Millennials talk careers: Ben Vickers

Do the stereotypes about Millennials stack up?

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Name: Ben Vickers

Age: 26

Education: BSc, Information Systems with Management, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Current role: Project Manager, BJSS

Ideal role: Product Creation and Development Director


Are the stereotypes about millennials true?

Yes and no. The fallout of the 2008 global banking crisis has made credible work opportunities few and far between for us younger workers. While I don’t accept that we necessarily have a sense of entitlement, I do agree that millennials are a generation of ‘job hoppers’. This is because many of my peers are working in entry-level and highly transactional jobs, which, by their nature, encourage job hopping.


What benefits most attract you to a new position?

I’m quite ambitious and I need to feel challenged, so at this early stage of my career, I always welcome fresh learning and development opportunities.

Using this time to prepare for my future counts too, and my parents conditioned me from an early age to save towards a life goal, so some of the benefits that my company provides, like Financial Planning, appeal to me. In addition to contributing towards a pension, I save around 15 per cent of my salary towards building a deposit for my own home.

I’m also attracted by the culture of the company and I’m drawn to organizations that have strong social values. My current employer has an inspiring CSR platform that provides scholarships for underprivileged school children. We have a great apprenticeship programme as well. The company encourages staff to contribute their expertise towards both these initiatives.


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

It has to be career development! The technology sector where I work is always evolving. Here, regardless of career stage, skills are constantly being developed and certifications are secured and updated.

Those who fall behind with their qualifications can quickly face career stagnation because they won’t be exposed to cutting edge tools and technologies.


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

Larger companies tend to be highly process driven. In an interview scenario, this often results in recruiters sticking to a rigid experienced-based interview script.

This rigidity disadvantages younger candidates who often only have barista and retail experience behind them, and struggle to find credible answers to these types of questions. Companies should recognize this and, in the case of first job interviews, perhaps focus on the candidate’s competence and attitude instead.


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

The job market is competitive, so to give myself a bit more of an edge, I did a one year placement while at university and then I moved to China for several months to undertake an internship. While I think it’s natural that everyone looks back and wishes they had done something slightly differently, I think that these early decisions turned out to be advantageous to my career.