My IT department needs to hire several entry-level employees, and we plan to interview recent college graduates. However, I've heard so much in the media about how Generation Y has very different career expectations than professionals from other generations. Currently, there are no Gen Y workers on my team. Do you have any advice for effectively recruiting—and retaining—these workers?
Katherine Spencer Lee responds:
Generation Y—also known as Millennials—are those who were born roughly between 1979 and 1999. The oldest members of this group are just embarking on their careers. Understanding the work styles and professional expectations of this generation is an important challenge for IT executives, who must not only recruit candidates to meet today's needs but also hire strategically to benefit the organization over the long term.
The first step toward understanding Gen Yers, perhaps, is to realize that what you already believe about these members of the workforce may not be accurate. These professionals have been labeled as high-maintenance individuals who seek instant results; they are said to have a sense of entitlement and unreasonable expectations about work. However, a recent study by our company and Yahoo! HotJobs, "What Millennial Workers Want: How to Attract and Retain Gen Y Employees," revealed that Gen Yers are very motivated workers. They simply want what professionals from other generations want from employers: competitive pay, good health and retirement benefits, a flexible work schedule, and opportunities for growth and advancement.
Therefore, when recruiting Millennial workers, it is important to be up front about the compensation and perks your organization provides—for instance, reimbursement for IT training and certification courses or a robust retirement plan. Also, be sure to discuss how employees can earn additional responsibility and transition into new roles over time, because when it comes to moving up the ranks, Gen Yers want to do so quickly.
According to the Robert Half and Yahoo! HotJobs study, half of Millennial professionals surveyed believe they should have to spend just one to two years in an entry-level position. Therefore, organizations looking to hold on to talented Gen Y employees are not likely to do so by asking them to spend years "paying their dues" in a slow climb up the corporate ladder.