A human resource consulting firm based in Milwaukee recently revealed that one in five millennials ranks leadership as a top career goal; they value IT, technical, and interpersonal skills over managerial skills; and millennial men are more likely than millennial women to aspire to fill leadership positions.
In an interview with IT Business Edge, Chris Layden, managing director of Experis, a division of ManpowerGroup, dug into the numbers further, elaborating on the finding that so few millennials rank leadership as a top goal:
“Our research shows that millennial workers have different career aspirations, and being the boss is a low priority.” Layden noted in the interview.
Just 22 percent of millennials rank aspiring to leadership roles as a career goal. This figure includes: managing others (4 percent), getting to the top of an organization (6 percent), and owning their own company (12 percent).
These activities ranked near the bottom of millennials’ list of career priorities in nearly every country surveyed, totaling less than one-third of respondents in all except India (34 percent) and Mexico (41 percent).
If this comes to you as a surprise, you’re not alone. Conventional wisdom would tell you that, if anything, Millennials aspire to assume managerial responsibilities in hopes of fulfilling their dreams. But as Layden would put it, skills have become a more attractive asset.
“Skills are the new currency for millennials. Four out of five millennials would even change jobs for a role with the same pay and more skills training opportunities. Millennials expect immediate skills development and high-touch feedback; yet, worryingly, many millennials doubt their managers have the authority to follow through on promises made.”
The study also revealed that women aspired to leadership roles far less than men. In the interview, Layden cited that 24 out of the 25 countries surveyed, men consider reaching leadership roles — managing others, getting to the top of an organization, and owning their own company — to be a higher career priority than women do.
This is especially concerning seeing that men rank 10 percent higher than women in leadership activities. This is why it’s important to promote and secure the proper institutions and platforms that ensure women hold more leadership positions.
Ultimately, the loss of interest in management positions was due to the rich opportunity in the field of IT. With millennials seeing possessing multiple skill-sets as the most valuable advantage in this current job market, the various skill positions and their ability to transfer and be of value to new jobs, made the swing happen.
“As demand for IT grows across all industries, particularly manufacturing, millennials have a need and desire to adapt to industry changes, giving them the versatility and skill-set to enable them to move from one industry to the next. As digitalization growth continues to surge ahead, millennials know they need to upskill regularly and adapt to succeed and meet the changing needs of the roles of the future.”
So, yes, Millennials are favoring management less, but have not lost sight of executive ambitions. With the shift to digital, millennials have adapted. As the generation after will, as well.