Key Trends that Retain Millennial Talent

How to hire and hang on to the latest generation of smart employees

Earlier in March, the U.K. held a national apprenticeship week. All over the country, events raised awareness and participation in the U.K. government’s relaunched apprenticeship incentive. I had the privilege to attend the Digital Leaders on Mondays salon at the European Council for Foreign Relations to discuss the new program and how it will help to bridge the U.K. digital skills gap.

New apprentices increasingly pursue routes into digitally focused industries, such as aerodynamics, mathematics and data science. This forms part of the government’s response to youth unemployment and the economic demand for digital skills.

During the Salon, Mark Stanley, head of delivery for the apprenticeship service at the Department for Education, spoke about the new digital service. The service, delivered through the Skills Funding Agency, aims to help employers source talent. This short video by the government digital service explains more.

Most interesting was the user research carried out by the digital team at the Department for Business. The findings, based on input of hundreds of young people, highlights five trends for the effective engagement and retention of millennial talent.

  • Millennials require an exciting place to learn.
    Millennials focused more on learning new skills than previous workforces. They expect to join a company that will provide them with the exposure and opportunity to develop further into their chosen career. Millennials are excited by a learning culture, investment and development in people and professional certifications that enable them to advance their careers.

  • Millennials need a clear growth path.
    Money is no longer the most important incentive. Millennials seek a growth path, rewarding work and an exciting job title. In an example provided at the Salon, five young developers surveyed said they did not wish to be identified as developers because of the constraints and connotations of this label. Instead, they sought a less restrictive title that demonstrated their skills beyond development. Any takers for a creative technologist?

  • Millennials buy vision.
    Organizations must possess a vision that new talent can buy into. People want to work somewhere where they believe in the cause. Millennials are particularly keen on excitement in their work and are less tolerant than other demographics of dull working environments.

  • Millennials care about people. Talk about people, not staff.
    When referring to people, do not call them staff or resources. Stories of the great people in the business secure and maintain millennials’ attention. Millennials are interested in learning about the individuals inside the business and the motives and ambitions of their team.

  • Millennials expect millennial tools.
    Businesses must ensure that new hires, especially digital natives, receive the right tools. Research shows that employers who take this approach had a higher rate of return and employee loyalty. Millennials desire up-to-the-minute technology and autonomy over the devices they use.

Business need to take these points into consideration when making recruitment strategy decisions. Long-standing businesses do not always possess the forward-thinking methods required to future-proof the workforce, because legacy hiring processes obstruct the hiring and retention of millennial talent.

At the event, several businesses owners complained about the quality of candidates coming through the door, and I could not help but see why: Ambitious millennials will not sacrifice opportunities and skills for a job that does not meet most of the above requirements.

Businesses that embrace these principles will see an increase in talent attraction and retention. Today's workforce contains five generations. However, the digitally enabled generations will drive business growth through their skills. Those who do not possess these skills should receive training to support the development of a more agile environment.

All businesses should put millennial values at the core of their recruitment strategies. By focusing on attracting and retaining digitally skilled employees, organizations will future-proof their services and products and improve their systems.


About the Author

Luis Lopes

Luis Lopes is a consultant at Capco London. He gained his extensive experience in digital by designing and delivering innovative digital products for major brands and supporting a number of fintech startups, incubators and accelerator programs across the globe.


The content and opinions posted on this blog and any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of Capco.