What is driving millennials in the work place?

27th March 2017

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Millennials are a big discussion point amongst those trying to understand their actions and behaviour. Recruiters have a particular interest in them as it is their employment aspirations that have influenced many aspects of the hiring process today.

So who are they and what exactly are they after in today’s job market? And why are they doing this and not following in the footsteps of their parents?

Here are three things that define millennials and are shaping recruiters’ approach to them…


Speak to any millennial today, and it’s very likely that their parents settled down at an early age. As a result of this early commitment they are likely to have not experienced something as exciting as world travel to an extent that today’s millennial population have, as a sacrifice for getting on the property ladder at an early age, and for starting a family early.

Arguably a very selfish act and one that has led to the millennial generation being labelled as the generation of entitlement. Of course, millennials are extremely appreciative of the commitments and sacrifice their parents will have made, but this does not mean they want to follow suit.

Millennials want to travel and see the world and experience new cultures as a result. They have no aspirations to settle down early and make huge commitments. This is mirrored in their job behaviour opting for work that gives them the freedom to make their own rules and create their own destiny. This is also reflected in their approach to work and their development as a person. Millennials want to advance themselves by learning new skills and want this self development freedom, something not all places of work allow the flexibility and scope for.

They want purpose…and pay of course

Looking at the lessons of their parents again, millennials aren’t prepared to commit to jobs that don’t tick certain boxes and won’t commit themselves to a job for purely financial reasons and security. Of course pay is very important to them, but millennials are after a sense of purpose within the work they do. They want to be challenged by the work they do and the people they work with. They embrace diversity and change as an exciting thing and once they have gained everything they can from a job or place of work, they will move on to seek the next challenge. New is not scary to them, it is familiarity and routine that scares them.

Move forward but don’t climb the ladder

It’s extremely rare today for prospective employees to join an organisation straight out of University and work for them till retirement age. Questions like “What’s your five year plan?” are slowly becoming a thing of the past as millennials show no great interest in climbing the corporate ladder and attaining new titles to reflect their seniority. For this method of working shows no real progression to millennials and doesn’t give them the freedom they crave. Rather than stay with an employer for a long period of time, millennials would much prefer to take on projects that continue to improve and widen their skill set and enhance their profile as a candidate whilst still enjoying the flexibility and freedom these projects provide. Millennials would prefer to move forward in a career that comprises different projects and challenges, rather than move forward solely with an organisation.

The boom in contracting can be attributed in part to the growing influence of the millennial workforce. Contracting provides them with the freedom and flexibility they desire as well as the new and exciting challenges they constantly seek. Contracting not only rewards them financially but also gives them the scope for developing their skill set and acquiring new talents and experience.

Why not start your journey today as a contractor and pre-register for iContract, the new online platform that connects contractors with recruiters. Launching in April, iContract gives contractors control of their working lives allowing them to reap the many benefits of contracting.