CDI Corporation

2020 Millennial Hiring Outlook

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As we move towards the 2020 workforce, companies face an interesting demographic dynamic in terms of talent acquisition – a workforce comprised of Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists. While each of these groups has their own generational differences, the most notable are the expectations and approaches to work from Millennials, who are projected by 2020 to make up 50 percent of the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-24 Employment Projections are forecasting total employment to reach 163.8 million jobs by 2024, which means generational differences will increasingly become an additional component of diversity relations at the workplace. As Millennials become the largest segment of the labor force, recruiters and hiring authorities of permanent and contract candidates will have to learn what drives this generation during the job search process, and how to keep them engaged, once onboard. To learn how recruiters feel companies stand in this process, and compare this feedback with millennial insight, MRINetwork conducted the 2017 Millennial Hiring Trends Study.

The Study reveals that although 2020 is just a few years away, most companies are not focused on specifically attracting Millennials. This sentiment is echoed by the majority of Millennials, who said they felt employers are neutrally or somewhat focused on appealing to them. These findings are a bit concerning in light of an aging Baby Boomer population and the need for succession planning that will largely include the movement of Millennials into management roles. As a result, there are several areas where companies and Millennials are not on the same page. The challenge is to help organizations understand why they need to become acquainted with what top millennial talent desire now.

Based on the Study findings, here are the top four things to know about Millennials:

#1: Cash is king. While advancement opportunities and mentorship are important to Millennials, compensation was ranked as the top priority when considering a new job. That is likely because a large portion of this generation is in the beginning stages of their career and are focused on ramping up their work and leadership experience as quickly as possible. As their knowledge and responsibilities deepen, they will be looking for pay increases that reflect this expertise.

According to the survey, 29 percent of recruiters said their clients think work-life balance is the most important factor for Millennials. This shows a significant disconnect between companies and prospective hires. As employers look to better attract millennial talent, there will need to be a shift from delaying discussions about salary until the offer stage. These discussions will now need to happen much earlier in the recruitment process, and the value proposition for each role will need to largely focus on a highly competitive salary. Especially in high growth sectors where specialized talent is in high demand, but the candidate pools are tight, compensation is often the driving factor for top millennial candidates in these environments.

#2: Market reputation has the most influence on Millennials’ impressions of prospective employers.

Online presence, not surprisingly, was listed by more than half of recruiters (54 percent) as the top channel leveraged by clients to attract Millennials. However, 40 percent of Millennials said market reputation has the most influence on their impression of a company.

Additionally, when asked if most of their clients have an employer brand that is attractive to Millennials, almost half of recruiters (48 percent) said no. Millennials (72 percent) said it depends on the industry sector.

These findings demonstrate that employers still have room for improvement in terms of understanding how to appeal to Millennials, and once onboard, leveraging retention strategies that will keep them engaged and more likely to stay.

While a key way to establish market reputation and brand recognition is through online measures, savvy Millennials are looking at the overall positioning of a prospective company, in terms of how well the brand is known and respected, how it stacks up to its competitors, and its future growth trajectory. Companies will need to distribute positive messaging about the company, both internally and externally, to become more attractive as an employer of choice for permanent and contract employees. Messaging will need to focus on competitive pay, market footing and reputation, and career pathing. Although the entire strategy shouldn’t be based on the organization’s online presence, it will need to be a key part of branding, since Millennials are more likely to leverage a host of platforms from Twitter to Glassdoor to form impressions of the company and its culture.

#3: Career pathing is what makes Millennials most likely to stay at their company.

When asked what methods companies are using to retain Millennials, flexible work options, or the ability to work remotely, was the top pick of recruiters (38 percent). Career pathing was not far behind at 32 percent. More than half of Millennials (53 percent) say that career pathing – mapping of incremental progression to new roles in the company – has the most impact on their decision to stay with their employer. This process begins not with the manager, but with the employee taking charge of their performance review and setting their desired career path. Once goals are set, successful completion now rests in the employee’s hands. The path is now clear for what they need to do, in order to be promoted or receive a pay increase. For contract employees, one of the most important factors is the ability to advance their skills in a way that allows them to broaden their choices and command higher paying assignments.

Since Millennials are particularly focused on moving up the corporate ladder, career pathing presents not only a plan for upward mobility, but also empowers top performers to take ownership of their ability to advance within the company. For this reason, career pathing can be a great retention tactic, particularly for Millennials. However, there is also the potential to leverage it as a marketing and branding tool to attract future top talent, when companies are able to share real examples with candidates about how their best employees advanced within the company and how career pathing is a part of the organization’s culture. Extending this approach to include contract workers gives a company a competitive edge in attracting candidates to their blended workforce.

#4: Millennials may have the upper hand in the hiring process.

Most recruiters (71 percent) feel the labor market is candidate-driven among Millennials, whereas more than half of Millennials (53 percent) feel employers have the upper hand in the hiring process. This is an interesting dynamic that may be a result of many factors. For, example, in today’s fast-paced world where Millennials are used to quick results and instant gratification, lengthy hiring processes and/or little or no feedback about their standing in the interview process can make them feel inferior to their prospective employers. Companies may feel Millennials have more control because they often bring tech-savvy, new work approaches and specialty skillsets to the table. Ultimately, as we get closer to a millennial-dominated workforce, it will be critical for employers to get a better understanding of this generation’s expectations, to attract them into their organizations.

When you consider these four millennial hiring insights, it’s clear that some sentiments match those of other generations, while others are dramatically different. It’s the attention to these differences, and the adjustments or lack thereof made in the recruitment and retention processes, that will determine whether companies will be successful in attracting and keeping top millennial talent. There will essentially need to be specific plans around millennial recruitment and retention. Your preferred search partner can help you fine tune these plans to appeal more to high performing millennial candidates. Ultimately, when companies recognize the combined value, perspectives and impact of successfully integrating distinctly different generations into their blended teams, they will be able to leverage this to significantly improve their ability to develop products and services, and most importantly, the future leaders of the organization.

To view a short video on what’s important to Millennials that can be easily distributed to hiring authorities in your organization,
click here. To view the complete Study, visit

Recent CDI Analysis

“Although 2020 is just a few years away, most companies have been taking a neutral focused on specifically attracting Millennials. The 2017
MRINetwork Millennial Hiring Trends Study reveals companies will take a more strategic approach to attracting and retaining top millennial talent in 2017.”


Employment Situation (U.S.)

The U.S. labor market added 70,000 more jobs in January than in December 2016, according to the Employment Situation Summary released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Though a steady increase in job growth was forecasted for last month, estimates were well under the 227,000 jobs actually added in January.
According to Bloomberg, the number of jobs added was the highest in four months, fueled largely by the construction industry which added 36,000 positions.

Also fueling the growth in total nonfarm payroll employment were the retail trade and financial activities sectors. There were 46,000 jobs created in the retail trade industry. Financial activities saw 32,000 positions added in January.

Despite continued job growth, the likelihood of a Fed interest rate hike has dropped from an 18 percent chance to a 9 percent chance, according to the CME. In a statement to CNBC, Curt Long, chief economist for the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions said, "The lack of wage growth suggests further room for tightening in the labor market. So long as that remains true, and with inflation still below target, the Fed will be content to hold off on further interest rate hikes."

Though little changed, the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 4.8 percent in January, according to The New York Times. While some report close to full employment in the U.S., economists from Moody’s Analytics noted that the economy still has room before reaching full employment. This is based on five additional measures not including the unemployment rate.
After picking up toward the end of 2016, wage growth seems to have slowed again. Though minimum-wages have increased in some states, across the job market there was only a 0.1 percent rise in average hourly earnings.

"We haven’t really seen that significant acceleration in wage growth that we would anticipate given how close we are to full employment," said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania, prior to the release of the report Friday morning. "I think that’s coming, it’s just going to take a little bit more time."

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Canada added 48,000 jobs in January, a 0.3 per cent increase from the month prior, according to the Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada.

The job gains helped push the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to settle at 6.8 per cent for the month.

Job growth in January beat the expectations of economists, who had predicted that the country would shed 10,000 jobs during the month, according to CBC News.

Since August 2015, Canada has added an average of 40,000 new jobs each month, which is the best six-month record for job growth in more than 15 years, the source noted.

Employment in the country has grown by 276,000 positions on a year-over-year basis, marking an increase of 1.5 per cent.

"The consensus keeps looking for a pullback in employment after its strong run," said Doug Porter, an economist at Bank of Montreal, in an interview with CBC News. "The fact that the strong run just keeps going is quite telling."

Some 19.6 per cent of all employed individuals were part-time workers in January, helped by an additional 190,000 people working part-time during the month. In January 2015, 18.8 per cent of all workers were part-time.

Private sector employment increased by 32,000 in January of this year. The number of public sector employees was relatively unchanged.

Finance, real estate, rental and leasing employment grew by 21,000 during the month. Business, building and other support services added 16,000 employees, while transportation and warehousing gained 11,000 workers. Public administration jobs grew by 7,800.

The total number of hours worked across industries fell by 0.8 per cent in the 12 months to January.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, January 2017

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