Connect with us

Entrepreneurship

The Millennial Problem

Published

on

There’s a belief, at least around Silicon Valley, that the so-called Millennials (those born somewhere between the years 1980 and 2000) just simply aren’t engaged at work.

Source: Vimeo

This isn’t limited to startups. Companies like Google with enormous resources and brainpower are hiring “Millennial consultants” to better understand younger workers. Oracle and HBO want to stem employment churn and have made commitments to better understanding workforces in their 20s to early 30s.

When we look at our data (specifically, our New Tech Benchmark), we see a lot of this too. Workers under 33 years of age simply have lower overall engagement than other age groups. Scores are out of a possible 100.

However, if we factor for the question “I see myself at Company X in two years time,” and remove its influence on the overall engagement score, the cohort under 33 years of age appear to be just as engaged as everyone else.

This effect suggests that younger workers simply have no intentions to stay at the company they work for, across the board and regardless of situation — even if they are highly engaged.

This is a big deal because retaining workers consistently ranks as a high-priority for many organizations. It’s expensive to make up for the ones you’ve lost, even for an “average” worker. Not to mention the intangible damages like morale. But why is retention seemingly so much more difficult for Millennials?

Let’s look at the data:

Workforce Development Lags Behind

Particularly in Silicon Valley, the growth of technology is outpacing the need to learn it. Hell, the speed at which technology becomes obsolete is outpacing the speed at which someone can learn it.

Our data show a similar trend. People at their jobs are not too happy with the level of L&D they receive. Indeed, it is one of the overall lowest scoring metrics we collect:

In the gig economy, a good way to learn new skills is to leave your current job and go to a new one. Work a job for a few years, pick up new skills, and move on to the next with new skills in-hand. Top-ranked business schools like INSEAD are teaching people to build portfolios, telling people to “switch employers and industries frequently and change paths.”

“… the training or education programs of most companies tend to fall far behind employees’ needs.“ — Quartz

And Your Value Can Double By Leaving

Compounding the lack of training, there were 5 million job openings in April 2016, the highest number in history. Workers are finding that their skills are increasingly more valuable not just at their job, but everywhere else, too. If employers aren’t training their staff and won’t hire people that need training, the only choice is to hire people from other companies. This quickly turn into a very expensive bidding war for talent.

The signal to employees: you must shop around constantly for a better deal, or you are leaving money on the table. In Haseed Qureshi’s case, his salary more than doubled without a single day at a job.

Take Consideration of The Long Play

Let’s talk pensions — how many of us have them? Traditional Defined-Benefit (DB) pensions have decreased steadily at least for a couple of generations. Defined benefits are what people are usually talking about in America when they say “pension”— a guaranteed amount that’s paid out after retiring with your company — 80% of workers had these in 1985. In 20 years, or about one generation, that number has decreased to 34%.

Source: Social Security Administration

While there are benefits to having full control of your own retirement accounts and not being tied to a job until retirement, 401ks and IRAs will only be on par with DB pensions if people put (a lot) more money into them than they are right now. And the easiest way to do that is simply to earn more. An easy way to earn more is to get a new job.

Tying it Together

There are a lot of reasons for Millennials to be fickle about the workplace. The last few decades left them with no pensions, insufficient training in the areas they need, and the rise of the gig economy. So, it comes as a bit of a surprise that companies are left asking why they can’t keep workers around by offering ping-pong tables and free beer at the price tag of $20,000 an hour.

But, there’s one giant catch: there is no evidence to suggest Millennials are leaving their jobs at a more frequent rate than previous generations.

The Problem of the Millennial Problem

When it comes to staying at a job, Millennials are no statistically different than generations past. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data shows that median tenure at a job has held steady across younger workers for at least 30 years.

Older workers, of course, have longer median tenures because they’ve been in the workforce longer. But what’s interesting is how steady the increases of medians are between cohorts. Our data shows a complementary effect: older workers answer more positively on retention-related questions (i.e. I plan on staying at Company X for the next two years) in a steadily increasing manner.

The implication here is younger people simply feel less confident about their career trajectory and and grow more confident as they are more established (obvious). Simultaneously, younger workers have been staying at their jobs at a consistent rate for decades. In short, there is nothing wrong with the kids these days. They are not leaving jobs more frequently. They are just as committed, proud, and motivated as everyone else.

Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires’. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt. — Horace

Though the factors stated earlier heavily coincide with the timing of Millennials entering the job market, it should be emphasized that these factors reflect the current reality of employment for everyone. Everyone cares about retirement, skills development, and making more money. These are the benefits of employment that every person has a right to and should care about — not just a specific, arbitrarily-chosen subsection of people born between a certain time period like Millennials or Sagittariusses. (Sagittarii? Sagitarians?)

But we also can’t forget that we live in a system of Catch-22s — train your workforce well and they might leave for a bigger paycheck; guaranteed pensions are unpopular with shareholders and investors; offer more money, and someone else will counter. But one thing is for sure: organizations that only provide people with a basic paycheck are at a disadvantage versus those companies that go beyond.

_________________________________________________________

About the Author

This article was written by Hyon S Chu. Hyon is a data scientist at Culture Amp — where we conduct analytics and research with data that comes from real people at companies like yours. Reach out to join the conversation.

Callum Connects

Denise Mossis Kipnis, Founder & Principal of ChangeFlow Consulting

Published

on

Denise Mossis Kipnis’ curiosity in people and the world, lead her to set up ChangeFlow Consulting.

What’s your story?
I’m driven by curiosity. Having been the only one in a room who looks like me for most of my life, I developed a curiosity about who stays, who leaves and who thrives in minority/majority situations including when and how connection and collaboration happen. I was a systems thinker long before I knew what that was, always asking why and so what; and seeing the pieces, the whole, and the places in between. So helping people and organisations move through the complexity of transformation feels natural to me.

What excites you most about your industry?
I see change and inclusion as two sides of the same thing; I don’t practice one without the other. Some people see change as death, as loss, as exhausting. And it can be. But I see in the work I do as an opportunity for something new or hidden to emerge. When an organisation understands that it is first a group of people, who themselves represent and belong to groups of people, and it begins to tackle what it would mean to understand and learn from all that talent, all that diversity, to have them all working for and not against the organisation, to truly unleash all that their people have to offer; that’s magic.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Change and inclusion are personal values as well as professional strengths. For me, living and working outside of the States was a bold experiment to see whether any of the stuff I’d learned about change and inclusion would work outside of the US. My husband and I targeted Asia specifically: it would be the greatest contrast, culturally speaking, for me; and a unique career springboard for him.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Although I’ve practiced in other cities, I am biased towards Singapore. In some ways it’s what Los Angeles is to the rest of the United States, a microcosm of sorts. The regional/global nature of it means that so many different nationalities and cultures are represented. As a result of this mix, you never know what you might get. In some situations, cultural dynamics are obvious, sometimes subdued. The variability is compelling.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” Michael Rouan.

Who inspires you?
Often it’s a “what” not a “who.” I can get inspiration from a passage in a book or a situation in a movie, as well as a turn of a phrase or watching people interact. I often make the biggest connections between the various threads I’m working on when I’m sitting in someone else’s event.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m honestly not blown away by much. Instead, I’m struck how circular things can be: ideas often come back around with a slightly different twist and I watch the way it shakes things loose for people. I recently sat through a workshop on Self as Instrument, and despite being thoroughly versed already, I learned something. In preparing for a panel on design thinking, I unearthed a new language to describe things.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
You’ve caught me at a good time. I’m sitting in appreciation and gratitude for all my experiences, because I wouldn’t be who I was today if all that has happened, didn’t. And yet one thing comes to mind: It wasn’t until I redesigned my website two years ago (shout out to Brew Creative!) that I realised I hadn’t made explicit agreements with my past clients as to what I could share publicly about our engagement, or whether I could use their logos in my promotional materials. In my business, confidentiality is so important, and yet I need to be able to talk about the work as reputation and experience leads to the next success, and so on. It turned out a lot of the contacts I had known had left the organisations where the work was done, so they couldn’t help at that point. So the practice I’m carrying forward is to get those agreements up front, and to make sure my relationships in client systems are broad as well as deep.

How do you unwind?
Science fiction, puzzles, wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Home. I don’t travel to relax, I travel to learn and explore.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Built to Change, by Ed Lawler and Chris Worley. To my knowledge, it’s the first pivot from advising organisations away from stability and toward dynamism, from strategic planning to strategizing as an action verb; to blow up the traditions and rigidity that impede organisations from developing change capability.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re taught that there are two kinds of people: those who see forests, and those who see trees. There is a third type, my type, and we see the ecosystem. Worms, climate, birds, the spaces in between. This is the perspective organisations need to be successful in solving complex problems and thriving in change.
ChangeFlow uniquely blends four disciplines (two of which are multi-disciplinary in themselves): organisation development, culture and inclusion, change management and project management.

How can people connect with you?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangeFlowConsulting/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmorriskipnis/
LinkedIn Company page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4862954/
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.changeflowconsulting.com

Twitter handle?
@ChangeFlow

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Callum Connects

Agnes Yee, Legal & Compliance Recruiter of Space Executive

Published

on

Agnes Yee started Space Executive in Singapore, which is a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

What’s your story?
After graduation, I joined a design media company as a Business Development Executive, during the era when ‘reading a magazine online’ was unheard of. I believe that laid the foundation for being unfazed by rejections.

I fell into recruitment pre-GFC and rode the highs and lows in the early years. A decade later, I decided to set up my own recruitment company, partly because I could. I’m acutely aware of the face that being an Asian female in Singapore is sometimes a privilege, and that many women in the world are living a very different existence.
Thereafter, we joined Space Executive as part of a merger. I am currently the Partner of Space Executive, a recruitment company focused specialist disciplines, including Legal, Finance, Digital, Sales and Marketing and Change. We also run Space Ventures, a venture capital business, which invests in seed and pre-series A businesses.

What excites you most about your industry?
On a daily basis, we’re influencing how one spends a third of their day. It is interesting how the Internet has transformed the industry, and I’m excited to see how we can harness technology to bring us to the next phase of this business.

The VC is an extension of applying our skills and experience in reading people. We very much invest in the people as much as the idea. Being a native Singaporean, it’s been exhilarating watching Southeast Asia becoming a hotbed of ideas; and young entrepreneurs simply daring to dream.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I love that I speak both English and Mandarin, grew up playing with Indian friends and eating Malay food.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore for the low barriers of entry to set up a business, but has to be China (and Hong Kong) for their hunger and constant innovation.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
青春不要留白 which translates to ‘Don’t waste your youth.’

Who inspires you?
Anyone who has gone against the grain.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It wasn’t recent but reading the article on https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html never fails to blow my mind how little time we have left. Charting our lives in weeks, and realising I only have enough time left to enjoy 60 Christmas turkeys, read 300 books (all if I’m lucky); and mostly, I’m left with the last 5% of the time that I spend in-person with my parents.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’m cognisant that every decision I made in life has brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t change one thing. But I’d really like to have had more time to travel.

How do you unwind?
Exercise and wine.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Trekking any mountain in Asia. It brings us back to the most basic. To overcome elements of nature and our own mind.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Start with Why, Simon Sinek

Shameless plug for your business:
Space Executive started in Singapore, a hub for businesses in some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We assist organisations in accessing a targeted and specialised, and often times transient talent pool.

Out of Singapore, we have recruited across 14 countries; and have embarked on our global expansion plans with offices in Hong Kong and London this year, and US, Japan and Europe in the following years.

Space Ventures provides funding, management and financial guidance to young businesses with original ideas. We have invested in peer to peer lending platforms, credit scoring, social media education, and other start-ups spanning diverse industries. We are always interested in hearing more about new ideas.

How can people connect with you?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/agnesyee/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

Continue Reading

Trending