Elance Blog

4 Reasons Millennials Are Poised To Absolutely Crush It In The Workplace


Below are thoughts from Jaleh Bisharat, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Elance-oDesk and Dan Schawbel, founder of Gen Y consulting firm Millennial Branding.



A quick glance around confirms what you’ve probably suspected for a long time. Our workforce is getting younger and younger.

Call them what you want -- Millennials, Gen Y, or Echo Boomers -- there’s no ignoring the fact that those in their early 20’s to early 30’s are a critical part of today’s workplace. Ditto for the near future, as Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections show that in 2015 millennials will overtake Baby Boomers and Generation Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.

New study goes a step further, outlining how work is changing and the influence of millennials.

To understand how millennials are impacting the workforce, Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding teamed up on an in-depth study, The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce. Surveying over 1,000 millennial workers and 200 hiring managers, the study revealed eye-opening facts. Here are a few highlights:

1. Millennials are integral to the future of business.

Not only will millennials become the largest generation in the workforce next year, they are poised to play a leading role in business for years to come. The study shows that 28% of millennials are already at management level, and two-thirds expect to be in management roles ten years from now.

Beyond power in numbers and rank, millennials possess characteristics that businesses need to be innovative -- they bring fresh ideas, adaptability, and creativity.

2. Millennials have the skills businesses seek to stay agile and innovative.

As businesses look to hire (the August U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Report shows 4.8 million job openings, the highest number in 13 years), hiring managers are shifting gears. The study found they’re prioritizing hard skills over personality when hiring as they seek STEM skills especially -- the skills in the shortest supply. From 3D printing and cloud computing to wearable technology, genetic modification and aerial mapping, millennials report possessing hot emerging skills. Hiring managers think millennials -- the first digital native generation -- are more technically adept than past generations.

3. Hiring managers are having difficulty finding and retaining millennials.

Millennials in The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce study reveal that they want more than traditional employers now offer. Seeking more flexibility and greater control than “9 to 5” jobs give them, hiring managers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire and retain millennials for staff positions. Unlike past generations, 58% of millennials expect to stay in their job fewer than three years and more than half think corporate loyalty is outdated. This puts them in a position of power as companies seek to keep them.

4. Millennials are turning to freelance work and entrepreneurial opportunities at a record pace.

79% of millennials report that they would consider quitting their regular job to work for themselves. When discussing independent work, millennials cite several attractive characteristics of freelancing. This includes flexible work times and location independence, as well as the ability to pick and choose projects. Eight in ten millennials also said that technology is making it easier to start a business today -- another option for this highly entrepreneurial generation.

Long story short, the future looks bright for millennial workers.

Millennials are reinventing what it means to be a professional as they face rapid change being driven by a multitude of influences such as technology and the economy. They are proving to be a highly adaptable generation, however -- one that is different by necessity and teaming with ingenuity.

What we’ve shared here is just the tip of the iceberg. We invite you to check out the complete 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce report to see how work is changing and what you can do to gain a competitive advantage.


About Jaleh Bisharat, Elance-oDesk Senior Vice President of Marketing

Jaleh Bisharat

Jaleh Bisharat, Elance-oDesk’s Senior Vice President Marketing, is a seasoned marketing executive with a history of growing startups into vibrant brands that inspire passion in their customers. Before joining Elance-oDesk, she was the Vice President of Marketing at several innovative companies including OpenTable, Jawbone, and Amazon.com, and also served on the Board of Directors at OpenTable and Homestead Technologies. Jaleh received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Government from Harvard-Radcliffe and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


About Dan Schawbel, Founder and Managing Partner of Millennial Branding

Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. Dan is a columnist at both TIME and FORBES, and has been featured in over 1,000 media outlets, such as “The Today Show” on NBC, “Street Signs” on CNBC, “The Nightly Business Report” on PBS, “The Willis Report” on Fox Business, The Economist and Wired Magazine.