The millennial generation — those born roughly between 1980 and 2000 — is now the largest generation in North America and in the workforce. Despite their size and diversity, the millennial group is often quickly stereotyped as entitled young people glued to technology and demanding workplace perks. Though largely inaccurate, this negative perception leaves some senior finance leaders unable to picture millennials as the executives of tomorrow. This report examines these concerns in detail, illuminates what can be done to correct misperceptions and puts forth plans to help prepare the millennial generation for future finance leadership roles in Canada and the United States.
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- Which traits can actually define millennials, according to research, and which are largely false perceptions
- How and why many millennials approach their careers differently than previous generations
- Specific, research-backed recommendations to create effective training and mentorship programs
- How to foster a work culture that successfully recruits, engages and retains millennials and develops them into the next generation of finance leaders
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How to Use This Report
The findings in this report are based on an extensive review of existing literature as well as in-depth interviews with senior-level financial executives and subject matter experts. Recommendations for bridging the leadership gap include mentorship programs, enriched engagement incentives, continual learning advancements and other initiatives intended to support a work environment that nurtures new talent. This guidance will help finance leaders attract millennials earlier in their careers, engage them professionally and, in the process, create a leadership pipeline, driving higher levels of retention.
See more information on the sections of the report and some key considerations for each.
Trends Affecting Millennials’ Path Toward Leadership
This section sets the stage for the findings and recommendations in this report by detailing the generational situation and trends in the finance and accounting industry. It answers questions like:
- How is the retirement of traditionalists (or the silent generation) and baby boomers affecting the financial fields?
- How has enrollment in finance and accounting education programs changed in recent years, and what does this say about the profession?
- How are the demographics of finance and accounting professionals shifting?
- In general, how does employee engagement in the workplace differ for each generation (traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X and millennials)? And what factors contribute to those engagement levels right now?
The Millennial Generation: Prevailing Attitudes
This section dives into several generational and cross-generational studies to tease out the similarities and differences between millennials and other cohorts. You will get into issues such as:
- Do millennials have significantly different long-term goals and aspirations?
- What has shaped millennial attitudes toward work and personal growth?
- How have beliefs about what controls or impedes performance changed for young adults in the last few decades?
- Do traditionalists, baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials view conformity, loyalty and hierarchy in significantly different ways?
- How has the rise of student debt informed millennial ideas about money, assets and experiences?
Mass Customization and Personalized Careers
This section takes a macro view of the economic, social and technological changes that have shaped the last 20 to 30 years, and then zeroes in on how these have shaped the professional expectations and desires of many millennials. Read on if you want to know:
- How has the evolution of the consumer economy caused millennials to approach the world and their careers differently?
- How can more recent understandings of human motivation help managers improve employee engagement among all workers — especially millennials?
- What economic and social factors have led to many millennials switching jobs more frequently than previous generations have done?
What Can Current Finance Leaders Do?
This final portion of the report offers several specific recommendations that managers and companies can employ to identify, engage, retain and develop the next generation of finance leaders. Specifically, find out:
- How are career paths changing and what does this mean for identifying millennial candidates to fill leadership pipelines?
- How have some traditional hierarchies and reward systems been challenged by the increased need for collaboration and innovation?
- What are some specific professional development methodologies and frameworks that can be used to develop finance leaders in all generations?
- What specific hard and soft skills should finance leaders help the next generation master in order to lead?
- What are some specific tactics for helping members of different generations work together and transfer knowledge more easily?
- How can current finance leaders foster a culture of work-life balance, social cohesion and transparency that increases millennial engagement and retention?
- How can finance leaders create mentorship programs and embed them into company culture?