The Millennial WorkforceWhile on my search around the web, I came across a statistic which made me think about how traditional business challenges will change in the future. The statistic was that 75% of the workforce in 2025 will be Millennials. For those unaware of the Millennial workforce, you are in good company—as after a longer than expected search, there appears to be no official definition. However, the general consensus appears to be that it’s anyone born after 1983; also known as Generation Y; or under 30.

In the book Born Digital, the authors talk about:

The first generation of “Digital Natives” – children who were born into and raised in the digital world – are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture and even the shape of our family life will be forever transformed. But who are these Digital Natives?

What we really are talking about is a generation who has grown up in the internet age and born into an era of mobile devices. Estimates put this group at over 2Bln and they are the biggest purchasing class in the world, across all parts of the earth. Consumer-focused businesses are desperate to understand how they are going to reach these individuals and as time passes more and more will be entering the workforce.

As businesses start to recruit Millennials in vast numbers, how will the workforce need to change?

For one, interfaces and business applications will need to be simple to use and guide you in the right direction when you go wrong. This is a generation which has been brought up with “auto complete” when searching Google, Satellite Navigation, Predictive Text and Amazon style interfaces, and never expects to finish typing a phrase.

I believe another key component will be the need for instant communication; the expectation of a real-time discussion with a co-worker, supplier or partner will be the norm. Email is too slow for these Digital Natives: most teenagers only use email for communication with their parents.

And let’s not forget the vast amount of analytical data available. When harnessed, this will allow real-time analysis, data modelling and prediction. Pulling this data from not only your own data source but your supply chains, and even your supply chains’ supply chain will be expected.

Business partners will come with a host of network-based analytics allowing for more informed decisions. Financial information like D&B provides will be the tip of the iceberg; Suppliers will have peer review ratings like we see on Ebay; real-time sentiment analysis to understand what the “wisdom of the crowds” is saying; and performance analytics on how this supplier is performing with you but also aggregated with all their customers.

It’s a vision of the future which is not hard to imagine, and you can see the spark of many of the capabilities here today—just applied in a corporate environment. The good news is that this vision is not the future, it’s just a way of life for the Next Generation.