Why Career Development is More Important than Pay Today

Did you know that today’s millennial-heavy talent pool is more motivated by career development than financial gain?

According to the Pew Research Center, millennials (currently between age 22 and 36 in 2018) became the largest generation in the labor force in 2016, making up one-in-three (35%) of total labor force participants.

This means that the time is now for hiring and HR practices to catch up to millennial preferences in order to attract and retain top talent. And millennials are much more interested in career development than financial rewards or other compensation benefits.

In a report by Gallup, researchers found that, at 59%, not only do millennials value development more than other generations, it’s a top factor in retaining them, and that, unfortunately, most companies aren’t providing them with opportunities to learn on the job.

In fact, only 39% of millennials strongly agreed that they learned something new in the past 30 days that they could use to perform better on the job, and less than one in two strongly agreed they’d had opportunities to learn and grow in the past year.

Reframing a Common Narrative

While we often hear that millennials feel entitled, Gallup found that they in fact feel empowered. They want to be useful, to increase their knowledge and skills, and to do work that has meaning to them, which is why businesses need to provide this if they want to attract and retain this growing pool of talent.

Instead of providing these employees with more traditional “perks” of career progression like increased responsibility and managing other people (which millennials tend to see instead as additional duties), employers need to create more diverse and novel ways in which to promote and develop their team members. This can be achieved by offering further specialization in a given field or by reskilling and redistributing employees to different departments within the organization.

Programs that Retain Talent 

Upskilling and reskilling are both great options that spur professional development, keeping your current employees engaged at work.

Upskilling allows employees to improve their current skill set. Often in the form of IT training or certifications, upskilling empowers team members, giving them the opportunity to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies, providing them with skills to build and operate software employing said technologies, and standardizing programming and coding methodologies.

Reskilling allows employees from other departments to become your next top developer or programmer. Whether an employee’s role is about to become automated or obsolete, or she simply wants a new challenge, reskilling can retrain her, providing her with the IT skills needed to make the switch to data engineering, software development, or the like.

What You Stand to Gain

Upskilling and reskilling programs can help you fill open positions at your company without having to fight for external candidates and while keeping valuable institutional and industry knowledge in-house.

It will also attract the dominant millennial labor force pool to your door, as they’ll understand you’re invested not only in their performance, but also in their professional development. Those that do come on board will also be more likely to stay, allowing you to continue growing them as valuable employees and avoiding costly turnover and new-hire expenses. 

Ready to learn more? Find out how The Software Guild’s programs can keep your employees engaged and growing professionally.