A snapshot of the millennial workforce and what it means for your firm

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Each generation joins the workforce gradually as members come of working age and ultimately fades out of the workforce as members reach retirement age, but there is a time in the middle when each generation becomes the largest group in the workforce. For millennials, that time is now.

In 2016, millennials became the largest generational group in the American workforce. Their impact on workplace culture has been widely documented since they started working, but what does their increasing employee population mean for wages, now and in the future? And which regions and industries are seeing proportionately higher millennial populations? A new report by Paychex takes a deep dive into millennial wages, geographic distribution and industry preferences, analyzing their current status, growth rates and what this all means for businesses trying to attract, retain and grow talent in this increasingly competitive labor market.

Here are a few key things to know about millennials in the workforce, and, more specifically, in the professional and business services industry, today:

• On average, millennials make $21.80 hour ($5.79/hour less than the all-generation average), but millennial wages are growing at a rate nearly double that of all generations (5.8 percent compared to 3.0 percent, respectively).

• Females employees make up 45.3 percent of the millennial full-time employee population, compared to 54.7 percent for males.

• There is a higher percentage of full-time millennial female employees in the professional business services industry than full-time millennial male employees, 39.7 percent and 38.6 percent, respectively.

• Aside from the leisure and hospitality industry, professional and business services have the highest percentage of full-time millennial employees (39.1 percent), 1.1 percent greater than the percentage of full-time millennial employees nationally.

• Millennials in professional and business services have the highest hourly earnings among industries ($26.05/hour), but have the lowest annual growth in wages, 5.3 percent.

Understanding those factors can keep your firm competitive when it comes to potential salary requirements for millennial candidates, but here are some tips that can help you through the recruitment process and beyond, keeping millennial employees engaged and growing with your firm:

• Be proactive and effective in your recruitment effort. Millennials don’t like to drag out their job decisions.

• Listen to what millennials are looking for in a workplace. Be willing to offer flexible work hours, work from home/telecommuting options, casual dress days, etc.

• Offer meaningful work opportunities and foster connections. Millennials seek to be effective and impactful in their roles. As the job allows, let them work on projects that they are passionate about that also impact results. Feeling like they have a stake in the game and that their voice is heard can help keep them engaged.

• Provide millennials with opportunities for development, whether a special project, exposure to other departments, or classes/training outside of the workplace. Ask them early on about their career aspirations, develop a plan to help them get there, and regularly monitor progress toward those milestones.

As was the pattern of generations before them, millennials’ wages, population and gender distribution, and workplace preferences will change as they move forward in their careers and as new generations enter the workforce. But knowing where they stand now can help you attract millennial employees to your firm for the long term.

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