The telecommunications industry is facing an aging workforce — especially in rural parts of the country. While other industries are seeing an influx of younger workers, especially those concentrated around urban regions, hiring can be especially difficult for businesses in rural areas.
These days, hiring is different now that the industry is dominated by mobile and wireless technology, high-speed, fiber-based networks, the Internet of Things and even artificial intelligence.
The industry outlook for hiring is positive overall except for more rural areas where it is becoming harder to attract and maintain millennial employees. As more people age out of the workforce, how can companies attract younger employees to migrate to more rural areas? It starts by understanding what millennial employees want from their careers and the companies that hire them.
Compensation and Quality of Life
Quality of life is important to millennials. A good salary is a start, but tying it to a better quality of life is one way of encouraging prospective candidates to move to rural areas.
Some companies and cities are offering more incentives for young people to move and take up work in smaller cities. These incentives include moving and housing expenses as well as grants to help pay off student loans.
The manufacturing towns of Hamilton, Ohio and North Platte, Nebraska are two places using incentives tied to a better quality of life to encourage people to move there. Home grants go towards buying property, which is more affordable and helps people build wealth via home ownership. Paying down student loans leads to more disposable income that can be put towards investing for retirement.
Millennials want the opportunity for continuous learning throughout their careers. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, millennials have a strong desire for development which is the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations in the workplace. That development is one of the top factors in hiring and maintaining millennial employees. They want to be useful and feel that their company is as invested in them as they are in the company. Many millennials are motivated to move up the ladder and are prepared to study and work for it.
Companies who want to keep their millennial employees need to be proactive and provide continuous development without waiting for their employees to prove themselves. Establishing a policy for continued education and training also addresses the growing knowledge gap as older employees retire without transferring their learned knowledge to the next cohort.
Millennials want their jobs to have meaning beyond a good salary so creating a plan that has meaningful benefits and a clear career path can help retain high-performing employees.
These benefits can include opportunities for cross-training, job-sharing and even secondments between different departments and locations.
Creating a mentoring program gives everyone the opportunity to learn and share knowledge within a company. Encourage experienced employees to mentor newer workers. They can share their acquired years of knowledge while younger workers can share the latest skills and technology.
Understanding what millennials want is the key to hiring and retaining them as employees. It’s no longer just about offering a good salary. It’s about offering them the opportunity to learn, grow and develop within your company so they stay rather than move on to the next best thing.