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by Rachel Goddard

December 5th, 2019

Appealing to young talent demands millennial thinking

We work with SMEs of various sizes and as we go about our work, we are finding that many are struggling to attract the young talent they need to help their business to thrive and grow. In fact, such is the problem that a number of clients have asked us if we can help them to appeal to a younger audience of potential employees.

These are successful businesses, offering excellent products and services, and providing superb career opportunities for young people. However, they are failing to appeal to the ‘millennial’ generation and so are struggling to recruit the talent they need for the future.

Much has been written about ‘millennials’, and what they’re looking for from their careers and their employers. Millennials are the generation born between the early 1980's and early 2000's; people who are reaching young adulthood – and hence entering the job market – in the first two decades of the 21st century.

Research shows that people from this generation are looking for purpose from their working lives, a feeling that they’re making a difference. They want to work for companies whose culture and values chime with their own. They are less interested in salaries than previous generations, and more interested in finding a positive working environment where they are valued and can have a real impact. They also look for companies that give back to the community or actively support environmental causes.

For many businesses, there is a mismatch between the people they want to appeal to as customers and the people they want to attract as employees. Often, they are selling products or services to an older generation, but need to attract younger people to help the business prosper. This is particularly true in established, traditional industries, such as agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, professional services and construction.

Businesses in these sectors need to communicate and talk more openly about their brand values, their culture and the contribution that employees can make. They need to show the human side of their business and create an emotional connection with their potential recruits.

Millennials have grown up with technology all their lives, so businesses need to use online channels, video and social media to get their attention. These may not be tools traditionally used to attract customers, but they can be essential in raising your profile among younger people in the job market.

To make these efforts authentic and attractive to millennials, businesses should draw on the expertise and insights of young people themselves. Our young team of millennials at Intandem help us to develop communication strategies that will appeal to their own generation, and to devise campaigns for our clients that will connect with younger job hunters.

Anything your business does to improve its appeal to younger recruits will inevitably enhance your customer-facing marketing too. Promoting your values, ethics and culture, both online and offline, can only be good for your business – helping to widen your appeal to a broader spectrum of customers. We employ a team of millennials at Intandem and find that they bring fresh ideas and new approaches to things. They understand technology because they have been brought up with it and they look at things differently challenging the status quo and adding valuable ideas.

So our view is that, SMEs in particular offer fantastic opportunities for young people to make a real contribution. Any new recruit in a small organisation will have a greater impact on the business than a new recruit in a major corporation. SMEs just need to get better at appealing to this generation, showing them what a difference their talents can make to a smaller business – and what fabulous career prospects are on offer, and all this needs to be included in their marketing messages!

In return companies that treat their employees well, let them have the flexibility they're looking and are able to make a difference to the organisation with possible career progression, can find themselves with employees that are equally flexible and adaptable, ethical, loyal, innovative and wholeheartedly committed to delivering results!

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