More than one-third of U.S. workers are Millennials, making up 35% of the labor force*, followed closely by Gen Xers. For these younger generations, the idea of a decades-long career in one position or at one company, is as outdated as renting movies at Blockbuster.
Armed with the knowledge that they will have numerous jobs at a variety of companies in their lifetimes, Millennials and Gen Xers know how important it is to take advantage of career development opportunities every day. In a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 88% of Millennial respondents and 89% of Gen X respondents cited opportunities for career development and professional growth as integral factors to job satisfaction. These younger workers know that if they don’t keep learning and growing within their careers, their prospects will stagnate and the job market will eventually leave them behind.
Millennials, Gen Xers, and older members of the workforce should follow the younger generations’ lead and not only take advantage of opportunities for career development, but actively and enthusiastically seek them out. Entrepreneurial minds who want to start their own business should always be on the lookout for opportunities to train themselves. If you ask most successful car dealers, for example, how they learned to broker a vehicle in Texas or any other part of the world, they’d probably tell you how hard they worked for it. Decades-long jobs with lifetime stability and retirement pensions are a thing of the past. Continual self-improvement is the best way for employees of any age to keep themselves relevant and qualified for new positions. No longer do workers have the option to stay in one job for years, but instead must keep moving forward and continually learn new skills to advance their careers. The learning management platform makes it easy for Millennials to access learning and is a tool for organizations to keep employees engaged. The Meridian LMS offers features a learner can take advantage of to help with their career progression, like our LMS Career Explorer or training opportunities to fill knowledge gaps.
Proactive career development is not just important for future job roles-it’s also key to an employee’s current position. Engaging in professional education makes an employee look at their current job in new ways, inspiring creative solutions to problems that may once have seemed intractable. Whether it’s coursework, attending conferences, or self-study, there’s nothing like learning something new to inspire innovation. Nowadays, there are even newer ways of learning coming to the forefront such as micro-learning, which is using short, bite-sized pieces of knowledge to enhance employee skills on-spot. As microlearning statistics seem to show us, this form of training & development has started to gain popularity amongst employees in all fields, and it may be especially so for the younger generation.
The best reason to prioritize constant evaluation and career growth however, may be the simplest -it keeps workers from getting bored. No matter how much someone may enjoy their job, doing the same thing, in the same way for years on end will eventually get old. However, if workers are constantly developing, exploring and learning new things -even in the same job, boredom won’t be a concern.
As a generation, Millennials are often castigated for their short attention spans. In a competitive, constantly changing working world, those short attention spans may be the very key to staying productive and relevant. The push to be always changing, growing and learning, keeps them engaged, keeps them improving and may be what keeps them employed. Everyone can learn and benefit from that attitude.
*Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.