New Millennials at Work: How They're Changing the Workforce

millennials at work

All this week, Solutions at Work LIVE is hosting employer discussions about work/life insights and innovative approaches to employee supports. Follow along at #SAWLIVE and check back next week for all the news from this Bright Horizons annual event.

It's not surprising that a lot of ink is currently being spent on the cost of a college education.

It's that time of year, after all...when students are not only fielding "yeses" and "nos" from the colleges they applied to; they're also hunched over calculators trying to assess which rolled-out red carpet comes with enough green to make it a truly viable option.

What Millennials are Thinking

Those kinds of equations are making for some pretty savvy young consumers, and even factoring into how Millennials as of this year, the largest segment of the workforce are making employment decisions later on.

We asked Millennials in a recent study about what matters to them professionally. And the new Millennials at work will surprise you. Far from the job-hopping slackers they've been branded, they're proving thoughtful and forthright about both their desire for meaningful careers, and what's important when they sign on the employment-contract dotted line.

Among other things, they told us they're planning ahead, already thinking about their senior (as in elder...not college) years. In their young lives, they've already seen a recession and its fallout; they're also entering the workforce substantially in the red, shouldering tens of thousands of the collective trillion-plus dollars of student debt and wondering if they'll ever be able to buy a house - or retire.

That's making them take a pragmatic approach to planning their futures, from the earliest decisions about where to go to school, to follow-up choices about who they want to work for and what rates as professional priorities.

Some Millennial Study Highlights

  • one-in-three say they expect their employer to help repay existing student loans
  • one-in-two expect financial support in paying for further education
  • nearly 60% would pick a job with strong potential for professional development over one with regular pay raises

what millennials want from work infographic from EdAssist and Bright Horizons

Enter Millennials, Exit Boomers

These choices are sure to inform more than just personal preferences. With Millennials on the cusp of dethroning Boomers as the biggest force on employment rosters, their preferences about jobs and how they work are sure to have ripples throughout the business world.

Smart employers are already sizing up their options. Education is being recognized as a priority, and companies like Starbucks - now expanding their already far-reaching education program - are taking note.

Ultimately, these kinds of surprising facts are going to provide the roadmap for tomorrow's workforce, showing not only how to attract these top employees, but also what's going to light up their performances, and set the stage for tomorrow's big success stories.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.