Millennials as Raw Materials

Posted by Alana Kadden Ballon on May 28, 2013

Photo by Charline Tetiyevsky
Congratulations, Class of 2013!

You are a part of the Millennial generation, which has managed to either terrify or underwhelm current corporate management, depending on whom you ask. You were born in the decade between the early 80s and the early 90s: I am one of you, though our graduation dates lie a decade apart. And I bring both good and bad news.

First, the bad news. Millennials have the worst unemployment rate in the country, at over 11%. Worse, the deck is stacked against you in particular: 66% of hiring managers are not planning on hiring new graduates this year.

The good news is that, even amid these dire prospects, you’re being smart about the jobs you choose, seeking personal development and career growth. A recent study from UNC’s Keenan Flagger Business School called you “Maximizers,” noting that over half of Millennial respondents reported that career progression made an employer more attractive, while two-thirds said that personal development was the most influential factor in choosing their current job.

Mellennials, the third of employers who are hiring you, rather than those complaining that your educations haven’t prepared you to be the workers they need, are in on a crucial secret. They know that in our service economy, people are the raw materials. These companies have figured out that if they invest in you out of the gate, providing career paths and skill development, they can capitalize on your raw talent and get tremendous returns in employee loyalty, retention, satisfaction, and accompanying productivity. They will have fewer succession worries in decade or two, and they will see immediate benefits as they refuse to let hiring struggles block their growth.

Companies like Salesforce.com, Cisco, and Google get it right by hiring people for their potential and then building required skill sets for entry level jobs as well as providing development opportunities for career growth. While I was managing sales onboarding at Salesforce, the success of our sales engine was built on entry-level talent who could be molded into seasoned sales professionals over the course of a few years. Salesforce couldn’t hire experienced cloud sales professionals, because before Salesforce, those professionals did not exist. By necessity, we had to create professional cloud sales teams from scratch.

What do these tech giants have that smaller employers lack? What gives them the confidence to take a risk on Millennial hires even if your skills or experience might not be up to par? A big piece of the puzzle is robust, proven programs for onboarding, training, and mentorship, allowing a hiring culture trusting of the fact that with smart people onboard, anything is possible.

I was inspired to start my company, Inqune, because from the vantage of running onboarding at Salesforce, I saw the challenges smaller organizations face when investing in people development. Start-ups have a hard time competing with the employee investment Fortune 500 companies can make; this makes it hard for them to hire the people they need to grow, and it makes them risk-averse when they do hire.

Again and again, I have watched interesting people start amazing businesses, only to stall because they can’t clone themselves and they need people who already know their particular market niche and specialised skills. I realized that we have the skills and technology to create learning programs that are lean and take minimal resources but produce huge ROI for start-ups. And now, I create and deliver those programs as a consultant.

So here’s the deal, Class of 2013. You keep being ambitious, principled, career-focused. And, here at Inqune, I’ll keep working to give small and mid-sized tech companies the programs they need to hire you with confidence, develop your talent, and drive their revenue growth. It’s the least I can do, really: we Millennials have to stick together.


Related articles:
Millennial unemployment rate reported at over 10%, as high as 12% earlier this year.

66% of hiring managers are not planning on hiring new grads.

Cisco hiring milennials for user experience department.

Why you should be hiring Millennials