24 July 2017 by Justin Rush
Building a Workforce for the Future
Millennials, unfortunately, have been portrayed as a generation who want it all and want it now when it comes to jobs and salary increases.
The group born between the years of 1985 and 2000 have been dubbed as ‘Generation Me’ due to their determination to satisfy their own needs first – no matter what, but at Abacus we see millennials as core to any business recruitment strategy.
Many of this summer’s cohort of graduates from Queen’s University, Ulster University and other third-level colleges are currently on the hunt for their first professional job. They could be forgiven for their blatant self-interest as students seek to make a dent in the debt they have racked up from tuition and maintenance fees. There are few of us business leaders today who started off with that level of personal debt from education that millennials face today.
Return on investment is exactly what drives company growth, so why should these twenty-somethings be different or have different expectations than any other business?
Research reveals that Northern Ireland students have done very well in the last number of years in securing jobs following graduation. Last year, the region had more graduates in employment after six months than the rest of the UK (61% compared to 58% in England and Scotland). Northern Ireland also has the lowest percentage of graduates in part-time work at just 11%.
Any flourishing economic region would welcome these statistics as the latest cohort of graduates represents the future of any developing business.
We recently supported the Young Leaders NI Annual Conference 2017. It was hugely encouraging to witness young leaders and determined individuals come together to share ideas and discuss their thoughts on the business of the future. We certainly have a group of young businesspeople in Northern Ireland that does not shy away from a challenge.
Millennials’ expectations earning beyond a Northern Ireland average salary of £25,000 after 3 years in work is realistic, despite the general market hesitancy and foreboding of Brexit in 2019. They do not let it dampen their spirits in finding their dream job but are inspired by the tremendous work and results delivered from our home turf.
In April we released the results of our Salary Survey Report which surveyed 500 employees across 10 professional services segments. Despite uncertainties around the current economic and political environment, the research demonstrated that 80% of Northern Ireland professionals expect to receive a salary increase in 2017 at least equalling or higher than the increase received in 2016. We surveyed employees across law, accountancy, compliance, sales, HR, IT and insurance – including those at the graduate level.
As we work closely with the millennial group year on year, we find they are dynamic professional go-getters, just the type of person we want to introduce to our professional clients.
This passion and drive are also evident to Abacus through the work that we do with Queen’s University and the Ulster University when we arm students with additional skills and advice they need to secure their job in the workplace here.
With more and more FDI companies planting roots in Northern Ireland, and ambitious home-grown businesses providing excellent job opportunities for those starting out on the career ladder, Northern Ireland is certainly attracting and retaining quality young professionals.
Over the past two years, our award-winning ‘Belfast for Life’ initiative has successfully engaged with over 2,000 highly skilled professionals to promote the attractiveness of Northern Ireland to live and work.
Millennials are inevitability the business leaders of the future, and in Northern Ireland, we are lucky to have such driven high-achievers emerging from school and University every year. They are a crucial part of any team – bringing a fresh perspective to successful business strategies.
Alan Braithwaite is a joint director and founder of Abacus Talent Group based in Belfast, Dublin and London, which specialises in sectors including Accountancy, Law, IT, Financial Services, HR, Sales and Marketing.
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