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Careerless Careers?

28 February 2017 Jim Harrison,

We have all read numerous articles about what so-called Millennials want and expect from their careers:

– They recognise they will probably need to re-train a number of times
– They have high expectations of themselves and of their employers
– They are demanding and seek a healthy work-life balance
– They are increasingly looking for work experiences not just a work place

An article in today’s Financial Times seems to show how this group are taking this one step further: a new breed of “footloose workers” who are seeking portfolio careers, or the opportunity to dip their toes in a variety of roles, experiences and working environments. And how this poses employers clear challenges in terms of staff engagement and retention.

Is this a sign of younger workers seeking meaningful experiences versus just meaningful benefits? A positive trend that will force companies to nurture the passion and energy of their recruits and ensure they don’t feel under-utilised and under-appreciated?

Or is this another sign of an impatient and indecisive cohort that flits between one passion and another, increasingly wary of “old fashioned” hard graft? Serial work commitment-phobes who live by the mantra that the ‘grass is always greener’?

Both represent unhealthy stereotypes. But what is clear is that the workplace is changing fast, forcing employers to think much harder about how to inspire talent and provide “the gig-type experience that many younger staff say they want”.

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