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Millennials hungry for training

Millennial workers value and seek out training


January 25, 2016
By Retain Canada

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With Millennials set to make up half the Canadian labour force by 2020, your business needs to find a way to attract and retain these workers.

For many Millennials, the biggest shocker about the “real world” is the lack of training available at work.

The “lack of company support for training and development” was cited as the number one most surprising aspect of work in the “real world,” according to a Millennial Mindset Study from Mindflash that polled 1,200 employed U.S. Millennials. This reality likely contributed to the fact that nearly nine in 10 Millennials (88 per cent) are willing to invest personally or sacrifice anything from vacations to coffee habits to train themselves in the skills needed to compete in today’s workforce.

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Many Millennials are already putting this commitment into action. One in three (31 per cent) report that while it is tough to keep up with the skills they need to do their jobs, they seek out training on their own to address this challenge. Meanwhile, only 20 per cent indicated that while it is hard to keep up with the needed job skills, their employers equip them with necessary training opportunities.

“Perhaps against conventional stereotypes, the majority of Millennials are shocked by the lack of skills development available in the workplace today, and committed to taking matters in their own hands,” said Donna Wells, CEO of Mindflash. “This should be a signal for companies that both online training and traditional live training will be a critical component of harnessing the potential of these young professionals, especially with graduation season upon us.”

This is likely why the number one piece of advice Millennials have for the graduating class of 2015 is: “Invest in your own skills training to make you as marketable as possible” (cited by 40 per cent of Millennials).

This beat out other advice such as “be proactive” (28 per cent), “go in guns blazing” (six per cent) and “start your own company” (four per cent).

When it comes to assessing their own skills gaps, project management (25 per cent) emerged as the top leadership skill that Millennials want to develop, followed by interpersonal communication (21 per cent) and problem solving (20 per cent).

So while they recognize there is room for improvement, Millennials are also aware that negative stereotypes exist around them. More than one-quarter, 26 per cent, said the biggest misconception is that “we don’t know how to communicate because we spend too much time with technology,” followed closely by “we’re overconfident and self-centered” and “we don’t want any guidance, training or input.”

One area where Millennials strongly assert they thrive in managerial roles specifically, however, is in bringing fresh thinking (26 per cent) and open-mindedness (31 per cent) to the workplace, rating these attributes over technological savvy as the chief benefits of having Millennials in manager roles.

Though they are surprised by the lack of employer-led development opportunities and are cautioning their successors to be prepared to fend for themselves when it comes to learning, Millennial employees are only willing to go so far for their own training and development. In fact, when asked which non-monetary benefit would make them most loyal to their employers, almost half (49 per cent) reported employee perks are the way to their hearts. Another 26 per cent chose “invest in my career by training me.”


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