in day out is boring for anyone, but millennials are far more likely to switch jobs than stay put. By nurturing their strengths and interests as part of a development programme, you have a far better chance of keeping top millennial talent satisfied.

While many companies opt for the standard one day/one week training programme – this simply isn’t enough. Taking a ‘one shoe fits all approach’ is also ineffective. Everybody is different, so by providing a tailored development approach, you are nurturing everyone’s individual strengths. It is also important that employees play an intrinsic part in the creation of this development programme – it is their career after all.


Provide regular feedback

Providing feedback to employees once every few months is simply inadequate. Millennials, particularly those in their first jobs, need reassurance they are heading in the right direction. By giving regular feedback, you are assuring employees of their value and worth.

Set some time aside once every month or couple of months to set short and long term goals with employees. You should also provide them with honest praise of their work and criticism where needed. It is extremely important for millennials to have a sense of purpose, so having a clear outlook and goals makes them far more motivated and satisfied in their job.



We all love company perks right? Well, millennials love them too. It is no surprise then that many flock to companies such as Google and Facebook who provide nap rooms and opportunities to improve your ping pong skills. While perks like these may scream shallow, they also represent a company that cares about its employees and culture.

For many smaller companies, nap rooms and ping pong tables cannot be justified financially. However, why not work some free food, pet policies or team activities into the company budget? These small perks illustrate a caring company culture and also help in attracting and retaining staff who want something extra from their workplace.


Great leaders

In the early stage of their careers, it is essential for millennials to have steady and reliable leaders they can turn to. To ensure the best chances of long term retention, these leaders must be invested in employee development, patient and understanding. Millennials will be learning the ropes and they need to know there is someone to turn to in times of doubt.

Quality of leadership is a prime reason for people accepting jobs, as well as leaving them. Most people work under bosses for the majority of their lives, so leadership can really make or break the retention rates at companies. Studies have found that leaders who act as coaches/mentors as opposed to bosses, are far more successful at inspiring employees.



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