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3 ways to attract and retain millennials in the IT sector

Lucy Olding
There is a perception among many employers that millennials lack the type of loyalty to their employer that was shown by previous generations. This is perhaps because views on career expectations have changed, as less emphasis is now placed on career progression within companies when compared to several decades ago.

This creates some challenges for employers across all sectors as they need to focus on attracting the best talent, and retaining it when they do. It was recently reported for example that nearly half of millennials would like to leave their current employer in the next two years, if given the choice to do so. That figure increases to around two-thirds when the time frame is extended to 2020.

The reasons they gave were a perceived lack of development opportunities as well as issues regarding work/life balance and the desire for greater flexibility. While some of these expectations could be viewed as a negative, there are many advantages to employing millennials, particularly for the IT industry.

For starters, millennials (those born between 1982 and 1995) have grown up with technology and have a much more instinctive understanding of IT than previous generations. They also have an appreciation of life/work balance and a desire to learn new skills and set new challenges, all of which can be viewed as positive attributes.

So how can you attract and retain millennials in the IT sector?

1. Focus on people

If you want to attract and retain talented millennials in IT, firstly you need to create a company culture that puts people first, whether that be the employees, the customers or those in society.

With millennials increasingly interested in how a business is developing its people and contributing to society, it adds another set of factors that employers need to consider.

2. Focus on career development

The majority of millennials recognise that career development is about more than just one day training courses. Therefore employers should tailor their training programmes to suit the development of each individual rather than using a one-size-fits-all solution. Career development and a sense of purpose is of particular importance to millennials.

This is particularly true of millennials in the IT industry. A survey by Progressive Insurance from mid-2015 reported that 81% of millennials seeking a job in the IT realm would gladly take smaller compensation for work they feel passionate about.

3. Offer flexible working patterns

According to the Progressive survey, 58% of IT professionals said they would rather work remotely or have the option of a more flexible working pattern than a job that pays 20% more. This offers the IT industry an opportunity to attract top talent without having to stretch the company wage structure.

When it comes to remote working, IT is generally better placed than other industries as much of the technology can be used on the go. Flexible options can also have a positive impact on overall productivity and represent perks that are highly sought-after by millennials.

With every new generation that enters the workforce, attitudes, values and expectations change. The challenge for the IT industry, as with other sectors when it comes to millennials, is to allow them the opportunity to develop professionally and to flourish.

Read our related blog: What big data skills do IT professionals really require?
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