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Amid the talk of Generation Z as the future of workforce, in the here and now most marketers seeking jobs are Millennials—a demographic with work habits that are very different from those of older generations.
We all know we have to hire these individuals, who are expected to make up 58% of the U.S. workforce by 2028—but we’re not always sure we want to. After all, the media portrays Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, as lazy, entitled, disloyal, noncommittal, judgmental, and temperamental. Right?
Wrong. Every one of these personality traits is little more than a generalization—a myth, really—created by older generations to guide how they engage with this incredibly important and economically powerful demographic group.
Yet many are still letting their biases about this generation interfere with their ability to staff their teams. According to a recent Spear Marketing Group survey, more than 90% of companies are struggling to find qualified marketers, and 83% say it’s taking more than five weeks to fill roles.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By avoiding some common misconceptions about the work habits of this group, we have a much better chance of recruiting exceptional marketers. Here are the top three Millennial-related myths we must bust.
Myth No. 1: Millennials Aren’t Equipped For Business Challenges
One of the biggest myths about Millennials is this idea that they float so frequently between jobs that they can’t possibly amass the skills or experience needed for most senior positions. That’s simply not true.
For one thing, this generation has been working for a while now. The oldest Millennials are approaching middle age, and many are extremely accomplished. In fact, Upwork’s third annual “Future Workforce Report” found that 48% of younger-generation managers are director-level or above at this point.
Millennials also show more of a willingness than previous generations to learn new skills, an important trait with digital technology putting constant pressure on traditional business models. Indeed, our survey indicated they are nearly three times more likely than Baby Boomers to say individuals should be responsible for their own reskilling. Conversely, nine in 10 Boomers think the onus for training workers should be on the employer.
Myth No. 2: There Are Only Two Options For Hiring
When hiring marketers, many organizations think about it two-dimensionally: You either hire a full-time employee, or you partner with people in your agencies. But a third option is important to consider: freelancers.
With nearly 90% of CMOs saying they are trying to move toward a more agile marketing approach—a speed-oriented method that applies tools, processes, and organizational design to make marketing programs more relevant—the use of Millennial freelancers could help organizations.
Freelancers already play an important role in our economy and in shaping the future of work. In fact, according to a 2017 Upwork report, nearly 60% of marketing managers use freelancers to help scale projects and fill shortages. Younger generations are embracing the freelance lifestyle as well. Almost half of working Millennials (42%) freelance, a participation rate that is higher than any other generation.
Engaging freelance marketers provides the advantage of attracting a wider spectrum of talent for organizations struggling to find candidates with the particular skills and creativity they need to succeed. In addition, you don’t have to just hire locally; you can attract great talent from around the world, which can be hugely helpful for any global brand.
Myth No. 3: Remote Marketers Aren’t Productive
Another myth that holds many organizations back is the idea that marketers can’t be successful if they’re working remotely. The thinking is that because they’re communicative, collaborative, and creative beasts, they simply can’t do their best work if they’re physically disconnected.
But should the CMO’s team differ from the 73% of all teams in our 2019 report that are projected to employ remote workers by 2028, or the more than two-thirds of workers worldwide who are already doing their jobs away from the office at least once a week?
Millennials in hiring positions understand this. Our report found nearly 70% of younger-generation managers have team members who are allowed to work remotely.
The bottom line here is that great Millennial marketers aren’t going to adapt to you; you must adapt to them. If you don’t make that leap, your competition almost certainly will—thereby winning the war for the diverse marketing talent you need to differentiate your brand in creative and relevant ways. The best path to progress is to dispense with any biases about this generation and their work ethic that might be holding you back and embrace the Millennial mindset.