Our future depends on recruiting millennials, say SMEs

20 August 2015

  • Almost nine in ten SMEs say ‘future growth relies on millennials’
  • Millennials will turn down job if culture isn’t right, even if money is good
  • Businesses are investing 15 per cent of annual turnover to recruit millennials
  • They need mentoring support to attract this age group

Small and medium sized businesses believe future success relies on their ability to recruit so-called millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – but recognise that they need to do more to attract them, according to new research by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Almost nine in ten (86 per cent) SMEs said the growth of their business relies on their ability to recruit millennial talent. In fact, a quarter (25 per cent) said they want a millennial to take over their business one day.

It is estimated that millennials will account for more than half of the global workforce by 2020 and will shape the workplaces of tomorrow.

Power shift to millennial job-seekers

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of SMEs said they feel under pressure to sell themselves to millennials. Indeed, a third (33 per cent) of firms worry that a job offer has been turned down in the past because the young candidate didn’t like their business culture.

In fact, the survey showed that more than half (56 per cent) of millennials would turn down a job offer if they didn’t like a company’s culture, even if the salary was right.

Because of this, more than half (52 per cent) of businesses think the balance of power has shifted to millennials within the recruitment process.

As such, SMEs are reviewing and adapting their working practices, with most (88 per cent) prepared to do this to secure the services of millennials.

To this end, small businesses are, on average, investing 15 per cent of their annual turnover just on recruiting this generation.

Flexibility is a priority say millennials

When asked what they are looking for in a job, the most popular answer, cited by 45 per cent of millennials, was flexible working hours, followed by regular training (32 per cent) and the option to work from home (22 per cent).

While 65 per cent of SMEs think their business is already geared up correctly to attract millennials and offer them this kind of working environment, 40 per cent said they need further guidance – such as enterprise mentoring support – to recruit this age group more effectively.

The most attractive skills SMEs want in millennials are their fresh ideas (61 per cent), a different perspective (44 per cent) and digital skills (38 per cent).

Gareth Oakley, managing director, SME Banking, Lloyds Banking Group said: “SMEs need to work hard to recruit millennials as the future of their business could depend on having them on board. They can tap in to a range of attributes, from hard skills such as digital and technological know-how, to fresh ideas and new perspectives.

“Although SMEs are beginning to invest and change their business culture to make themselves more attractive, they also tell us that they need help to find the right people.

“Whether it’s marketing, financial support or digital expertise, for example, there’s a whole wealth of guidance available to them via our local relationship managers and national network of enterprise mentors. With this support, SMEs will be better placed to make a success of their millennial recruitment drive and ensure long-term business success.”