The new generation of younger workers are more loyal than most Midlands employers may think and it is a myth that they are rejecting traditional work practices.

According to research published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, ‘millennials’ - those that entered the workplace after 1 July 2000 - expect to be predominantly office-based, work regular office hours and have a small number of future employers.

The research - part of the firm’s ‘Managing tomorrow’s people’ series which surveyed 4,200 graduates around the world - is being seen as a wake-up call for companies to rethink how they appeal to younger workers to ensure they are channelling their investment effectively, particularly in light of current cost pressures.       

Robbie Wigley-Jones, partner and human resource expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the Midlands, said: “With the global economic downturn presenting organisations with serious immediate challenges, businesses need to work even harder to balance short-term pressures with long-term objectives.  This means acting now to manage the demographic changes that will impact on their ability to compete effectively. Eventually, in many parts of the world, fewer younger people will be working to support a significantly larger older population, making people supply a critical factor for business success.” 

Training and development is the most highly valued benefit for millennials in the first five years of their career – with one third of respondents electing this as their first choice benefit (aside from salary). Almost all respondents (98 per cent) stated that working with strong coaches and mentors is important to personal development. The three most popular benefits for UK respondents are training and development (46 per cent), cash bonuses (45 per cent) and free private healthcare (29 per cent).

Mr Wigley-Jones added: “While it is likely that many businesses in the Midlands are finding it difficult to fund training and development programmes in the current economic climate, this research shows that millennials value such investment highly.

“Most businesses only provide coaches and mentors to senior employees, but providing this kind of one-to-one development to new graduates could help ease the sometimes bumpy transition from university to the workplace, while breeding goodwill and engagement at a relatively low cost.  Instead of reacting to cost pressures by cutting training budgets, organisations should ask if they are spending where it will be most appreciated and bring the greatest benefit to long-term business health.”