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Employing millennials: why recruitment needs to modernise

Jan 7, 2019 | Coaching and Mentoring, Corrugated Packaging, Jobs, Market Research, Packaging, Packaging Research and Analysis

Millennials’ is the buzzword of the moment. Even BBC Radio 4 – that bastion of middle England culture – has broadcast a series called Peer Group, from comedian Alex Edelman, which focuses on millennials.  As the show’s blurb says, millennials have been criticised for being “apathetic, self-regarding, molly-coddled wasters”; Edelman, himself a millennial, sets out to defend them.

But criticism aside, millennials now make up a large proportion of the workforce, and if their expectations really are different from those of the baby boomer generation, employers would be wise to take note.

The packaging industry is no exception. With predictions that globally the sector will increase in size by a solid single digit percentage, and with the value in 2017 in the region of $851 billion, that’s a huge potential employment market: it will be millennials who employers will be looking to, to fill the roles.


Who are the Millennials?

Roughly speaking Generation Y comprises millennials born between the early 1980s and the end of the Millennium. Generation Z are a bit younger, born after 1995 and now coming into the workforce. For the sake of completeness, between the baby boomers and Generation Y was Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980.


What do millennials want?

Attracting millennials into the workplace is critical for the future of any business, according to a report by one of the so-called ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms, PwC. It really is time for packaging industry employers to start talking their language.

For the report, PwC asked millennials what they most want from an employer. Top of the list was opportunities to progress their career, then salary (which might once have come top) and third was excellent training and development.

According to PwC, millennials “want a flexible approach to work, but very regular feedback and encouragement. They want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognised”.

PwC has acted on its findings, and recently launched a scheme allowing some new recruits to work the hours they want.

Its Flexible Talent Network allows people to list their skills and preferred work pattern when they apply. Flexible working patterns can include anything from shorter weekly working hours, to working for just a few months a year.

PwC says the aim is to attract skilled people who don’t want to be tied to traditional 9 to 5 hours. It will match recruits to relevant projects rather than specific roles, hoping the move will give more diverse talent a route into the firm.

Not only do millennials have different expectations from employers, they are far removed from that old ‘job for life’ mentality. In their working life, they may have 15 to 20 jobs on average, and one study found that six in ten millennials are open to new jobs.  So employers have the double task of not only attracting millennials, but keeping them.


How to attract a millennial

Going back to the PwC survey, salary is of course important but not the most important criteria. Career progression, benefits packages and flexibility all feature highly.

This is supported by another survey, commissioned by Barclays, which revealed six out of ten millennials believe a comprehensive benefits package is essential when considering a job offer.

Yet another survey, this time by Deloitte, revealed that while nearly two-thirds of millennials prefer full-time employment, 84% want some degree of flexible working conditions in their organisations.




In our next blog, we’ll look more closely at employee retention – measures you can put in place to keep hold of your talented team.

In the meantime, the team here at NOA are on hand to support the packaging industry. We specialise in research, coaching and marketing services for the packaging industry. To find out how we could help you research your burning topics, learn about packaging industry trends, or invest in our most recent cardboard corrugated packaging industry report, please get in touch.

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