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Don’t Blame Millennials’ 'Shortcomings' for Your Talent Shortages

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Today’s oldest Millennials are turning 38 this year. A cohort born from 1981 onward, Millennials have been harshly labeled as coddled, entitled, self-involved and lazy. But are they really that bad?

In Japan, Millennials are marching towards top-level management, representing 30% of executives, compared with 17% worldwide. In the U.S., according to Forbes, 83% of managers today are Millennials. Yet, despite their prominent position in the workplace this generation continues to be maligned. Complaints about their lack of skills are blamed for talent shortages but perhaps we’re missing the bigger picture.

The Manpower Group’s recent 2018 survey of 39,195 employers in 43 countries and territories shows 34% of Australian employers can’t fill open jobs – a figure lower than the 45% global average. Large U.S. companies have even more recruitment difficulty – 67% reported talent shortages in 2018.

While securing talent is complex, Millennials are not necessarily to blame. Organizations can work around talent shortages by shedding stereotypes, really getting to know this cohort (and next-in-line generations), and using recruiting tools that speak to, engage, and tap into what these populations offer.

Broaden your talent pool.

This is a good place to start. Introduce digital nomads and contract employees into your talent pool mix. Instead of limiting yourself to the same database of candidates, consider lifting some of the job requirements to attract people who have the transferable skills, but who may not otherwise have applied.

Keep in mind, candidates who have excellent qualifications may not have used the right keywords and are, therefore, often filtered out. If you aren’t getting enough or the right kinds of candidates, take a second look at those rejected by your Applicant Tracking Systems.

Increase internal training.

If you can’t find the people you need outside the business, grow those you have within. Evaluate current training and up-skilling opportunities and identify employees interested in branching into new areas. Millennials are the first truly tech-savvy generation to hit the workforce and they’re not willing to “fall behind”.

They seek different kinds of training, especially in the form of e-learning via educational mobile applications, gaming simulations, and other non-traditional types of learning approaches. Use learning and career development as the recruiting and retention tools they are.

Remember those millennial executives in Japan? Only 5 % say their companies provide adequate resources to nurture and develop talent.

Get creative with your attraction methods.

Candidates are consumers too. Attract and engage the best and brightest by becoming a master marketer. Adopt new ways to get in front of the right people. The resources to make the process personalized and exciting are almost endless. Look at employee review websites like Indeed and Glassdoor to get a sense of your organization’s reputation.

Millennials want to work for an organization with a purpose and be a part of something bigger than profit making. Make a positive employer impression by becoming more visible on social media, conferences, and your corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Break down geographical boundaries.

Overcome the challenges of sourcing talent by looking beyond your own city, country or even continent for the right hires. After all, as discussed at the 2018 SHRM Talent Management Conference, “it’s the journey that’s the true reward,” for Millennials. “It’s why they care so much about company culture, transparency, having a voice, and feeling passionate about what they do.” Opportunities to experience a new environment can be a compelling recruitment tool.

Redefine roles.

One of the most common pain points among HR professionals is applicants with great skill sets but limited work experience. Work with managers to understand what’s really required. Forbes columnist, Liz Ryan recommends if a job opening remains open 60 days after posting unless there’s a candidate already identified and an offer on the way, the job opening should be killed. “I would not have been successful as an HR person if I hadn't figured out how to tell a hiring manager when half their goofy Essential Job Requirements had to go.”

We have a number of events coming up that will dive into the opportunities and challenges of hiring multiple generations for one workplace, check them out below and sign up!

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