By Charles Coy
When it comes to hiring Millennials, not every company can offer a flashy tech job with perks like free meals and gym memberships. And at the same time, Generation Y workers care about more than working for the hottest startup. More than 50 percent of Millennials say that a company’s involvement in various causes affected whether they accepted a job, according to a recent report from creative agency Achieve and the Case Foundation.
Here’s what some employers in long-established fields are doing to stay relevant with Millennial workers.
Millennials make up 28 percent of the workforce at DPR Construction, a Redwood City, Calif.-based contracting and construction management firm. The company ties construction jobs to bigger purposes, Fortune reports. When it completed a project at a biotech manufacturing facility, DPR invited a cancer patient to speak to staff. According to one Millennial employee, “DPR continues to empower employees and remain true to the core values and mission that it ‘Exist to Build Great Things,’ and you really feel like you are making a difference alongside some amazing people.”
At Detroit-based Quicken Loans, Millennials make up 55 percent of the lender’s full-time staff. One program that’s resonated with these workers is “Bullet Time”—a weekly four-hour period when all technology workers are required to work on a pet project, according to Chief Learning Officer. “This program continues to see measurable success in its effect on the business, and news of its implementation has helped attract some of the region’s top IT talent to work at Quicken Loans’ downtown Detroit headquarters,” says Michelle Salvatore, director of recruiting for Quicken Loans.
Manufacturing often conjures 20th century images of low-skilled factory workers, but today the industry involves computer programming, 3-D printing and other high-tech experience that Millennials seek. At KI Furniture in Wisconsin, the manufacturer is attracting younger talent by offering apprenticeships, job training and even a YouTube channel. In an interview with USA Today, an automation specialist describes his job as “the CSI of the automation world.”
Oil and Gas
The oil and gas industry, once thought to be dominated by older tycoons, is seeing a surge of young talent. Membership in the Dallas chapter of Young Professionals in Energy surged 60 percent last year, with most members under age 37, Bloomberg reports. Millennials are attracted to the technology breakthroughs happening in the industry. The shale boom has “created a lot of opportunity for young professionals to jump in and be given enormous responsibility,” 27-year-old Mark Hiduke, who left Silicon Valley to start a drilling company, tells Bloomberg. “It’s pretty much tech and then energy.” The new Exxon Mobil campus in Houston aims to appeal to health-minded younger workers by including a wellness center and jogging trails, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Qualcomm, a San Diego-based semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services, tops PayScale’s report on best places for Gen Y to work, beating out even Google. The company offers a “Backpack to Briefcase” program to help Gen Y develop business skills. It also provides younger workers access to senior leadership. “We have an open-door policy that is very important to us,” Tamar Elkeles, chief learning officer at Qualcomm, tells Chief Learning Officer. “Anyone in the company can go to our executives at any time. That’s part of what we believe our next generation really wants — access to information, access to leaders and their voices to be heard.”
While tech startups offer plenty of perks to attract Millennials, their counterparts in traditional businesses also are finding meaningful ways to engage and develop the next generations of workers. “Millennial employees are really looking for, and value, an employer who encourages and helps facilitate professional growth in the workplace,” Lindsey Pollak, an expert on training, managing and marketing to Millennials, tells Fox Business.