What Training Companies Need to Know About the Millennial Generation

Millennials—those born between 1982 and 1996, ages 20 to 34 years—now hold the largest share of the labor market, with 32 percent of the labor force.

But how are millennials different from the rest of the workforce and from the generations before them?

To find out, the Manpower Group carried out its Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision survey across 25 countries, surveying 19,000 millennials. The sample represented working millennials, including graduates and non-graduates across all industries, income and education levels.

Questions asked included: what do you look for in a job, what development opportunities do you seek and what compels you stay with an employer?

So how do the answers to these questions affect an organization’s learning and development efforts? And how do they shed light on the growing trend in online training companies?

The answer is quite simple: the importance of education is skyrocketing. And because skills drive earnings and create possibilities, organizations must constantly upgrade their workforce talents by improving learning and development efforts. And these efforts must embrace online training software.

As training companies embark on these efforts, here are some vital realities to keep in mind when it comes to attracting and motivating the best millennials for the 21st century workforce:


1. Millennials clearly grasp the importance of learning new skills

Numbering more than 66 million, this generation understands the need for continuous skills development. According to the Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision survey, 93% want lifelong learning. In fact, four out of five believe the opportunity to learn new skills is a priority when considering a new job—and success depends more on having the right skills than the right connections.


2. Millennials are even willing to pay for their own training

Millennials are often portrayed as spoiled and overindulged. However, when it comes to training and development, this is actually a myth. The Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision study found that 95% of American millennials are willing to foot their own bill for training.

Unlike previous generations, millennials are prepared to pay for their own training “because they recognize their ability to stay relevant hinges on continuing to acquire skills,” explains Ravin Jesuthasan, global practice leader of talent management and managing director at Willis Towers Watson.


3. Continuous learning is the key to capturing strong talent

According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, when salary or other financial benefits are removed from the equation, work/life balance and opportunities to progress or take on leadership roles stand out. These factors are followed by flexible working arrangements, developing a sense of meaning, and training programs that support professional development.

What does this mean for an organization?

Employers that are able to offer these benefits will have the competitive advantage when it comes to securing the talents of the millennial generation.

And employers that provide online training will not only meet the needs of millennials when it comes to continuous learning and professional development–but also will meet the needs of the organization by developing a cost-effective way to deliver training programs.


4. Flexible working practices are connected to improved performance

Because technology facilitates mobile working, more and more employers are becoming comfortable with such arrangements. But flexible working schedules are not simply nice to have. They are actually strongly linked to improved organizational performance, loyalty and employee retention, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey.

According to the study, this flexibility is considered by millennials to have a positive influence on work. In fact, millennials report that flexible working arrangements support greater productivity and employee engagement, while at the same time, boosting their personal well being, health and happiness.

This need for flexibility is consistent with the growing popularity of online training software. In virtual classroom environments, students do not need to travel to physical training locations. Instead, they can take a course when and where it’s convenient for them. This supports work/life balance, as well as the need for flexible working arrangements.

The bottom line is that organizations must inspire perpetual learning, so employees have the skills and tools to be successful. With the millennial generation’s strong interest in education and flexibility, an online training platform is a valuable medium to offer these learning opportunities.


  1. Pew Research
  2. Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision
  3. HR Dive
  4. Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey
  5. Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey
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