Global Millennials Are Optimistic and Entrepreneurial 

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The Citi Foundation has released a new report on global millennials and the the news is mixed. Accelerating Pathways reveals that by and large, millennials are optimistic about their futures and dream of working for themselves. It also reveals that youth unemployment remains high and the gender pay gap among young adults consistently stays around 20%. The downloadable survey package includes a global survey, an interactive database, and a strategy index.

The report is a worthy read for all HR professionals and strategists. Because of the changing dynamic of the workplace — as many as five generations might be present in some organizations, with millennials accounting for more and more staff overall, including key decision makers — millennials continue to be a hot topic in the business and general media. Misinformation abounds, much of it based on intergenerational “kids these days” alarmism. Do millennials really have over the top expectations for compensation and time off? No. Do millennials really want work to become play? Also no. But are there real differences in how millennials approach teamwork and respond to authority? Yes. Good information in this area, globally sourced, is incredibly valuable.

The global nature of the data is also welcome — recruiters looking for top talent and specialized skills increasingly search globally, not locally. It’s important recruiters and HR professionals understand global flows of talent, and the context of global workers. Accelerating Pathways offers insight into why candidates relocate — cultural factors including tolerance are a surprisingly important factor — and where they’re most likely to relocate to. It looks at millennial living situations and aspirations, demonstrating that many of the trends that have been hurting the US workforce, including high debt, are more or less global. In a piece on the study, Fast Company points out that “many youth still need financial support.” In fact,

“Over three-quarters (77%) still live with parents or relatives, and more than half (57%) receive money from their families every month. Perhaps that is why many of the respondents said that the stability of a position drives the reason for the work they do. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to strike out on their own. The majority (77%) dream of working for themselves or starting their own business.”

This puts worries about stay-at-home millennials into perspective.

One key factor for millennial success was geography — the culture, economy, and support systems of their environment is key to outcomes. The report ranked millennial success in 1o cities worldwide and the results won’t be surprising to anyone who pays attention to both livability indices and the economy.

  1. Toronto
  2. New York
  3. Chicago
  4. Singapore
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Los Angeles
  8. London
  9. Sydney
  10. Miami

But this ranking is only a small part of the picture. Toronto’s high placing comes in spite of its high unemployment rate; London’s in spite of its sky-rocketing rates of economic inequality. Smaller cities with booming tech and entrepreneurial scenes don’t appear on the list — success is complicated and multi-dimensional. What’s clear though, is that cities can do more for millennial workers — and that there’s lots of room for employers to tailor recruitment packages, based on this data.


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