• Damon Swisher

Millennial Engineers; What Can We Bring to the Table

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Aside from like, you know, memes and copious amounts of anime knowledge.

Well you know what, we've actually got quite a bit to bring to the table! Millennial culture, for at least a few years when the term was coined, fell heavily under attack as most budding generations do for their perceived under-performance and progressive world view. Yet today, you have many of these same people entering into both entry- and journeyman-level careers with a vigor and sharp wit that really has shaped and characterized the generation as a whole.

Now, a lot of the newer generations (Gen Z included) are often burdened with the accusation of being lazy. But this is statistically not the case. 71% of Millennials are actively seeking employment - meaning, they don't have a job, but they want one. This is in comparison to 44% of the Baby Boomer generation who are actively seeking employment. In a way, this sort of characterizes the challenge that many Millennials have admitted to observing - difficulty finding a job after college.

Additionally, in a separate survey, when asked if a certain work position would not be conducive for lateral growth in their industry, 67% of Millennials would either not take the job, or leave the job if they some how ended up in it. This shows that Millennials are incredibly driven people with over-arching goals and want to strive to find their place in their chosen industry. This might not be great for some employers, but for professional industries like engineering, this is great news!

But those are just numbers

So what do Millennials actively bring to the table that's different from their predecessors?

They bring INNOVATION!

I believe many of us can recognize or empathize with this analogy; but I personally like to take things apart. During school, it was often little things like pens, pencil sharpeners, and staplers. as I learned to use Youtube, it become things like printers, old radios, alarms etc. and with all that, I learned quite a bit about modern products. I gained an appreciation for industrial design (especially with things like pens and electronic component housing) and I gained knowledge on a very invaluable lesson; everything follows a design.

When you take something apart, you are in a sense, forming the anti-thesis of the original creator of the product. This is true for things like biology, medicine, and - of course - engineering. In the biology example, we have scientists dissecting plants and analyzing the way a plant operates through dissection (though I bet the most relate-able example is dissecting a goats eye or frog in science class). And this is true for the actions of Millennials as well.

Millennials are an incredibly curious and dedicated generation. This can be seen in a number of facets throughout the social realm - including the digital revolution. When you've taken apart a pen, or a printer even, you certainly have a set of parts - often mechanical - and you form an understanding about how it works when it's assembled. But how about a program? Taking apart a program; though similar in concept, yields a much different set of parts. But Millennials now have a social stimulation for programming, as well as innovating within the digital realm. In fact, in a survey of human resources professionals about what they believe Millennials embody the most, 86% of them attributed "tech-savvy" as an accurate identifier. And as I've mentioned in other articles, with the software development and software engineering field SKY-rocketing in opportunity (with an expected 10-year career growth in 2014 of 17% - 12% higher than the expectation for mechanical engineering) Millennials are going to be the belle of the ball soon enough.

How does this relate to me, as a hiring professional?

Well I'm so glad you asked. Now, I am not here to make a claim that you should hire Millennials over, say, Gen X or Baby Boomers - I just want to highlight facts that Millennials are competitive in the job market.

Fact: Millennials are committed to doing better in the workplace. 40% of Millennials would like increased feedback from their employers on what they are doing well with, and what they are doing right.

Fact: Millennials are committed to personal growth. 86% of Millennials admit that (and I have a whole article planned on this topic) if their employer provides a means for career and training development, they would be more likely to choose that position over other offers.

Fact: Millennials go for it. I know this is certainly true for myself, as I moved from Texas to Washington, D.C. for my job in naval government contracting. Millennials are 50% more likely to relocate than non-Millennials for their intended career.

Fact: Millennials enjoy work. One survey states that 40% of Millennials have "High job satisfactions", while another survey shows that 67% of Millennials indicated they were "Somewhat Happy" with their work life.

So, it's more than clear that Millennials bring some great qualities to the career table. To summarize it, we are loyal, dedicated, hard-working, TECH-SAVVY (rolls eyes, but accepts compliment), and innovative. And also, we have memes. So, as long as you are an employer who is committed to the success of your employees, then you have nothing to fear from hiring Millennials! In fact, I believe you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see them flourish and grow in a position of respect.

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