Why Millennials are the Workforce of the Future

CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux, in his 2014 ChannelCon keynote, said, “By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. They are changing the DNA of our industry.”

But, why does that seem to scare non-millennials?

Last March, my Telarus co-founder, Adam Edwards, wrote an article about working with millennials. He said it isn’t about a specific age group, but rather all workers. “The secret to working with millennials is pretty much the same as working with everyone else because we all want a great culture with values,” he wrote. “We want autonomy and purpose.” Harvard Business Review agrees. When asked, “What do millennials really want at work?” the answer they come up with was, “The same things the rest of us do.”

The concern here, as we voiced in our Distributor Advisory Council conversations at ChannelCon last month, centers on how to get this generation to enter our industry. Because it grew up with technology, it makes sense millennials would gravitate toward industries with a focus on tech. The STEM programs are pushing coding as the main way to have a job in technology, but there is so much more to it.

CompTIA Programs for IT
It’s probably fair to say most of us in this industry didn’t dream of our current job at age five, age 15, or even at age 20. The Creating IT Futures Foundation was also at ChannelCon and presented programs aimed at attracting new workers to join the IT industry. CITF has started programs aimed at getting millennials and under-represented groups such as women and minorities to join the IT industry.

Charles Eaton, CEO of CITF, talked about starting early. Kids in middle school and high school need to be exposed to opportunities outside of the traditional job roles.
One CITF program is IT-Ready. Graduates of this program complete an eight-week IT-training curriculum, covering both technical and professional skills, get CompTIA A+ certified and pre-screen through the workplace personality inventory and literacy and math tests. Another CITF program is DevPrep, which offers a four-week, classroom-based, pre-apprenticeship program for future coders. They help unemployed and under-employed young adults and military veterans gain the skills for software development careers. These programs expose IT jobs to an entirely new group of people.

Use Technology Like a Millennial
I’m a Gen-Xer who loves technology. I’m open and available to collaborate with co-workers anytime. I’m a fan of technology because it enhances my life. While at ChannelCon, I was able to FaceTime with my son back home and stay in touch with work on Skype for Business calls from my hotel room.

My team is all millennials. They embrace technology and use it to make us better. But they didn’t join the organization with a hand out expecting an iPad or Apple Watch. They aren’t demanding or entitled.

With age comes experience. While I am all for experience, there is an energy and excitement that comes from working with young people. I volunteer my time with my son’s Boy Scout troop for the same reason. It keeps me young. Wouldn’t the same be true in the office?

The world of work has changed. It’s about technology, not age.

Amy Bailey is vice president of marketing with Telarus.

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