Are Millennials really changing the way we work?

Part 1 of our data driven investigation into the talent trends of 2014

Introducing a four part investigation into 2014’s key talent trends, thanks to our friends at Indeed

We’ve spent the past few weeks searching for a data driven way to investigate the top HR and talent trends of 2014. The real question that I wanted to ask here was: “are these real trends affecting business, or just a big media/blogger beat-up”?

Luckily, we found Indeed’s awesome job trends tool. If you’re not familiar with Indeed, it’s one of the world’s biggest job post aggregators. Indeed collects millions of job ads from sites across the web. This approach has quickly seen them become a recruiting powerhouse.

Each week, the team at Indeed make data from millions of job ads publically available and searchable. So we can look at how frequently key words (or phrases) are occurring in job ads, going back ten years.

It’s an incredibly powerful way to look at whether these HR trends are really changing the way that companies are hiring.

What do millions of job posts tell us about the real talent trends?

We picked out four trends that we’ve seen come up time and time again in the business press over 2014. These four trends are:

  1. Millennials are changing the way we work (part 1, today)
  2. HR is about to be taken over by data/finance (part 2, coming tomorrow)
  3. Technology is reshaping the way we work (part 3, coming this Thursday)
  4. Holacracy is set to make managers obsolete (part 4, coming this Friday)

We wanted to understand if these are real trends shaping the way companies are hiring, or if they just make great stories in the press. We’re going to dive into one of these topics per day over the next four days. So make sure you check back frequently!

Without further ado, let’s jump into Millennials and find out if they’re really reshaping the workplace…

Are Millennials really changing the way we work?

There has been a lot written about Millennials in the workplace over the past year. Here’s a couple of the more influential pieces that you might have seen

I’m going to highlight some of key attributes of a “Millennial friendly workplace” that just keep coming up throughout these articles:

  • Flexibility
  • Feedback
  • Collaboration
  • Friendly
  • Work from home

To see if workplaces are really becoming more Millennial friendly, let’s have a look at these five terms in job advertisements:

Flexible

We know that Millennials want more flexibility and better work life integration. And this chart provides pretty strong evidence that workplaces are heading in this direction. Over the past 10 years, you can see the frequency that “flexibility” comes up in job adverts has nearly doubled. This is the most frequent of the Millennial related terms, appearing in nearly 15% of all job posts.

Flexible

Feedback

Feedback has shown similar growth, albeit from a lower base. It’s interesting that the term has plateaued in job advertising since mid 2012.

Feedback

Collaboration

Collaborative and friendly workplaces are commonly cited characteristics of a Millennial workplace. There’s an interesting relationship here between the “collaborative” and “friendly” workplace. Collaboration showed very strong growth over the period of 2005 to late 2011. It has plateaued since and fell significantly in 2014.

Collaboration

Friendly

In an interesting takeaway for your recruiting efforts, it seems that the “collaborative” workplace is out, and the “friendly” workplace is in. This was probably one of the bigger surprises in cutting the data. Over the past ten years there’s a real trend towards more friendly workplaces. I certainly didn’t expect to see such growth over the past 2-3 years.

Friendly

Work from home

We’ve saved the most interesting for last! Because in identifying the real Millennial trends of 2014, “Work From Home” is the big growth story. Since early 2014, the term has shown accelerating growth with no end in sight (have a close look at the explosive growth from mid 2014).

Work from home

Millennials really are reshaping the workplace

The data does show that out that these Millennial demands really are reshaping the workplace. More and more workplaces are offering what Millennials are ‘demanding.’

But there’s also a deeper trend here. It does appear that we’re moving to “Phase 2” of the Millennial friendly workplace.

  • Phase 1 includes the trends of “Feedback”, “Flexibility” and “Collaboration”. These were trends that showed strong growth through to early 2012, and have now plateaued.
  • Phase 2 includes the trends of “Friendly” workplaces, and “Work from home”. These two trends in particular have shown significant acceleration over the past three years – whilst some of these earlier trends have stagnated.

Where to next? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what else is could be included in phase two of the Millennial friendly workplace trend.

Interested in the real talent management trends of 2014? Don’t miss the other parts of this series….

If you loved these talent insights, there’s plenty more in this series:

  1. Millennials are changing the way we work (part 1, today)
  2. HR is about to be taken over by data/finance (part 2, coming tomorrow)
  3. Technology is reshaping the way we work (part 3, coming Thursday)
  4. Holacracy is set to make managers obsolete (part 4, coming Friday)

I’d always love to continue the conversation and discuss this article on Twitter. Tweet @cognology with your view on this research and any other key trends you’d like to see investigated.

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