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Millennials have hard time finding job they want

Staff writer |
Gallup's report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, reveals that 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.

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Comparatively, 44% of Gen Xers and 41% of baby boomers say the same about these types of opportunities. Millennials assign the most importance to this job attribute, representing the greatest difference between what this generation values in a new job and what other generations value.

Millennials care deeply about their development when looking for jobs and - naturally - in their current roles. An impressive 87% of millennials rate "professional or career growth and development opportunities" as important to them in a job - far more than the 69% of non-millennials who say the same.

Millennials' relatively greater emphasis on development might be, in part, related to their stage of life.

Gallup has found that "opportunities to learn and grow" is one of the top three factors in retaining millennials and the only aspect of retention that separates millennials' needs from those of non-millennials.

Regardless of the reasons behind millennials' desire to enhance their skills and further their careers, this aspect of employee development is a missed opportunity for managers.

Though millennials are most interested in opportunities to learn and grow, only 39% strongly agree that they learned something new in the past 30 days that they can use to do their jobs better. Slightly less than one in two millennials strongly agree that they have had opportunities to learn and grow in the past year.

One of the most consistent criticisms aimed at millennials is that they haven't "earned" their right to receive development opportunities. They shouldn't expect a company to invest in them until they can show they are worthy of such an investment. They aren't entitled to or owed the opportunity to develop.

Managers need to recognize that millennials don't feel entitled; they feel empowered. They want to expand their knowledge and skills, they want to be useful, and they want their work and workplace to have meaning to them.

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