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Work-life for millennials

SUITS THE C-SUITE By Julie Christine O. Mateo

Business World (06/08/2015 p.S1/4)
Many industries consider millennials, also known as Generation Y or those born between
the early 1980s and early 2000s, as their largest market for growth. Given the
proclivities of millennials, this seems particularly true in the areas of technology, social
media, and information delivery. Yet, companies should also consider millennials not just
as a market, but also as a signifi cant segment of their human resources. Studies from
the US Bureau of Census have shown that millennials now comprise the largest segment
of the American work force, and the same likely holds true for the rest of the world. In
fact, projections estimate that millennials will form 50% of the global work force in the
next fi ve to 10 years.
In the Philippines, millennials are estimated to form about 1/3 of the population or
around 35 million people.
Let us pause to consider the mind-set of millennials. As the product of a technological
age some articles have even defi ned them as a generation that has never known a
world without the Internet, millennials grew up in a very rapidly changing world, which
has led to viewpoints, motivations and desires that are very diff erent from those of their
Being used to on-demand gratifi cation, millennials dont necessarily have the same
traditional work ethic as earlier generations, where loyalty and being a team player
were more valued over creativity and being open to new things. However, being
comfortable with technology means that millennials bring with them ideas and skills that
require businesses to innovate and to remain competitive in a world gone increasingly
Considering the above, it becomes readily apparent that understanding the professional
challenges facing millennials should become part of any companys recruitment and
employee retention strategy. This is part of the reason why EY recently conducted a
study called Global Generations on thousands of professionals from eight countries,
namely the USA, United Kingdom, India, Mexico, Japan, China, Germany and Brazil. The
survey shows that millennials and parents are feeling increasing pressure in their jobs.
While the survey studied a cross-section of employees from 18-68 years old, we will
focus in this article on the data specifi c to millennials.
The survey reveals that 47% of millennials have been working longer hours more than
40 hours a week over the last fi ve years compared with older generations.
Considering that this is the time when millennials are either moving up into
management or starting families, many millennials feel that they are having a harder
time juggling work, family and personal responsibilities, the main reasons being
increasing expenses without corresponding increases in wages, and increasing
responsibilities at work.


The survey also looked into why millennials leave their jobs. While it may be no surprise
that stagnant wages is one of the top reasons why millennials quit, increasing work-life
challenges are also cited. The other reasons include:

lack of opportunity to advance;

excessive overtime hours;
a work environment that does not encourage teamwork; and
a boss who does not allow fl exibility.


Flexibility, in particular, seems to be a key desire for many millennials, who are 78%
more likely to have a spouse or partner who is also working full-time. Most millennials
want the ability to work fl exible times while still being on track for promotion and
without any stigma from colleagues. Some of the things millennials want include paid
parental leave, on-site or subsidized child care, and the ability to telecommute one to
two days a week. What is interesting is that most millennials (44% of respondents) are
willing to take pay cuts to enjoy more fl exibility. They indicate that fi nding me time is
one of their major challenges.
The survey thus reveals that companies which want to retain millennials have to
consider off ering holistic pay and benefi ts that include fl exibility, creating a culture
where fl exibility is not detrimental to career progression, and providing paid parental
leave for both men and women.
While the Philippines was not included in the survey, several of the fi ndings are relevant
for our local employment market, notably in what millennials in corporate environments
look for and stay with in a job. Flexibility also seems more and more advisable and may
even be a boost to productivity and cost reduction, given the extremes of traffi c
congestion and transportation issues aff ecting Metro Manila and other urban centers in
the country.
While Filipino millennials share many of the attributes as their counterparts elsewhere in
the world such as the exposure to technology, Internet usage, social media presence,
instant messaging through mobile or online platforms, and many others, they also have
to deal with economic, cultural and employment conditions that are far diff erent from
the surveys respondent countries. One such diff erence is the endemic trend for Filipinos
to seek employment or residency in other countries. Since Filipino millennials are young,
have a more global mind-set and are eager for better opportunities and compensation,
the likelihood of seeking opportunities abroad is very high.
Local employers who wish to attract and retain the best young talent will need to
develop a deeper understanding of the specifi c motivations and desires of Filipino
millennials. Not only do companies need to provide attractive packages, they also need
to cater to the millennials hunger for new experiences. They not only need to create a
strong presence in the channels that millennials exist in, i.e. social media and the Web,
they should also listen more closely to what millennials are looking for in their careers

and their prospective leaders. At the same time, they need to determine whether the
companys values still resonate with the younger generation.
This is why at SGV, for example, we have started transitioning into the Knowledge
Process Outsourcing arena by establishing Talent Hubs that allow our professionals to
work with global teams and handle international engagements without having to leave
the country. These arrangements give our people the opportunity to experience global
cultures while still building solid careers here at home. At the same time, we
continuously endeavor to create an inclusive and progressive working environment that
embraces diversity, leverages on technology to allow more fl exibility, and provides
meaningful professional development that is aligned to our greater purpose of building a
better working world for our people, clients and communities. Whether we like it or not,
every new generation challenges the status quo of business and society at large. By
anticipating and addressing the preferences of millennials, we are in essence
preserving the progeny of our organization.
Julie Christine O. Mateo is a Partner and the Head of Talent of SGV & Co.