I've watched, (and been a part of), the conversation around Millennials in the workplace for the last six months. It's a hot topic - and for good reason. Companies are struggling to understand and embrace the youngest members of our workforce. At the same time, recent Millennial grads have a 26% rate of unemployment, and that number gets bigger if you factor in under-employment (i.e. working in jobs they could have gotten without a college degree). Spend time online and it isn't hard to see Millennials are deeply dissatisfied with their situation.
Why Are So Many Millennials Unprepared, Unemployed & Unhappy?
In March 2014, in partnership with Purdue University and the Lumina Foundation, Gallup launched the first ever nationally representative sample of college grads in the US. The idea is to start to look at the quality of employment and quality of life -
Much different than, "Are you employed?" and "How much money do you make?"
Gallup sorted on those college grads who rated their lives the highest and found six emotional and experiential opportunities for students that predict your likelihood to have a better job and better life...
1. Professors who made you excited about learning.
2. Professors who cared about you as a person.
3. A mentor who sat and thought about your future with you.
4. Extremely involved in extracurricular activities.
5. Had a project that took more than a semester or more to complete.
6. Had an internship or job where the student could apply what they were learning in the classroom.
These seem like fairly obvious opportunities. But when Gallup asked what percentage of college grads are actually having these experiences....
ONLY 3% of college grads land on all six.
In short, 97% of Millennials entering the workforce today haven't received the career coaching needed to empower them to take control of their professional future.
Millennials Don't Seek Coaching, They Expect It
Part of the reason many Millennials haven't received proper career coaching is they didn't know they needed it. From a very early age, they've been involved in activities where coaching was part of the program. Whether it's organized sports or playing musical instruments, Millennials have been conditioned to believe coaching isn't a sign of weakness, but a path to greatness. They assumed if they needed career coaching, it would be provided to them.
Which leads to our current problem...
Employers don't see why they should invest in coaching Millennials on their careers and professionalism AND pay them at the same time. They want employees who can hit the ground running. Sadly, without coaching, Millennials are suffering. Many are getting passed over for promotions, or even worse, fired for behaviors employers see as entitled and lazy. As a result, the pain of failure is pushing Millennials to proactively seek coaching.
Millennials Don't Trust 'Old School' Sources
For the same reasons Millennials are seeking alternative resources to learn about financial planning, they're also seeking new ways to get help with their careers.
Specifically, Millennials are:
- Actively avoiding preachy, older advisers who act like overbearing parents.
- Skipping college career centers and blaming the school for not giving them proper career coaching as part of their curriculum.
Instead, they're looking for career coaching resources that are:
- free or inexpensive, usually a subscription model for budgeting purposes.
- online and have 24/7 access, powered by video.
- created and delivered by successful peers, or hip industry experts.
- have a community component where they can connect with peers.
It's clear: Millennials want a career coaching platform that plays to their strengths and preferences. Which leads to an opportunity...
Millennial Loyalty = Future Cash Cow
Given Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce in the next 10 years, whoever captures the career coaching loyalty of this generation could be sitting on a gold mine in the future when Millennial incomes rise and their ability to pay for premium services increases. A great example is the staffing industry. Raised on the movie, "Jerry Maguire," Millennials want their own talent agent for their careers.
I suggest any company looking for a competitive edge when it comes to attracting and retaining Millennials seriously consider giving them career coaching as an employee benefit. Could be one of the smartest business decisions you can make.
P.S. If you want more information on the subject, feel free to contact me on @Linkedin.