Today, the average young professional will have seven jobs before she turns 30 and it’s not uncommon for some to have a new job every six months. However, the election of Donald Trump, terrorist attacks in Europe and Brexit have left young professionals feeling uneasy and seeking employment with stability.
The New Millennial Professional Dream: Full-Time Stability With Freelance Flexibility
According to a 2016 survey of 8,000 Millennials in 30 countries by Deloitte, young professionals are now feeling reticent to leave stable jobs. In spite of the advantages and perceived flexibility that comes with #freelancelife, two-thirds of young professionals are now seeking full-time and stable employment. The new young professional dream is full-time job stability with freelance flexibility.
In 2017 Millennials will increasingly pursue loyal relationships with their employers and will respond best to a flexible professional lifestyle. Deloitte reports that flexible working hours, a flexible role, a flexible recruitment experience and a flexible working location are extremely desired, and also directly linked to high performance and employee retention. “Compared to those in “low-flexibility” environments, those employed where flexible working is highly embedded are twice as likely to say it has a positive impact on organizational performance and personal well-being.”
Employers and recruiters should know that Millennials are obsessed with having a positive influence on each aspect of their work, and flexibility and accountability are directly correlated. Deloitte’s report shows that, the more flexibility a Millennial has at work, the more accountable they feel for the reputation of the organization.
Lo and behold, Millennials want the best of both worlds
Millennials are often criticized for having their cake and wanting to eat it too, and this survey proves par for the course. Millennials are asking for full-time job security with freelance flexibility, and employers will have to adjust to accommodate this request if they want young thought leaders to move the needle within their organizations.
Flexible working practices will likely bring the next big change in office culture.
“Our survey shows how millennials recognize the obvious potential benefits of automation in terms of productivity and economic growth; they also see it providing opportunities for value-added or creative activities, or the learning of new skills. In many respects, therefore, automation could be regarded as a route via which, if they adapt accordingly, millennials (and other employees) can increase their influence within organizations rather than see it diminished.”
The potential downside is that not all young professionals, and Millennials, have the personalities and behaviours required to respond well to automation. For those who aren’t socially engaged and entrepreneurial, or self-motivated, the risk of losing their jobs feels greater. While “super-connected” Millennials feel like freelance flexibility will improve their professional lives and personal well-being, those who aren’t “super-connected” and not behaviourally programmed to be self-motivated outside a typical office environment feel less confident about the future of employment.
In 2017, organizational recruiters and leaders can leverage the allure of a flexible working environment to attract some of the best and brightest Millennial talent, but they will have to design and facilitate new flexible programs to ensure that accountability and productivity track in accordance. A new challenge for recruiters and HR departments will be to accommodate Millennial employees who aren’t self-motivated to succeed outside of a traditional office environment, and prefer the classical 9-5 professional lifestyle.
Read the full Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017.