Millennials have grown up in an internet-enabled world, with different expectations and values from those who grew up offline. If you want them to work for you, you need to understand this and adapt much more quickly than you probably imagine.
Studies show millennials value immediacy, transparency, flexibility, simplicity and reliability. Compared with Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and the generation of baby-boomers (1945 to 1965) they are more creative, adaptable, open to change, entrepreneurial and narcissistic.
This last feature was completely misunderstood by Labour in the run-up to the election. In a world shaped by social media, people do not associate with the old tribes.
Millennials want work to be meaningful, they want a sense of accomplishment, they are mission-driven.
Contrary to what the people hiring them may think, they are less motivated by money than by purpose. A survey of 4,000 graduates under 31 from around the world ranked training and development, flexible working hours and cash bonuses as far and away the three most valued work benefits.
They want to learn, to fit work around their lifestyle and to enjoy their cash now. If you want to hire and retain the best under-35s, you need to think about these things.
Even if you are not an employer, you need to think about what this all means because the most important question anyone managing your pension fund needs to ask of the companies they invest in is: what is your millennial strategy?
Only a small fraction of companies speak the language of millennials and until now that hardly mattered. Millennials had no purchasing power. It was all about Facebook fun and how many followers you had. They weren’t buying houses, cars or healthcare.