Millennials are projected to become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce in 20151
The majority of hiring managers now say hard skills trump personality when hiring
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — October 29, 2014 — Elance-oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace, and Millennial Branding, a Gen Y consulting firm, today announced results of a new study, “The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce.” Findings reveal that millennials are the generation considered best at key skills businesses require to remain agile and innovative. Millennials’ advantages over prior generations include the ability to adapt, come up with fresh ideas and keep up to date on emerging technology.
The survey was fielded in the United States among 1,039 millennials (21 - 32 years old, with a bachelor’s, Master’s degree or postgraduate degree) and 200 hiring managers (33+ years old and responsible for recruitment or HR strategy within their business). For full results, please visit: http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce. Results highlights are also in this infographic.
Millennials are poised to drive the future of business
In 2015, millennials will become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, and 28% of millennial respondents said that they are already in management positions. A full two-thirds say they expect to be in management by 2024.
Nearly seven out of ten (68%) hiring managers say millennials have skills prior generations do not, and more than eight out of ten (82%) hiring managers feel that millennials are technologically adept. In addition, 60% of hiring managers agree that millennials are quick learners.
The majority (53%) of hiring managers report difficulty finding and retaining millennial talent, more than three times the number who say it is "easy." The study also found that 58% of millennials expect to stay in their jobs fewer than three years. This contrasts with previous generations, with Gen X (born between 1965 - 1981) leaving a company in 5 years on average and Baby Boomers (born between 1945 - 1964) leaving in 7 years on average2.
In the “millennial majority workforce,” hard skills reign
In order to fill their job openings, hiring managers are prioritizing hard skills over personality. 55% say they focus more on hard skills when hiring, versus only 21% who say they focus more on attitude or personality. 45% of hiring managers expect to become even more skills-focused in ten years (versus only 11% who expect to become more personality-focused). This is a shift, given research as recent as 2013 found that soft skills were most important, followed by hard skills5.
As focus on skills increases, companies are adopting new hiring methods. 41% of hiring managers plan to hire more freelancers in the next five years. Top benefits of hiring freelancers that the hiring managers cited include: ability to start work immediately, access to specific skills and scaling as needs change.
“It’s absurd that while we see a record level of job openings, millennials are struggling to find jobs and companies struggle to hire them,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. “Clearly, something is broken. Technology has forever changed where, when and how we work. Millennials are already more adaptable and focused on flexibility than generations before them. Businesses need to move more in this direction as well.”
Millennials are viewed as more adaptable, creative and solo-oriented than the generation before them
Hiring managers, asked to choose whether millennials or the generation before them were more likely to possess an attribute, painted the following picture:
Among the characteristics that hiring managers see millennials possessing, a number lend themselves to independent career paths. The survey found that freelancing appeals to the vast majority of millennials. 79% of millennials say they would “consider quitting their regular job and working for themselves” in the future. These millennials cited flexibility, the ability to choose what they work on and control of their own destiny as top reasons why they would choose to freelance.
“Hiring managers express the unflattering belief that millennials are more narcissistic than the previous generation. At the same time, they view millennials as more open to change, creative and entrepreneurial, the very qualities that fuel agility and innovation,” said Jaleh Bisharat, SVP of Marketing at Elance-oDesk. “That millennials are different is to be expected -- they need to be. They are inventing what it means to be successful in a technology-driven world where workdays are infinite, needs change on a dime and independence and flexibility are at a premium.”
Elance-oDesk is creating the world’s largest online workplaces. Cumulatively, 3.7 million businesses and 9.3 million freelancers have tapped into www.Elance.com and www.oDesk.com to access talent via the Internet.
As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, talent—like software, shopping and communications before it—is shifting to the cloud. This shift is making it faster and easier for businesses to hire for the skills they need, when they need them, while freeing professionals from set time and place work.
Freelancers are expected to earn more than $900 million in 2014 via Elance and oDesk. Elance-oDesk is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Oslo, Norway.
About Millennial Branding
Millennial Branding is a Gen Y research and management consulting firm based in New York, NY. Millennial Branding helps companies understand the emerging millennial employee by providing research, training, and advisory services. As representatives of millennials and advisers to management, our goal is to provide research and insights that will make you more profitable, grow your market share, help you understand your millennial employees, and turn you into an industry leader. As ambassadors to millennials, we want to give our generation a voice, support their careers, and connect them with brands that understand their needs.
About Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages. Dan is a columnist at both TIME and FORBES, and has been featured in over 1,000 media outlets, such as “The Today Show” on NBC and “Power Lunch” on CNBC, and “Fox & Friends” on Fox News. He’s spoken at Google, NBC Universal, McGraw-Hill, Oracle, Harvard Business School, MIT, Time Warner, IBM, and CitiGroup. Dan was named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2010, the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2012, and BusinessWeek cites him as someone entrepreneurs should follow.
About Red Brick Research
Red Brick Research is an internationally renowned youth strategy and insight consultancy headquartered in London, UK. Working with top consumer brands, educators, investors and governments, Red Brick delivers insights and strategic advice, supported by business consulting, research, marketing, communications and brand-development partnerships. The firm’s goal is to connect decision makers to emerging markets and demographics, to seek out and maximize new opportunities and turn global players into global winners.
This survey was conducted by independent research firm Red Brick Research on behalf of Elance-oDesk from September 1 - September 10, 2014, among 1,039 Millennials (21 - 32 years old) and 200 hiring managers (33+ years old). Millennials were graduates with a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or another postgraduate qualification. hiring managers were company owners or managers with responsibility over recruitment or HR strategy within their business. The estimated sampling error for the Millennials was +/- 3.2% and for the hiring managers was +/- 6.9%. Millennial results were weighted to ensure demographic representation across sample, based on figures from the United States Census Bureau.