Millennials Now Make Up Largest Workforce Generation in US

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Millennials are now the largest workforce generation in the U.S., and almost half of them work in business and professional services while a third are in financial activities, according to a new Paychex survey geared toward small businesses.

But this generation, born between 1981 and 1997, functions differently from older ones. And, as accounting firms search for new talent to add to their ranks of CPAs, bookkeepers and financial planners, here are a few pointers that the survey offers.

Attracting Millennials

They like flexibility — in work hours, workplaces i.e. working from home and telecommuting, and casual dress styles. They also move quickly in decision-making and that includes accepting a job offer. In other words, don’t dally.

Motivating Them

Millennials want to be effective and do work that has an impact. They also appreciate feedback geared to each of them personally and that focuses on results. Because they value being part of the company culture, it helps to tie your firm’s goals to what’s expected of them on the job. That also serves their need to feel connected.

So, as Paychex puts it, “by blending their passions with the company’s goals, you can mold them to fit well within the organization without taking away their identity.”

They’ll also appreciate opportunities to advance through interactions with other departments, special projects or outside training. And, because of their need to feel connected, helping them plan a career track doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll lose them.

The following are several nuts-and-bolts aspects of millennial salary/pay rates, where they are most likely to work and in which fields:

  • Millennials in professional and business services earn the most ($26.05 per hour) but have the lowest pay growth rate at 5.3 percent. Except for the category of “other services,” trade, transportation and utilities are the industries with the highest millennial wage growth rate (6.7 percent).
  • At $25.12 per hour, financial activities is a close second to the pay rate of professional and business services.
  • At $25.22 per hour, Massachusetts outranks all other states in millennial wages.
  • At $29.21 per hour, San Francisco outpays other metro areas in wages — but keep in mind that the rankings for Massachusetts and San Francisco are surely driven higher by the high cost of living in both areas.
  • The millennial workforce has grown to 38 percent in 2017 from just under 25 percent in 2011. That outpaces Generation X workers (1965-1980), who have dropped to about 35 percent from about 40 percent, and baby boomers (1946-1964), who have dropped to 25 percent of the workforce in 2017 from 35 percent in 2011.
  • Female millennials comprise 45.3 percent of the generation’s full-time workers compared to 54.7 percent for men.
  • Most millennials (40.2 percent) work in the West, followed by 38 percent in the South, 37.5 percent in the Northeast and 36 percent in the Midwest.
  • The gender gap, which gets a lot of attention, is narrower for millennials than other generations. But, says Paychex, that could widen as millennials climb the ladder. Female employees make up 45.3 percent of millennial full-time employees, compared to 54.7 percent for males. For all full-time employees, the gender gap is wider, as women make up 43.9 percent, compared to 56.1 percent for men. Still, the annual wage growth rate is 6.2 percent for men but 5.3 percent for women.

About Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.

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