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Managing millennials in IT workforce

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By Vishwas Nandalikar

According to Bloomberg analysis of the United Nations population-projection data, India’s millennial generation is bigger than China’s or the US, which will boost the nation’s labour force to the world’s largest by 2027. Millennials are our first generation of digital natives and content creators. And because they are digital natives, millennials are incredibly important to the tech sector from a talent perspective. Right now, the average employee age at India’s top tech companies is between 28 and 31 – and the new ideas, approach and ethos of the millennials are increasingly becoming the drivers of innovation in the tech industry.

Vishwas Nandalikar, Human Resource Business Partner- PS, The Adecco Group India

The IT sector has been a key job creator in the country, and is expected to add more workforces with the rise of digital technologies. But even the best tech organisations are struggling to keep pace when it comes to finding appropriately skilled candidates. Therefore, it’s critical that once we find and hire talent, to keep them engaged and fulfilled as they progress through their careers. This is particularly true with millennials. They are critical for the industry to fulfil its potential, so we need them to stick with the industry once they choose it: to develop innovations, to explore their own capacity for growth and leadership within technology, and, in the future, to lead the tech industry in India and globally to new heights.

While it might be easy to assume they are looking for big pay cheques, for the average millennial, it turns out that the reasons are far more complex. Of course, reasonable incentives do positively impact performance of your staff. Employees perform better when they are content with their wages. One of the top issues cited for millennial “itchy feet” was that many feel like their skills are not being fully developed by their current employers.

There are a lot of things that the sector can do to nurture and transform millennials into becoming the tech leaders of tomorrow. One such effective initiative is mentoring. It’s important for companies to invest in mentoring because millennials expect a personal touch. A recent Future Workplace survey shows that millennials like to communicate face-to-face, particularly when it comes to more senior or experienced colleagues. According to Deloitte, a whopping 94 per cent of millennials in a mentoring scheme feel the advice they receive is good, and 83 per cent are satisfied with mentoring. It is often noticed that a formal mentoring program has a significant impact on the speed of their career development. Additionally, millennial generation has unique perspectives while growing up in digital world and hence, can offer great insights and ideas from everything regarding product innovation to company strategy to giving back to the community.

Another important aspect which every organisation should consider is ‘engagement’. Organisations should ensure millennials get connected both socially and professionally and get meaningful work in an open communication environment. Unlike the generations before them, the millennial workforce expects to advance faster, and value tangible results over tenure. Tech organisations can address and engage with their employees more by providing them technological tools at work and developing a tech ecosystem where there are more opportunities to move up the ladder. Organisations should understand their needs of advancement and make them an active part of the decision making process, whether that’s about scheduling, operational changes, or technology upgrades


There will be a fundamental shift in the workforce with emerging cognitive technologies and the open talent economy. And millennials are now the majority. Engaging and retaining millennials is going to be a new challenge for all employers, as “job hopping” becomes a more popular mode of operation. For example, a study published in Forbes found that 91 per cent of millennials plan to stay at their current job no more than three years. That means employers will have to take into account what attracts them to positions and what keeps them engaged on the job. By providing them with the unique things they desire such as technology and company perks, organisations can reel in more young workers. Once there, it is critical for organisations to make millennials feel part of a meaningful community by including them in decision-making processes and allowing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

(The author is Human Resource Business Partner- PS, The Adecco Group India)

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