Three Tips to Hire and Retain Millennial Employees in a Tight Labor Market

For young job seekers, there’s no better time than the present to enter the labor market. The American unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September, the lowest it’s been since the Vietnam War. Companies across every industry are eager to hire skilled labor, a welcome sign for job seekers.


But as the U.S. job market continues to tighten, employers struggle to attract and recruit the right workers for the right jobs. In addition to filling vacancies, employers are also worried about retaining their workforces. A tight labor market shifts the power to employees and can give workers the confidence they need to quit their jobs when unhappy or unsatisfied.


To avoid costly attrition and reduce hiring costs, employers need to rethink their approach to recruiting. Namely, companies should evaluate how they target millennials and realign their recruiting strategies to directly resonate with younger applicants. By understanding what makes millennials ‘tick,’ employers can improve recruiting success during a time of high demand and low supply.


Forget the stereotypes. Here’s what millennial workers really want from employers:


Millennials are often labeled as lazy or selfish, but this group is actually one of the most misperceived generational demographics. Getting to know millennial preferences is crucial for employers sifting through job boards, especially since millennials make up the majority of today’s workforce. Born between 1981 and 1996, this age group makes up 35 percent of the current labor force and is followed closely by Generation Xers, who make up 33 percent of the workforce.


To successfully recruit millennials, it helps to align business values with candidates’ working styles and preferences. Millennials tend to prioritize experiences over money, and they look for work that actually makes a difference. For example, 83 percent of millennials believe business success should be measured by more than their financial performance. While this age group recognizes money is still a necessity, many millennials would prefer to work for employers that make a positive impact on society and emphasize inclusion and diversity in the workplace.


Transparency and feedback are also high on millennials’ list of priorities. During the interview process, employers should outline the responsibilities associated with the job and define a clear path for career growth. Millennials want to know if companies will invest in their professional growth and won’t hesitate to look elsewhere if they feel expendable. This cohort of young job seekers craves constructive feedback and is interested in companies that offer mentorship programs and intensive coaching sessions. As employers look to build their millennial workforces, those that can evolve their cultures to address millennial preferences stand to benefit the most.


Once the hiring process is complete, though, the job of the employer is far from over. Millennials have been known to job hop, costing U.S. employers around $30.5 billion annually in attrition and hiring costs. To avoid costly turnovers, companies can boost retention of their millennial employees with the following three tips:


  1. Incorporate a flexible work scheduleWith nearly three-quarters of millennials clamoring for a flexible and fluid work environment, it’s time to say goodbye to the traditional 9-to-5 job. Offer relaxed hours, telecommuting options and extra vacation time to strengthen relationships with your teams and boost employee loyalty.
  2. Emphasize company cultureIn addition to pay, young employees desire employers that espouse values similar to their own. Culture is a major draw for millennials, who are mission-driven and want to feel like they can bring their true selves to the workplace. With a strong company culture in place, younger employees are more likely to be engaged in their work and motivated to advance your company’s mission.
  3. Offer additional educational programsMillennials are not content with just having a job, and they appreciate opportunities to grow their professional careers. Besides free lunches and cool perks, 90 percent of millennials say they would stay in their current job for the next decade if there is upward career mobility. Provide consistent educational and training programs to help millennials advance their careers, which helps retain your younger employees for the long run.


As the workforce continues to evolve, employers must adjust their recruiting and hiring strategies to accommodate younger demographics. By understanding millennial characteristics and what motivates them at work, your company can strengthen its hiring efforts and benefit from a loyal millennial workforce.

Credit: Essendant Blog

« Back to Blog