The Millennial Workforce

08 Aug 2019
Article by : 
Gaone Mothobi

The workplace, at any place in the world, has drastically changed over the century. Production processes have been automized and digitized, work has become more decentralized and so on. Interestingly, not only the factors of the workplace have gone through a transition. There has been an interesting transformation in the characteristics and attributes of the average employee, mainly due to the addition of millennials into the labour force.

The millennial age-group has been quite a unique topic of discussion on a lot of forums. These set of people are described as 'people born between 1980 and 2000, therefore having reached their adulthood in the 21st century'. Born into an era of full access to any type of information, this generation has an interesting decision-making process. Their interest in figuring out the 'why' in a lot of things heavily influences their career moves. Unlike before were most career decisions were influenced by monetary factors (hence the one English sentence you are taught when you first get into Primary school in Botswana is 'when I grow up I want to be a doctor' because of the handsome pay associated therewith), millennials base their career options on their passions and how the prospective job aligns with their values. You may not understand it is a parent, but this is probably why your son wants to become a Disc Jockey and not an Accountant like you.

It is thus important for recruiters to put the 'millenial characteristics' into consideration when interviewing them for jobs. Passion & values birth innovation & creativity, if you hire an IT degree holder who is passionate about writing then you most probably wont get that software developed the way you had invisioned it. At most, the best millennials to hire are those who possess a qualification relevant to the job and are also passionate about it or who possess a different qualification they are passionate about but have somehow aligned it with the job. The truth is, millennials will most probably always ask themselves; 'why must I do this task', 'how does this job fulfil me', 'does this job allow me to make a difference in my society' and so on before taking on a job.

At this point you are probably thinking all these questions are 'whiny self-entitlement' but these are major traits in most millennials. Yes some are still motivated by money/salary for different reasons, but the curiousity caused by full access to information by this generation has bred a set of people who want to do things for reasons that are meaningful to them. The bottomline is, a company should hire people who are passionate about their line of work if they want to get the most out of them.