Millennial talent: Winning over tomorrow’s marketing leaders
Many millennials express little loyalty to their current employers and are planning near-term exits. What’s driving this desire to seek new employment, and what steps can CMOs take to attract and retain the best talent?
Marketers have gone to great lengths to connect with millennial consumers, but are chief marketing officers (CMOs) taking the right steps to forge lasting relationships with their millennial employees?
It’s an increasingly important question for all business leaders, as millennials recently inched past other generations to corner the largest share of the labor market.1 Unfortunately, many millennials express little loyalty to their current employers and are planning near-term exits, according to the results of the 2016 Deloitte millennial survey.
If given the choice, 25 percent of millennials surveyed would leave their current employer in the next year, and 44 percent would leave in the next two years. By the end of 2020, two of every three respondents hope to have moved on, while only 16 percent of the nearly 7,700 millennials surveyed say they see themselves with their current employer a decade from now.
“This remarkable absence of loyalty represents a serious challenge to businesses employing a large number of millennials,” says Punit Renjen, chief executive officer (CEO) of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global). “Even millennials in senior positions express the intention to leave their organizations relatively soon.”
What millennials want
What’s fueling millennials’ desire to seek new employment? The survey results suggest several factors may be responsible, with the most significant being a perceived lack of leadership development opportunities.
Among survey respondents who anticipate leaving their current jobs in the next two years, 71 percent report dissatisfaction with their organization’s commitment to developing their leadership skills. The respondents who show the most loyalty to their employers (as indicated by their plans to stay put) were more likely to agree that their organizations actively encourage younger employees to aim for leadership roles and offer support and training to those individuals.
The survey results also hint that millennials’ interest in making a career move may be driven by their desire to work for businesses that demonstrate a strong sense of purpose, rather than narrowly focus on financial results. Forty percent of respondents who report high job satisfaction and 40 percent who plan to remain with their current employer beyond 2020 say their employers maintain a strong sense of purpose.
“Closing the ‘purpose gap’ will be critical to attracting and retaining millennials,” notes Renjen. “They want to work for organizations that are committed to their employees, create jobs, and provide goods and services that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Millennials place great importance on those priorities, and business leaders need to demonstrate a commitment to them.”
Guided by personal values
Millennials’ personal values and views on the contributions businesses should make to society tend to guide where they choose to work. More than half—56 percent of respondents—say they’ve ruled out working for an organization because of its values or conduct. Their selectivity may explain why 70 percent of respondents believe the organizations for which they currently work share their personal values. This figure rises to 82 percent among respondents who intend to stay with their employers for at least another five years.
Values also greatly influence millennials’ decisions about the specific assignments they’re willing to accept. Almost half (49 percent) responding have chosen not to undertake a project at work because it conflicted with their personal values or ethics. Among survey respondents in senior-level positions, 61 percent have refused an assignment at odds with their values.
The upshot? A majority of millennials surveyed don’t hesitate to stand their ground when asked to do something that goes against their values. In fact, when asked to rank the influence of different factors on their decision-making at work, personal values/morals top the list. More than half (55 percent) say this has a very high degree of influence, compared with 43 percent who say the same about meeting the organization’s formal objectives. The finding suggests future leaders may base their management decisions as much on their personal ideals as on the need to achieve specific organizational goals.
“A generation ago, many professionals sought long-term relationships with employers, and most would never dream of saying ‘no’ to supervisors,” notes Renjen. “But millennials are more independent than previous generations and more likely to put their values ahead of organizational goals. This could have a dramatic impact on how business is conducted in the future. In the near-term, it speaks to the ways in which businesses and their leaders should seek to recruit and retain millennials—with a value proposition that emphasizes purpose, social impact, and a commitment to developing employees.”
Published on July 5, 2016
1 Dr. Patricia Buckley, Dr. Peter Viechnicki, and Akrur Barua, A new understanding of Millennials: Generational differences reexamined, Deloitte University Press, October. 16, 2015, p. 2, http://dupress.com/articles/understanding-millennials-generational-differences/, accessed June 6, 2016.