The Great Recession may have made many Millennials more sober about their job prospects but for the most talented of my generation, the economic difficulties of 2008 hardly registered as anything more than steeper online shopping discounts. In fact, in the last 8 years, they have become increasingly difficult to court in the labor market as demand for their skills has increased. At The Data Incubator, we work with hundreds of hiring companies looking to hire Millennial PhDs from our selective data science fellowship program. We’ve watched hiring companies kill their buzz with a few poorly chosen words and others overcome widespread prejudices to win even the most skeptical of candidates. Here’s how:
Be flexible. The most talented millennials often don’t emphasize financial remuneration as much as workplace flexibility. Millennials love flexible hours and take-as-much-as-you-want vacation policies. They prefer telecommuting for one-off meetings on another coast and view face time as a waste of time, especially if it cuts into time with family and friends.
Some employers would call this laziness. But in our experience, Millennials are not seeking fewer hours but control over when they spend their hours. The most talented Millennials are workaholics. These bright, ambitious workers will work in the evenings after taking off early to meet with friends. They never manage to take more than 2 weeks of vacation a year but hate being nickeled and dimed when they have to take a few hours off to take their kids to the pediatrician. Savvy employers understand that good employees will find this freedom liberating and feel empowered to do their best work.
Obviously, the company culture may not be be compatible with the entire workplace-flexibility wishlist. But many traditional large corporates have started moving (either at the Corporate level or the individual group level) towards greater flexibility. Competitive pressure may force others to catch up.
Channel your inner startup. Startups are all the rage. Everyone wants to be a part of a dynamic organization on the cutting edge of disruption, especially Millennials. What’s an established corporate to do? One of our hiring partners is a large multinational looking to hire data scientists to shore up an aging multibillion-dollar franchise. Yet, they are one of our most popular employers and have dozens of our top PhD fellows vying to work for them each quarter. What are they doing differently?
The hiring group markets themselves as the successful startup within a larger organization.