Millennials talk careers: Amy Shaw
Human Resources

Millennials talk careers: Amy Shaw

Name: Amy Shaw

Age: 26

Education: BA, English Literature

Current role: Senior Digital PR Executive, Curated Digital

Ideal role: Head of Digital PR

 

Are the stereotypes about millennials true?

That mainly depends on what stereotypes people refer to. If they are the stereotypes which postulate that all millennials are narcissistic, selfish and lazy, then yes these are untrue. If you are talking about millennials being the generation of instant gratification, then I am more inclined to say that yes, that’s true, but that’s due to social conditioning more than anything else. A lot of people tend to blanket the term millennial, and I think it’s worth noting that a millennial can be anyone from the age of 12 to 35, and thus are wildly different from each other.

In terms of a career, people tend to feel that all millennials want is a coffee machine and beanbags, and whilst there is a definite shift in working habits between the generations, this stereotype could not be further from the truth. Brands tend to scramble to ‘attract the millennial’ without doing too much research into the generation itself. The consumer today has never had more power, and the internet, along with smart phones and connectivity means that consumers want things instantly, yet this trait is not necessarily only attributed to millennials.

In addition to this, millennials tend to be somewhat disenfranchised with the working world or previous generations. The media constantly reminds them that they will never be able to afford their own property, that salaries aren’t rising the way they did before and the hour glass shape of organisations (a.k.a the middle management squeeze) means that their future prospects and developments aren’t clear. Thus, millennials do have different habits to the previous generation, as they don’t have the same stability or clear progression path.

 

What benefits most attract you to a new position?

One of the most important things for me is what that role is going to bring to my personal and professional development. Nowadays, we see a lot of people do a sideways shift in their career, rather than an upwards one, and a lot of this has to do with the training opportunities which are offered by another company. In terms of benefits, I would be looking for creative freedom, the opportunity to develop into new areas and learn new things and what development within that organisation looks like.

 

In the long term which of the following is most important to you? (Please explain why?)

  • Career development
  • Work/ life balance
  • Salary

Career development would be the most important thing for me, and salary comes as part of that. I personally wouldn’t be satisfied with not working towards a goal regardless of how good the work/ life balance was. I believe your twenties is when you career starts to take hold and you’re given opportunities to develop skills which will help you reach your goals. I never want to look back at my career and wonder why I didn’t stick around to talk to that person, or didn’t call up that person to talk about opportunities as you never really know what could happen.

 

What do you think most companies are getting wrong when hiring/ retaining younger workers?

Sometimes companies overlook their younger employees as not being important enough to have good ideas which need to be heard. I think one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is not giving the younger employees a voice, especially brands who are trying to market to people in the same generation. The world has changed substantially in the last ten years, and the people who are coming into the workforce now are the ones who grew up with social media and smartphones, they are tech savvy and they can often provide invaluable insight and ignoring that can often be a huge pitfall when retaining younger workers.

 

Looking back, is there anything you’d change about the route you took to your current career?

I think that every journey is different, and each job I had before landing this one taught me a lot of lessons. In previous roles I was treated as disposable, faced office bullying and confronted workplace sexism, and whilst none of those experiences were enjoyable, I also learned invaluable skills which helped me develop into the person I am today and in many ways prepared me for the job I currently do. I decided to have a complete career change a couple of years ago, and left a normal salaried job to be an intern at my current company. I don’t regret it, and I think sometimes you need to take a leap of faith, so to speak, in order to achieve your long term goals.

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