What drives millennials to seek new opportunities?
By Jackie Olson
Todayâs young professionals looking to further theirÂ careers are reaping the benefits of a robust job market,Â allowing them to identify opportunities based on a rangeÂ of features besides compensation. In fact, Merrill Corporation recently conducted a survey of junior associates workingÂ in the financial services industry to find out what factorsÂ are driving them to choose a new role. The survey soughtÂ input into why they chose their career and employer, jobÂ satisfaction levels, future career aspirations, and theirÂ views on the overarching capital markets industry. TheÂ results offer insight into what this future generation ofÂ industry leaders are looking for right nowâin the earlyÂ stages of their careersâfrom employers, direct managers,Â and perhaps most importantly, from themselves.
Reputation and Culture
The top two considerations millennials have whenÂ selecting a company include the companyâs outwardÂ reputation (58 percent) and culture (50 percent). BothÂ have become increasingly important across the board,Â with many organizations looking to align their brandÂ values and corporate investments with those of the youngÂ professional audience to continue recruiting and retainingÂ top talent. Often younger workers are navigatingÂ toward organizations that not only provide them withÂ steady, rewarding work, but that help them to grow asÂ individuals, both personally and professionally. BehindÂ reputation and culture, respondents identified location,Â compensation, and work-life balance as the other majorÂ factors they take into consideration when pursuing anÂ organization. Compensation, while important, surprisinglyÂ was not the most important factor when considering aÂ new company, as location of the organization took the topÂ spot.
On to the Next One?
When making a career decision to move from one role toÂ another, location and compensation remain major driversÂ for young professionals. However, a notable shift byÂ gender is becoming evident. More men see location andÂ compensation (46 percent and 42 percent, respectively)Â as critical to their decision-making process, compared toÂ women who were more likely to identify work-life balanceÂ (34 percent) highly among the important factors whenÂ moving careers.
As the epicenters of finance and tech organizations areÂ expanding beyond major business hubs, more millennialsÂ are embracing the opportunity to explore locationÂ options and new areas of the United States. This nomadicÂ mentality is leading young professionals to land in variedÂ cities and no longer rely so heavily on a specific location asÂ a determining factor for their career choices.
Boss or Mentor?
Young workers in todayâs market have been peggedâoften without robust dataâas flighty and non-committal,Â prone to changing jobs on a frequent basis. However,Â in the capital markets setting that stereotype is beingÂ challenged as young professionals in this demographicÂ are not looking for change. Rather, these professionalsÂ seem to crave better mentorship and guidance from theirÂ managers.
In looking at employees with less than two years ofÂ experience, more than half (58 percent) articulate a desireÂ to have stronger mentorship in the workplace. These newÂ entrants into the professional landscape are hungry forÂ knowledge and guidance that will help them find careerÂ success and personal fulfillment. Perhaps the penchant ofÂ this group to seek new opportunities is rooted in a lackÂ of mentorship and development, and not the desire for aÂ change of scenery.
Beyond the Paycheck
No matter what stage of their career, unsurprisingly,Â employees are still very focused on compensation.Â However, the shift to total compensation versusÂ base salary is taking precedence. In looking at theirÂ compensation package, young capital marketsÂ professionals are hoping to see employers increaseÂ their spending on bonuses, training and professionalÂ development, and benefits in addition to competitiveÂ base salary offering.
Stay or Go?
As career progression takes place, professionals are oftenÂ met with the question of what their next move shouldÂ be: different industry? Bigger or smaller company? BetterÂ alignment with core values? Interestingly enough, onlyÂ 40 percent of respondents expected their professionalÂ futures to be with the same type of employer theyÂ currently work with. This lack of commitment to anÂ industry and employer by millennials is only expected toÂ grow as they continue to progress through their careerÂ lifecycle. Capital markets focused organizations need toÂ recognize the needs and desires of their young employeesÂ and their broader view of their employment lifecycle, wellÂ beyond their current role.
What Does it all Mean?
For several years, there have been stories about theÂ evolving mindset in the workforce. Todayâs collegeÂ graduates and young professionals have differentÂ outlooks, interests, desires, and goals than the generationÂ that came before them. This shift of priorities acrossÂ all industries is causing organizations to rethink theirÂ recruitment plans and find creative ways to retain talentÂ through bringing better work-life balance structures,Â improving professional development initiatives, investingÂ in personal interests, and creating more entrepreneurialÂ and collaborative work environments. It will be interestingÂ to watch how HR leaders respond and how organizationsÂ can harness the intellect and passion of this growingÂ segment of future corporate leaders.
Jackie Olson is vice president of human resources for Merrill Corporation.