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Millennials (Gen Y)

(May 01, 2006) Be sure to take a look at Today's Bugler which is a special edition on "Millennials". The Wikipedia entry on Generation Y is really worth reading. Millennials (or Generation Y) is that group of people born (roughly) between 1981 and 2001.  They are also called The Net Generation, Millennials, Echo Boomers, The We Generation and The Google Generation.

(There's a large amount of disagreement on the actual dividing points. Some say the beginning was 1976. Some say the end was last year. The  debate is caused by the lack of a single defining event, like World War II for baby boomers, that could define the start or end point.)

However you define them, they are coming into the workplace. The first of them have already landed. Like the generations that have preceded them, they pose specific problems and issues in Recruitment and Retention.

We got to thinking about this while listening to a podcast (on the ipod while walking the beach) from TargetX. TargetX is a provider of interactive marketing technology and services to nearly 400 colleges and universities. In 2004, TargetX launched a division called iRecruit that is challenging the college admissions world with a new approach to recruiting today's Millennial generation. If you are preparing to woo this next generation, you'll want to investigate their knowledge base and immerse yourself in their technology webinar.

In many rich countries, the 1980s and 1990s were a period of rapidly falling birthrates. In Southern Europe and Japan, and less markedly in Northern and Eastern Europe, Generation Y is dramatically smaller than any of its predecessors, and its childhood years tended to be marked by small families, both immediate and extended, small classes at school and school closures.

There are massive legal and social issues associated with the entry of this group into the workplace. Their Gen X managers and supervisors are more than a little suspicious.

Social norms are different. Respect for authority is low. Teamwork and networking (not data, relationships) are an intrinsic part of existence. Single child behavior, a relative rarity in preceding generations, is commonplace. Flip flops are shoes. With a short eight year exception, the white house has always had a guy named George Bush. Men wear two earrings.

Here are a couple of ideas for recruiting this group:

  • Emphasize the Internet in your recruitment strategy. Create media that is modern and upbeat, focusing on unique ways to deliver information. Also, provide lots of online tools to help candidates learn about the company and interact with recruiters. The trendsetters are using Instant Messaging, Blogs, And Job Ads with Comment capabilities (BlogAds)
  • Create a high impact recruiting message. Generation Y is used to being marketed to and need a very distinctive message to get their attention. A genuine, straightforward approach usually works best.
  • Deliver a work culture with options. Work-life balance is very important to Generation  Y. They groups want flexibility, learning opportunities, relationships with decision-makers, challenging work projects, responsibility, and personalized career development. They are very used to strong personal relationships with their elders.

 John Sumser . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler

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