4 Things Millennials Look for in a First Job


4 Things Millennials Look for in a First Job


Believe it or not, it’s been close to a decade since Millennials entered the workforce, and HR departments continue to struggle with attracting and retaining this generation. In fact, a recent survey of 7,700 college-educated Millennials with full-time jobs revealed that Millennials express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits for a new job.

Based on patterns and observations over the past several years, employers have some insight on what this generation is searching for in potential jobs. Looking to add or retain Millennial talent? Here are some of the top things Millennials are looking for in an ideal job.

1. They are eager to move up in rank.

It isn’t a secret that this generation craves approval, and quickly. Opportunity for growth within a company is one of the most important elements of a first job for Millennials.

These young men and women are committed to finding their way to the top. They work hard to gain experience and seek ways to build their resumes, which often feature internships, extracurricular activities and projects aligned with their passions. Many of them have already had as many as four internships prior to college graduation.

Appeal to Millennials looking to move up in the ranks by showing a clear path to advancement and providing stepping-stones along the way. Consider adopting unique opportunities for leadership development, like allowing them to own a small piece of a larger project or encouraging them to head an internal office committee. Millennials want to know that you as the employer are bridging the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.

2. They appreciate training opportunities within the workplace.

Consider offering training opportunities as a way to both attract and retain Millennial talent. This could be a mentorship program for entry-level employees or regular training courses like webinars.

A formal mentorship program that allows employees to learn and receive feedback from their more experienced co-workers in a professional and friendly setting is a very attractive element, especially for entry-level employees. Millennials with a mentor feel that someone is interested in their professional development and often receive good advice at the same time.

3. They need a good work-life balance.

While Millennials are eager to get to work, they also value a good work-life balance. When money is removed from the equation, a good work-life balance and opportunities to take on leadership roles are what stand out to Millennial candidates. In most markets, a good work-life balance comes before career progression when evaluating job opportunities.

A few ways to help promote a healthy work-life balance that will be attractive to Millennial candidates include allowing employees to telecommute when needed, not requiring employees to answer emails on weekends or vacations, and providing necessary tech devices for work to help separate work and recreational use of technology.

4. They desire to work for companies that have a strong purpose.

Many Millennials want to work for companies that demonstrate a strong sense of company purpose beyond financial success. Millennials often seem to have one foot out the door in the direction of the next opportunity. In order to retain Millennial talent for more than five years, it’s important that the company or organization has relatable and attainable values.

The values that Millennials feel support long-term business success are the treatment of people, employee satisfaction, ethics and integrity. If your business shares these values, make sure that those are communicated to your employees both verbally and in writing. Widely accepted company values shared by employees will lead them to feel more satisfied with your company’s purpose.

With each new generation comes a wave of change. Businesses should strive to be ahead of the game in order to attract and retain the best talent in the large pool of Millennial job candidates.

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