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How to successfully attract and retain millennials on your team (especially in software development)

Millennials, defined as people born after 1983, are pushing for transformation in their professional lives all over the world. You might be in for a bad surprise if you don’t understand and are unwilling to cater to their demands. Here’s some questions you should consider when trying to attract and retain millennials on your team regardless of their location.

The numbers were taken from an international study conducted by Kelly Services in 2015, which included 164,000 people from 28 countries.

1) What are the main factors for choosing a new job?

Salary is priority #1, followed by career growth (65%) and employer reputation/job security (62%).

The next three major considerations are work/life balance, company location and commute time, and company culture and values. Specifically in IT, it is interesting to note that 20 years ago for many programmers, programming was life. This trend seems to be changing, whereas more and more millennial programmers are looking for a work/life balance to make more room for life – which is no longer necessarily just programming.

In short: Well-paying, secure job with convenient work/life & commuting options.

2) What can make millennials consider a lower salary?

The top categories that would make millennials consider a lower salary (30% of respondents) was flexible work time and remote or work from home. Another 26% cited that a short work day would make them sacrifice some salary. The last two largest categories were opportunity to leave for creative work and possibility of a self-paid vacation.

In short: Employee packages should contain flexible work and vacation options.

3) How often are millennials willing to switch jobs?

Millennials are very likely to switch jobs. 51% of millennial employees are actively seeking a new job or will immediately consider another employer.

They will on average have 12 jobs before they’re 40, so the average tenure is only about 18.

In short: Top talent is likely to have high attrition, unless…

4) Why are millennials switching jobs?

46% of the respondents stated that their primary reason for a job change is because of lack of career growth. This career growth is expected to occur quickly – there’s a high demand for managerial positions after only 3-6 months of employment (often with no relation to real skills). Yet, unfortunately, 39% of new managers fail during the first 3 months, and only 40% of companies have programs in place that help employees grow into leaders.

Action: Be prepared to grow your millennials from day one.

5) When do millennials decide whether a job is a good fit?

33% of employees decide if they stay with the company during the very first week of employment. The remaining 63% decide during the first month. So, the first week and the first month of employment are the most critical factor for retention!

Action: Ensure proper on-boarding during day 1 and plan extra activities during first weeks of employment. Retention should occur within the first week of work.

So what?

The millennial generation has been characterized as one that will have multiple jobs going on at the same time. To that end, employers will do well to cater to millennial interests by offering flexible employment packages, tackling millennial creative curiosity, and developing internal leadership programs.

Intetics has already embraced the remote, flexible work environment demanded by millennials. Our business models, such as Offshore Dedicated Team and Remote In-sourcing, are a direct result of that – they allow us to run distributed teams most efficiently.

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