Personal Finance

Millennials highly value job flexibility

Millennials are a talented and dynamic generation, and the best of them are hard to find and even more difficult to keep. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
Millennials are a talented and dynamic generation, and the best of them are hard to find and even more difficult to keep. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

Did you know that for the first time, forming 50 per cent of the global workforce are young men and women born between early 80s to mid-90s-the millennials?

Are companies even prepared to deliver value to this significant workforce as they seek value from them? What’s the biggest incentive you can offer a millennial to come work and stay with you instead of your competition?

If you answered “more money” you need to rethink your strategy, because you might not be as attractive as you think for the generation that will soon become the majority of our workforce.

These are hard questions and realities that will need more than verbal answers and go beyond short term plans to proper research and strategy.

What do millennials value?

Millennials are a demanding bunch, or so it would seem. A Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey reports that, if it were up to them, the cohort “would place far greater emphasis than current leaders on “employee wellbeing” and “employee growth and development.”

That missing sense of meaning and opportunity appears to be lacking so grievously that, as Deloitte researchers put it, “Millennials have one foot out the door” of their current employers.

This finding is no outlier. A report by PWC, 2011, explains that millennials tend to be uncomfortable with rigid corporate structure and turned off by information silos.

They expect rapid progression, timely and free flowing communication, a varied and interesting career and constant feedback.

Best practices

To remain competitive, businesses need a fresh approach to compensation that reflects new and dynamic values, attitudes and lifestyles of the millennials.

Latest research show that some core values that really drive millennials in the workplace include, inspiration, flexibility and technology.

Prioritise on inspiring millennials

Millennials are an ambitious generation, and generally they’ll value the opportunity to progress quickly over monetary. This is a revolutionary shift from the traditional sense of on-the-job training.

Learning to lead is a big priority. In Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey, 75 per cent of respondents believed that their organisations could do more to develop future leaders.

Tied to learning is employee mobility. Most millennials expect to have multiple careers in their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average young adult has held an average of 6.2 jobs by age 26. Why not enable them to shift careers within your organisation?


Today’s young job seekers live in a world where physical presence is optional: banking, renting movies, hanging out with friends, going to school, ordering dinner have all transformed from a “place you go” to a “thing you do” from any connected device.

They mostly go to malls for the Wi-Fi. Millennials view work in the same way; not to be measured by hours at a location, but by the output of what you do.

Today’s high-performing companies bake flexibility into the core of their corporate culture, letting employees set their own schedules as long as they get their work done.

Plenty of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers care about it too, but millennials are leading the way in prioritising job flexibility. According to PwC’s, many would give up pay or delay a promotion to achieve an ideal schedule.


The relationship with technology has set millennials apart from their senior colleagues. Young workers prefer instant access to information, constant feedback, fast progression and a modern corporate management style that integrates technology into daily work life.

According to a research by Google, 87 per cent of millennials tend to keep their smartphones at their side day and night.

In fact surveys have shown that Millennials ideal workplace is in a tech company even when they are from a tech-light discipline.

A recent study showed nearly 20 per cent of millennials say Google is their ideal employer.


Millennials are a talented and dynamic generation, and the best of them are hard to find and even more difficult to keep.

Firms looking to build loyalty will need to think creatively to foster an emotional connection to their brand as superficial changes that are intended to connect with younger workers, such as unconvincing social media outreach programmes, “greenwashed” corporate values and diversity tokenism will not work.

This could include, for example, inspirational leadership, greater personal empowerment, a focus on individual learning and cycle of experiences.