Industry News

TMCNet:  Growing the workforce of tomorrow [Public Record, The (Riverside, CA)]

[September 18, 2014]

Growing the workforce of tomorrow [Public Record, The (Riverside, CA)]

(Public Record, The (Riverside, CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Millennials, or Generation Y, is the demographic cohort usually defined as being born between 1982 and 1993. Today they range in age from 21 to 32. Two-thirds of them have college degrees and they want to work for "innovative" companies, according to Millennial branding expert Dan Schawbel. He will be giving the keynote address at the 2014 Coachella Valley Economic Summit on Oct. 30.

Recruiting and retaining workers in the Gen Y cohort is very different from what employers are used to. "They see the workplace as their second home. Co-workers and managers are their 'second family.' They like flexible work hours and want to know their position has (positive) impact on the company. They also like to work for a company that gives back to society," said Schawbel.

Millennials also don't give much thought to retirement. They expect to be working their entire lives because they think Social Security funds will be gone when they reach retirement age. This could have a profound impact on industries that cater to seniors.

Strapped with high college debt, they seek jobs in major cities both for the excitement of big city life and because they don't have the money to pay for a car. "The economy has really hurt them. That's the reason why Zipcar has become so popular," he said. is one of several online car-sharing services that have emerged in recent years. Schawbel added that environmentally conscious Millennials would prefer to buy electric cars - if they could afford them.

If you're marketing to Millennials, the keywords are "rent" and "online." "Millennials are a little bit more thrifty than previous generations; they are very value-driven. It's more about the consumer service, it's more about the experience; it's about the technology and the accessibility of the store. They are also a generation of renters," he said. Renting provides this generation with the benefits of immediate gratification at a lower price point and the ability to easily upgrade to the latest and greatest product.

The rental mindset plays havoc with their social relationships, however. "Their divorce rate is 50 percent - it's part of the 'why buy when you can rent' mentality," said Schawbel.

A 2012 study by Stewart Friedman of the Wharton School at the University of Pennyslvania revealed that only 42 percent of Millenials said they wanted children compared to 78 percent of those in Generation X (the cohort born from the mid-60s through the early 80s). With the average cost of raising a child to age 18 reaching a quarter of a million dollars (not including the cost of their college education), this finding should not be surprising. Experts say this trend is a benefit to employers because Millennials without family responsibilities will put in more time at work, but a decline in childbearing could have a severe economic impact on industries like education.

A recent study commissioned by American Express and conducted by Schawbel's firm Millennial Branding revealed both managers and Gen Y's are on the same page when it comes to workplace success. However, while Gen Y workers have a positive view of their managers, believing that their managers can offer experience (59 percent), wisdom (41 percent), and a willingness to mentor (33 percent), managers have an overall negative view of their Gen Y employees. They feel said employees have unrealistic compensation expectations (51 percent), a poor work ethic (47 percent), and are easily distracted (46 percent).

Gen Y's don't get enough feedback at work and want mentors. Both managers (48 percent) and Gen Y's (46 percent) give and receive annual performance reviews. Twenty percent of managers and 19 percent of Gen Y's don't give or receive any type of formal review. Fifty-three percent of Gen Y's said that a mentoring relationship would help them become a better and more productive contributor to their company.

In-person meetings and email trump technology at work. Despite new technologies like Skype and social networks, traditional forms of communication are still the most common ways that both managers and Gen Y's interact. Sixty-six percent of managers say that in-person meetings are their preferred way of communicating with Gen Y's and 62 percent of employees feel the same way about how they communicate with their managers. The second most popular way of communicating between managers and Gen Y's was email. Twenty-six percent of managers and 25 percent of Gen Y's prefer using email.

Entrepreneurial Millennials are attracted to a new form of communal offices, referred to as "coworking spaces." San Francisco's RocketSpace offers gym style memberships that provide individuals a communal space with drop-in use of desks, kitchens, unlimited Internet and unlimited printing. Their website says it's an ideal solution for "individual entrepreneurs who only spend a couple of days a week in the office." RocketSpace membership is restricted to technology-focused businesses, however.

In Palm Springs, The Five Hundred, is a class A office building that offers a variation on-the theme of coworking spaces. Offices of various sizes are leased in the traditional model, but the building offers several community amenities not usually found outside of large cities: a communal conference room, a espresso bar and a sundries shop.

What follows Generation Y? Generation Z, of course. There is still little consensus on what to call this cohort or how to define it, but perhaps the most accurate descriptor would be "digital natives," as this generation has grown up with technology in the palm of their hand practically from birth. It will also be a diverse group, with only 55 percent being Caucasian. More than any previous generation, they are more likely to have a social circle of friends from different ethnic backgrounds. "They are more realistic and less optimistic. They are more open-minded and entrepreneurial," said Schawbel.

The 2014 Coachella Valley Economic Summit, hosted by the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership will be held at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert Thursday, Oct. 30, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. followed by a hosted reception.

This annual conference is noted for its comprehensive overview of the Coachella Valley's recent economic progress as presented by Dr. John Husing, a research economist specializing in the study of the Southern California's economy. His primary focus over 45 years has been the Inland Empire, studying the area's changing economic infrastructure and growth of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Last year's summit drew more than 800 attendees and limited sponsorships are still available. For more information, call (760) 340-1575 or register at

(c) 2014 Desert Publication, Inc. and Sharon Apfelbaum

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