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Why you want Millennials on your team

By Catherine Finley


Stereotypes about millennials are as abundant as the demographics’ presence in today’s workforce, which will account for three quarters of the global workforce by 2025. Society’s most buzzed-about generation is frequently perceived as one that prioritizes experiences over financial security and one that is happy to jump between jobs without giving a lot of thought to long-term career goals.

However, new research suggests that those common perceptions of the millennial generation are highly inaccurate. A new study by American Express Canada and Catalyst Canada supports what Amex has learned from working with this generation for years: millennials are worth investing in and are a highly valuable part of today’s workforce.

Millennials are ambitious, possess a strong work ethic and are invested in their careers and finances.

Many executives have weighed in on the “millennial debate,” with a large majority of them supporting the infamous stereotypes. Millennials as a whole are believed to be entitled, noncommittal to their employers and keen to spend money on experiences rather than saving for the future, especially when compared to earlier generations.

However, research findings from the survey of young professionals suggest otherwise. Millennial women are likely to maneuver between workplaces in the early stages of their careers – around 78 per cent had worked for multiple companies thus far in their careers. Despite this, a majority (54 per cent) is still likely to remain at an organization when they find one that supports their aspirations. When it comes to investing in their future, millennial women are more inclined to associate success with achieving their financial goals (74 per cent) than their more experienced female counterparts. The data demonstrates millennials’ commitment to personal career development and a strong connection with their current employer.


They enact positive change in the workplace

Millennial men and women are proving to be a powerful source of positive change and a key way they achieve it is through mentorship: A near majority of millennials (46 per cent) are more likely to have a mentor than their colleagues over 35. These networks are vital as they help foster a corporate culture that not only attracts, but maintains millennial talent.

While positive change is on the rise, there is an untapped opportunity for men to do more to further equality and progress in the workplace. When it comes to mentorship, women primarily support each other (83 per cent of women are mentors to other women). The research also suggests millennial men realize there is more work to be done on their end in order to advance progress and equality for women. Almost two thirds of millennial men (65 per cent) believe they need to make more sacrifices in their personal lives than the prior generation of working men in order to be successful. The findings suggest millennial women’s commitment to enforcing positive change in the workplace encourages the same behaviour in their male counterparts, a vital step towards true equality for men and women.

It’s critical that corporate Canada find ways to engage and support millennials, a generation that brings its own unique skill set and perspective to all manner of industries. American Express aims to foster a corporate culture that attracts and retains millennial talent by offering flexible hours, a work-from-home policy and mentorship/sponsorship opportunities; values that millennials consider when determining whether an organization meets their needs.

When employers create an environment that appeals to millennials’ needs – communicating values, promoting mentorship/sponsorship networks and offering internal and external development opportunities – they will be rewarded with longevity and loyalty by their millennial employees. The survey’s key takeaway demonstrated that when millennials find an organization with compatible values, they are willing to work hard and make a long-term commitment to their career and to their workplace.


Catherine Finley is vice president, human resources North America for American Express.




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