Ideas for Leaders #516

Millennials 2: Concerned about Opportunities for Growth and Quality of Life

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Key Concept

A new global survey shows Millennials from different regions of the world have different fears about their work lives. On average, the number one fear was getting stuck in a job with no development opportunities. In Latin America, however, the fear of not realizing their career goals dominated, while North Americans feared working too much most of all. (Editor's Note: This article is based on Part 2 of the survey)  

Idea Summary

Growing up in an era of stagnating wages and increasing youth unemployment, one could forgive Millennials for being a bit pessimistic. This is not the case, however, according to a global study of Millennials conducted in 2014 and co-sponsored by the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute, the HEAD Foundation and Universum. The study, which surveyed Millennials in 43 countries, showed that more than 70% of them believe they will have a higher standard of living than their parents. There was some disparity among the different regions of the world. While 85% of Eastern and Central Europeans and 81% of Africans were optimistic about living better than their parents, only 51% of Western Europeans shared this view.

Millennials did have some very concrete fears about their work life. The greatest fear (ranked no. 1 by a global average of 40% of Millennials) was getting stuck is a job with no development opportunities. Millennials were also concerned about not realizing their career goals (32%) and not finding a job that matches their personality (32%).

Once again there were striking differences among the regions. In Latin American, 49% of Millennials were afraid of not realizing their career goals, which was significantly higher than in other regions. In the Middle East, 46% of Millennials were concerned that they would not find a job that matched their personality — also a result that was significantly higher than any other region. In Africa, the “outlier” result was a fear that they would not get the chances they deserved because of their ethnic background (22%, which was significantly above the average from other regions). In general, though, Africans had fewer worries than their counterparts in other parts of the world. Their number one fear was getting stuck with no development opportunities, but that was chosen by only 28% of respondents.

Business Application

Employers tend to mass Millennials into a homogeneous group with the same strengths, weaknesses and aspirations. The INSEAD survey, however, shows that employers in different areas of the globe require different strategies to attract and retain the new generation of workers. Talent management begins with understanding the most significant fears of Millennials in your region.

For employers in Latin America to recruit and retain talented employees, for example, they must allay the fears of Latin American Millennials about not realizing their career goals — a fear that nearly half of them said was their principal concern (compared to just a third in other regions of the world). Employers in North America must focus on calming the fear of working too much, a much greater fear in that region than elsewhere. In the Middle East, employers must assure recruits that they will find a job that can match their personalities.

Millennials are a diverse group, not the simple homogeneous generation that’s become an accepted stereotype among managers. HR managers must base their Millennials-targeted talent management and professional development strategies on in-depth country-level research (even among regions, there is disparity among nations), or those strategies have a much greater chance of failure. 

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Idea conceived

  • December 2014

Idea posted

  • May 2015

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