Millennial recruitment to focus on 'purpose over pay'

Inspiring Stories chief executive Guy Ryan says millennials care about purpose more than pay cheques when it comes to business. Photo: NZ Herald
Inspiring Stories chief executive Guy Ryan says millennials care about purpose more than pay cheques when it comes to business. Photo: NZ Herald

A Kiwi charity founded by a former Young New Zealander of the Year is starting a recruitment agency specifically for millennials.

The business, aptly named Millennials, will help companies attract talented workers aged between 18 and their late 30s and invest the profits in youth development programmes.

Guy Ryan, chief executive of the social enterprise Inspiring Stories which is setting up the agency, said the venture was still in the planning stages so details about when it would launch and how it would function were yet to be finalised.

However, his and co-founder Thomas Maharaj's vision for the agency was based on the idea that being socially responsible, or "purpose driven", was a competitive advantage for businesses and hiring young professionals could help companies achieve this.

This echoed comments by Larry Fink, head of the global investment company BlackRock which manages more than US$6.3 trillion ($8.9 trillion) in assets, who told business leaders in January their organisations would have to make a "positive contribution to society" to stay profitable because consumers were demanding it.

Millennials - the generation born between 1980 and 2000 - were increasingly "choosing purpose over pay cheque" when looking for work, said Ryan, who won the Young New Zealander of the Year award in 2015.

"A pay cheque's still important - you have to pay the bills, you have to pay rent, you have to buy food. But being able to put energy, time and talent into things that will actually make a real difference is really important [to millennials].

"Millennials want to know how they can drive change in the organisation they work for to create change and better outcomes for society and the environment, not just day-to-day business as usual."

A recent survey Inspiring Stories conducted ahead of its annual conference for millennials, Festival for the Future, found the issues Kiwi young people were most concerned about were child poverty and mental and physical health.

Other issues that consistently came up were biodiversity, accessibility and affordability of housing and millennials' voices being represented when it comes to decision-making for the future.

Ryan said the success of Eat My Lunch, which donates a lunch to a Kiwi kid in poverty each time someone orders lunch for themselves, showed tackling child poverty was a priority for consumers.

It was a good example of how a business could change society for the better.

Just under half of the more than 10,000 participants of Deloitte's annual global millennial survey released last month said they believed businesses acted ethically. Of the 200 Kiwis spoken to that figure was 45%.

Deloitte New Zealand director Lauren Foster said the results should be a wake-up call to business leaders.

Millennials currently make up more than a third of New Zealand's working population. By 2020 they will outnumber both baby boomers and Generation X.

Wellington startup Summer of Tech has been helping university graduates find internships in the technology industry for more than a decade.

Its chief executive Ruth McDavitt said although some startups and medium-sized businesses, like Xero and TradeMe, were keen to hire millennials, other companies snubbed young people, favouring more senior candidates.

"I think there's a lot of focus on hiring skilled and experienced older people. But we're never going to get future seniors if we don't employ juniors.

"We're losing talent overseas by not having entry-level jobs available. There's more people graduating and coming through courses than there are opportunities. Last year we had 2000 candidates looking for internships and we placed 220 of them into jobs."

In her experience, most millennials were motivated at work when they felt passionate about their job and felt like they had a purpose.

"When you're hiring millennials make sure that you're really clear about what your business goals are and they can align their values and understand that they will be making an impact," said McDavitt.

The social issues about which millennials are most concerned
Nationally:
1) Child poverty
2) Mental and physical health
3) Millennials' voices and values being represented in decision-making about the future

Auckland:
1) Mental and physical health
2) Child poverty
3) Accessibility and affordability of housing

Waikato:
1) Millennials' voices and values being represented in decision making about the future
2) Mental and physical health
3) Child poverty

Bay of Plenty:
1) Government transparency
2) Biodiversity
3) Mental and physical health

Manawatu/Whanganui:
1) Child poverty
2) Mental and physical health
3) Millennials' voices and values being represented in decision making about the future

Wellington:
1) Mental and physical health
2) Child poverty
3) Accessibility and affordability of housing

Canterbury:
1) Child poverty
2) Mental and physical health
3) Biodiversity

Otago:
1) Child poverty
2) Mental and physical health
3) Transport sustainability

(Source: Festival of the Future's annual pre-conference survey of more than 200 millennials)

 

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