Boosting diversity with Generation Y
Diversity of all kinds – age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability and more – affects the composition of a team and ensures a variety of viewpoints on business functions and decisions. Increased innovation and creativity stems from a diverse employee base.
Innovation-focused companies that want to succeed in attracting and retaining diverse top talent should pay very close attention to the changes Generation Y are bringing to the workforce. This demographic (also known as Millennials) is projected to comprise the majority of the workforce within the next decade. For organisations that want to recruit Gen Y job seekers – and every company will need to – it’s important to understand exactly what makes millennials tick.
Gen Y job seekers
This group cares about diversity, company ethics and giving back to their communities. In fact, a study from The Intelligence Group ®1 found that 64% of Gen Y would take a lower paying job they found fulfilling, even if given the opportunity to earn more than twice as much in an unfulfilling job.
In order to attract and retain this generation, finding ways to make work engaging will be essential. So, during the recruitment process, demonstrate how a position solves problems, increases efficiencies, or gives back. If you can effectively convey a diverse culture, along with traits that appeal to millennials, that will be more likely to attract this demographic.
Job-hopping Gen Y
Millennials often work multiple jobs in their first few years of adulthood, moving between self-employment and short stints with a variety of employers. While job-hopping is traditionally seen in a negative light, it’s simply a fact of life for the majority of Gen Y job seekers, due in part to limited economic opportunities for young graduates.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gen Y seeks a variety of experiences because they want to develop a diverse background of skills and capabilities in order to be more suited to the marketplace. Unlike generations before, millennials fully expect to experience a variety of positions with several companies. An organisation that can offer a variety of assignments, training sessions and clear pathways to increased responsibilities will be more likely to attract – and keep – millennial candidates.
In addition to expecting a diverse career, Gen Y is also the most digitally connected generation. They are mobile, social and always on the go. Companies that can connect with candidates on a variety of platforms and maintain flexibility for their employees are more likely to draw the attention and engagement of diverse millennial candidates.
Targeting diverse groups of Gen Y on social media requires knowing which candidates are using certain sites. For example, according to Pew, women dominate Pinterest as a social network, and half of all Internet-using adults between 18 and 29 years old use Instagram. Twitter is one of the most diverse social networks used by Gen Y to share their expertise and make professional connections.
Organisations that want to attract millennials need to have an online presence and, more importantly, one that transfers to mobile platforms. Mobile-optimized career sites and text message communications with a legally compliant opt-in method are keys to getting Gen Y to apply. Companies that stay ahead of the curve for social and mobile engagement will have access to a broader range of diverse millennial candidates.
Encourage diversity, foster innovation
Diverse, innovation-driven cultures don’t just spring up overnight. Success requires dedication and buy-in at all levels. A recruitment strategy focused on diversity might attract Gen Y, but they won’t stay long if the company’s policies and procedures don’t also reflect an ongoing commitment to diversity. Companies that develop a reputation for being diverse employers are more likely to attract the top talent that will take them to the next level in the years to come.
(1) U.S. Census Bureau, 2014;
(2) The Intelligence Group, 2014;
(3) PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2014;
(4) Pew Internet Research, 2014