What do Millennials want from their employers? - Insights

What do Millennials want from their employers?

opportunityThe Young Hoteliers Summit hosted by Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland on 16-18th of this month, raised some interesting issues about the future hospitality work force and what Millennials want from their potential employers in the hospitality industry.

Whilst not constituting a scientific study, these views were collected and collated from the 62 delegates and 31 international hotel schools represented at the summit, gathered as part of panel discussions. All the panelists were drawn from senior hoteliers and industry leaders.

When asked what their priorities were in making choices of potential employers, over 80% of the students said they were looking to work for companies that provided, as their first priority, career advancement opportunities. They clearly stated that remuneration was not the major factor.

It may well be a different story if the same question was asked of potential new entrants to the industry, but these students attending the summit have already made a career choice by selecting higher education at a specialist school. What seems uppermost in their minds is that, having made this choice, they want to know where can this take them in their future. Career opportunities are seen as the route to helping them fulfill their aspirations.

What seems uppermost in their minds is that, having made this choice, they want to know where can this take them in their future. Career opportunities are seen as the route to helping them fulfill their aspirations.

Millenials not noted for their patience

The millennial generation is often accused of seeking instant gratification and wanting it all right now, and at the summit there was a general recognition among the attendees that as a generation, they are not noted for their patience. They did temper this with some realisations that they needed more than just ambition to move up the career ladder.

When asked what their expectations were in terms of years to reach a GM post, the consensus was about ten years. They also recognised many factors come into play in achieving this type of aspiration. They recognised it was not just experience, but learning from that experience, developing an understanding of how to work with, through, and for people, plus making complex decisions which would help them achieve this goal. They also recognised that, probably most importantly, developing self confidence, would help as well.

From the discussions and the students’ responses, it seemed that the majority of Millennials are seeking opportunities to contribute to groups and work with teams, whilst also wanting to be recognised as individuals. They seem to favour collaboration whilst looking for roles which offer diversity and challenge. Add to this that they would like to their work to be meaningful and ‘fun’. They like the idea of taking responsibility and empowerment but at the same time to be working with employers who foster professional development.

These insights came from a generation which faces the pressures of a dynamic, infinitely connected world, where a face book post or a tweet is the most important thing in their lives for a brief moment of time. They face pressures to succeed and as one student eloquently put it, “to provide a return on investment” for an expensive education.

Basic drivers still the same

Overall, does it seem like the most important issues have fundamentally changed from earlier generations? The answer would be “No”. The basic drivers remain the same – ambition, aspiration and wishing to make a contribution to and be part of a group which shares similar beliefs. All of these drivers hold true now as they did in the past. What seems to have changed are the tools to achieve these aims and some of the pressures on the way including the interconnections, the technology, the pace of change and peer pressure to succeed.

What has also changed are the opportunities, the sheer scale of the growth of the hospitality industry and the creativity, innovation and challenges that this brings. The students of today are the innovators, creators and leaders of tomorrow, moving on a career path which will be different from those of the past. There will be new roles which haven’t been thought of before and yet the aspirations are basically the same as previous generations. The Millennials may seem to take more responsibility for their own professional development and where their career path leads, but it seems we can rest assured it will be an interesting journey and they intend to have a great deal of fun along the way.

About the author

Peter JonesProfessor Peter A Jones attended the Young Hoteliers Summit for eHotelier, but not as a young hotelier. He is the Dean of the eHotelier Academy. With a distinguished career in hospitality, education and training, Peter has been involved with national and international projects with clients involved in hospitality education.  Peter is a Director the Edge Hotel School and of Hotel Future, a new education and training initiative in Greater Manchester and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Derby. He was also awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to the hospitality industry.

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