Recruiting IT Talent: What are Millennials Looking for?
Born between 1980 and 1996, Millennials grew up alongside the explosion of tech, the internet, and social media, so naturally, many of them were drawn to careers in IT. As Millennials continue to dominate the tech labor force, companies may need to rethink their old recruiting tactics in order to win over these in-demand developers.
We sat down with two Softensity Millennials to find out what their generation is looking for, both from a recruitment and IT professional’s perspective. Camila Niedzwiecki is a Technical Recruiter based in Argentina, while Gabriel Cordeiro is a Senior Developer out of Brazil.
Why are Millennials Interested in Tech?
In a way, Millennials and the internet grew up together. Many Millennials raised Tamagotchis as kids and, in their teen years, were the first to create Facebook accounts. It’s not surprising, then, that a large number of people from this generation have a pronounced interest in technology. Many Softensity developers, like Vincent Burgos, aspired to design their own video games as kids, which led them to careers in IT.
But it’s not just an interest in technology that’s drawing this generation to the industry. Millennials graduated into the 2008 recession and experienced a global pandemic early in their careers, which explains the premium they put on stability. IT careers offer a reliable and generally above-average salary, and the industry has an incredibly low unemployment rate. It’s not hard to see why Millennials would be drawn to the steadfast world of technology.
Don’t believe everything you read online, especially when it comes to Millennial employees. For one, forget about avocado toast and fancy lattes. While Millennials do enjoy an Instagrammable moment, they care more about salary, benefits, and working conditions than small, occasional job perks.
Also, Millennials really want to work. Amidst the so-called Great Resignation, some may speculate the Millennials are lazy or entitled, but they want to make a living just as much as the generations before them. However, Millennials also want respect from their employer, and they aren’t afraid to make the leap to a new company if they feel their needs aren’t being met in their current position.
“My parents are 55 and 60, and they’ve worked for the same companies for their entire lives even though they don’t have the best work environment or benefits,” says Gabriel. “For Millennials, that simply isn’t an option.”
Working Remote … Or Not
Not all Millennials agree on whether or not they’d like to work in the office. While some employees like the camaraderie of working in office, others prefer the solitude and flexibility of working from home.
But Camila and Gabriel also reminded us not to assume which work environment is best for candidates. While some employees may not have the necessary transportation to work in an office, remote work might be an obstacle for others.
“Not everyone has the ability to work from home, especially in Latin America,” says Camila. “With kids or other factors, people may not have a quiet place to work, and need the office to focus.”
Of his experience both in-person and remote, Gabriel adds, “As an intern, I went into the office and made a lot of friends there, and as a junior developer it helped a lot to learn in-person. But now as a senior developer, the option to work from home is a must. It allows me to have a better work-life balance, and I love avoiding the commuter traffic.”
The key to landing Millennial IT professionals is to offer flexible, hybrid work environments where employees always have the option to work in office, but aren’t required to do so.
Supportive Company Culture
Millennials aren’t just looking for a paycheck. They want to continue their education, engage with their colleagues, and be themselves – and they will quickly move to a new company to get these core needs met.
Millennials want a work environment that supports their professional growth. Both Camila and Gabriel agree that staying put is unacceptable. Instead, they want to learn and always feel challenged. If companies want to attract ambitious and curious Millennials, they’ll need to cough up the necessary cash to pay for online courses, training books — and English lessons, if they work in other countries.
Beyond training opportunities, companies should support a healthy work-life balance. Millennials want personal connections, even when working remotely. Virtual hangouts, happy hours, or even just casual Slack conversations are necessary to create a desirable workplace environment for Millennials.
This generation also puts an emphasis on life in the work-life balance. Most don’t want to become “workaholics,” as Gabriel puts it, and instead, want to shut work completely out of their brains when they’re off the clock. Millennials are young and deeply connected to their social and family lives, so companies shouldn’t expect them to put in extra hours without extra compensation.
The Compensation Conversation
Clearly, Millennials are after more than a high-paying job – but a strong salary can never hurt. Companies need to be creative in offering incentives and perks while also being realistic about what their company can truly offer.
And the perks can – and should – be financial. At Softensity, both Gabriel and Camila appreciate that employees set three new goals for themselves twice a year, and if they meet their goals, they get a bonus. This combination of professional development and cash creates an exciting, rewarding, and supportive environment for everyone.
Millennials are becoming a greater part of the workforce each year, and it’s crucial to recognize that they have different standards when it comes to choosing an employer. While Millennials aren’t a monolith, HR teams should acknowledge that this generation generally wants flexibility, support, and a path toward growth from their employers.