Millennials Decry Lack of Career Development

By Roy Maurer May 26, 2015
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Millennials, generally described as those born between 1980 and 2000, are now the largest generation in the American workforce. And a sizable percentage of them have a bone to pick with their employers over a lack of career and skill development opportunities.

According to the Millennial Mindset Study of 1,200 employed Millennials conducted by online training platform Mindflash, the “lack of company support for training and development” is the No. 1 most surprising aspect of work in the “real world,” cited by 22 percent of respondents. The lack of job security (19 percent) and high employer expectations (16 percent) also ranked high.

An overwhelming majority (88 percent) of respondents said they would be willing to personally invest in their own skills training and professional development. About one in three (31 percent) report that they seek out training on their own. Another 20 percent indicated that their employers provide them with necessary training.

The top piece of advice Millennials have for the graduating Class of 2015, according to nearly 40 percent of respondents, is to “invest in your own skills training to make [yourself] as marketable as possible.”

“Perhaps against conventional stereotypes, the majority of Millennials are shocked by the lack of skills development available in the workplace today, and [are] 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.”

Where Training Is Needed

The majority of Millennials, 58 percent of whom have some management experience, reported that project management (25 percent) is the skill most in need of development, followed by interpersonal communication (21 percent) and problem-solving (20 percent).

Notably, 43 percent of respondents indicated they have been given an opportunity to develop their leadership skills at work, with another 35 percent responding “somewhat” when asked if they have been offered leadership development opportunities.

Respondents said that as managers, the most beneficial attributes of Millennials are their open-mindedness (31 percent), fresh thinking (26 percent) and technology skills (22 percent).

The most-cited misperception that older workers have about the Millennial generation is “We don’t know how to communicate because we spend too much time with technology” (26 percent), followed by “We’re overconfident and self-centered” (25 percent), and “We don’t want any guidance, training or input” (19 percent).

But Wait

Although respondents decried the lack of employer-led training and development opportunities and would advise newly graduated job seekers to invest in their own professional development, half of Millennial workers chose employee perks as the key to their loyalty, over a company’s investment in their career training (26 percent).

More surprising, when asked if they could be trained in anything free of charge, nearly half (46 percent) chose fitness training over “career development/job success.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy​​

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