It’s little wonder that millennials are attracted to the cutting edge, fast-paced, and exciting world of start-up companies. Indeed, the Venn diagram comprising of ‘millennials’ and ‘start-ups’ circles would certainly overlap pretty closely. They’re both trendy, ahead of the curve, open and adaptive to change, and contain just a dash of naive optimism.
Yet the overwhelming majority of start-up companies fail to make a return on their investment. To any logical mind, and especially the mind of a youth riddled with college debt, a career-oriented position in a traditional company should make much more sense. Yet the reverse is true: the young want to work for start-ups and are shying away from working for traditional companies, even those on the Fortune 500. Why is that, and what, if anything, does it mean?
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They Represent The Future
Millennials have a voice, and they want it to be heard. This is difficult when you’re a cog, however successful, in a large, well-established company. Start-up companies represent the future in more ways than just work; they challenge and have the power to change society, and can take risks that traditional companies wouldn’t dream of. For the social conscious youth, start-ups don’t just offer employment: they offer the chance to change the world.
We’ve all heard of the amazing perks workers in Silicon Valley receive. Free food, massages, relaxation pods, and games rooms are all staples of cool start-up culture. With this, the gap between college life and work life, usually wide, is suddenly bridged. Next to a company that offers this level of fun – not to mention well-paid employment – the conventional 9-5 cubicle, office routine doesn’t stand a chance.
It’s Not About The Money
Of course, millennial workers care about how much money they earn, but they care about it less than previous generations. To this group of workers, money is just one component of many factors when considering where they want to work. The status of the company, location of its offices, and work environment and atmosphere all play crucial roles, and modern start-up companies always lead the way in this regard.
Startups Want Millennials
The relationship between millennials and start-ups is reciprocal. Start-up companies need the skillsets that millennials have in abundance, such as the ability to think abstractly and grow with new ideas. To employers at start-ups, millennials are highly educated workers who, if they’re made to feel involved, will bring enthusiasm to the company that money just can’t buy. Equally, to millennials it’s a chance to have a job with responsibilities and power that would take years to materialize in well established companies.
It’s A Risk They Have To Take
The fiercely competitive job market isn’t always kind to recent college graduates, with lucrative positions in top end companies hard to come by. The many, many start-up companies offer opportunities that otherwise don’t exist, and can fulfil a crucial step between graduation and becoming established in a career. Additionally, with little financial responsibility (beyond that college debt), it’s a time, perhaps the only realistic time, when they can experiment and take a chance with a company that may pay off handsomely or, indeed, not at all.
What Does It Mean?
A job at a start-up differs significantly from a job at a traditional company, and so do the recruiting practices. Recruiters need to adapt their usual approach to find employees with the set of skills that thrive in the start-up industry. They also need to understand the needs of the potential employee and sell them on the project; unlike traditional recruiting, start-up employees need to be well versed on the vision and future they’re trying to achieve for the company.
Finally, the progressive nature of start-up companies mean they’re less likely to be impressed by an individual’s academic prowess. If they can do the job, they’re good enough, regardless of their education level. Venture capitalist Alan Hall doesn’t even mention education in his list of seven traits employers should look for in a start-up employee (for the record, the seven traits you should look for are” competent, capable, compatible, commitment, character, culture and compensation).
Start-ups are ever evolving. Like them, recruiters all need to adapt their thinking and be ahead of the curve when it comes to hiring.
As the workforce changes do you see traditional companies changing their culture in order to appeal to millennials more?