millennialsMillennials hit a new milestone this year. According to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. census bureau data, Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, totaling 53.5 million. The number of Boomers in the workforce has dropped, as well, leveling out with the number of Gen-X workers.

The Millennial generation – like any generation judged by its predecessors – is subject to some false assumptions. Millennials tend to get a bad rap from Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers as lazy, glued-to-their-phone consumers who gotta-have-it-now.

However, the differences between what Millennials are perceived to desire and what they actually desire are actually very different. (The following statistics are reported in KPCB’s 2015 Internet Trends Report, which we recently shared on the BuzzPlant blog.)

What Millennials Want Out of a Job
Millennials most value the following things in their career (from most to least important):

  • Meaningful work
  • High pay
  • Sense of Accomplishment
  • Challenging Work
  • High Level of Self-Expression
  • High Level of Responsibility

millennial 1

There are three big surprises here, in terms of what managers expect and what Millennials report. Millennials attribute much more importance to “meaningful work” and a “sense of accomplishment” than managers give them credit for. Furthermore, Millennials value “high pay” with less frequency than managers’ expect.

The Top Job Benefits Millennials Want
When it comes to work, there are three things that stand out above all other desires for today’s Millennial in the workforce:

  • Training & Development (22%)
  • Flexible Working Hours (19%)
  • Cash Bonuses (14%)

millennial 2

Emerging Millennial Trends: Flexibility & Tech Adoption
The newest data on Millennials points to two major trends: flexible work hours and tech savvy.

  • Many expect to be mobile and able to work from their home, office, or a café at will.
  • 20% identify as ‘night owls’ and work outside normal business hours.
  • 38% freelance (v. 32% of those over the age of 35).
  • 32% believe they will be working ‘mainly flexible hours’ in the future.

With regards to their tech savvy…

  • 34% prefer to collaborate online (v. in-person or over the phone).
  • 45% use personal smartphones for work purposes.
  • 41% are likely to download applications to use for work purposes in the next 12 months. They will pay for them with their own money.

Lastly, on-demand workers (those who generate economic activity through online platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Etsy, etc.) are primarily Millennials. It’s likely that we will see even more Millennials subsidize their income – or create primary revenue streams – through these models.

millennial 3

Marketing to Millennials In 2015
As a marketer or business owner, what will you do with this data? What surprises you? What opportunities do you see?