7 Benefits of Hiring Members of the Millennial Generation - Intern Program Tips

Updated: 1/29/2019

They’re a group known by many monikers: Generation Y, Generation Next, Millennials, Echo Boomers, and even The Baby-on-Board Generation. No matter what they’re called, the successors to Generation X have entered the workforce and comprise today's pool of intern candidates.

As with every past generation, Gen Y—or those born roughly between the early 80s and the mid 90s—are often seen as doing things differently by their more established counterparts. At some organizations, "different" is approached with apprehension.

But smart employers are embracing the potential of Generation Y to make significant contributions to the success of their organizations-- both in the short term, as interns, and down the road, as permanent employees.

Like previous generations, Gen Y can't be lumped into one homogenous group. However, there are certain defining characteristics of today's class of interns. Understanding and knowing how to harness these qualities can be infinitely beneficial to your business.

In this article, we’ll also discuss the generation that’s up next-- Gen Z-- and what you can do to recruit top talent from these up-and-coming generations.

7 Benefits of Hiring Millennials for Your Internship Program

1. Tech-savvy. The first generation to be brought up with computers, members of Gen Y are “digital natives.” In fact, not only can they uncover, operate, and recommend the most advanced technologies; they can teach you how to use tools like content management systems and social media.

Social media, in particular, is an essential tool for any business:

  • 33 percent of consumers have identified social media as the method they use to discover new brands and product services.1
  • 71 percent of consumers who receive a quick response on social media would recommend the business to others.2
  • 76 percent of U.S. consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen in a social media post.3

Bringing a millennial intern on board can ensure that your business maximizes the use of available technology to increase efficiency, productivity, marketability, and more.

2. Cost-effective. Compared to other populations, Generation Y appears less motivated by money. A study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School4 found that millennials prioritize meaningful work over higher pay.

65 percent of surveyed millennials cited opportunities for personal development as the most important aspect of any job. 52 said opportunities to advance were appealing, and 22 percent said training and development was the most valued benefit offered by employers.

Attracting millennial talent isn’t all about paying a high salary. Offer meaningful work, opportunities for advancement and personal development, and plenty of training and mentoring along the way.

Before posting your internship, generate a list of the meaningful opportunities and experiences you’re willing and able to provide. Then, post your internship on Chegg Internships, being sure to highlight these points. You’ll find millennial candidates who are eager to learn and grow at your organization.

3. Intrinsically motivated. As the results of the Kenan-Flagler Business School study demonstrate, millennials want to grow, develop, and advance within the workplace. They are intrinsically motivated to succeed, a quality all employers seek in their employees.

This also makes millennials more likely to seek professional development and opportunities to better their skills, bringing continuously increasing knowledge and value to your business.

4. Team players. If some called Generation X "The Me Generation," we might term Generation Y "The We Generation" for their heightened sense of community and peer-to-peer relationships.

In fact, recommendations for building a millennial-friendly workplace include promoting a spirit of collaboration. A study by TriNet and Wakefield Research found that 32 percent of millennials prefer open, frequent dialogue in the workplace5. The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 indicates that 52 percent of millennials consider a positive, collaborative culture to be a top priority when considering an employer6

Meanwhile, for those concerned that this cooperative spirit only extends to other millennials, think again. Millennials value personal growth and want to work with mentors who can help them learn and advance. By welcoming Gen Y with open arms and practicing a few creative management techniques, Generation Y can work alongside boomers just as well.

5. Highly educated. Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation yet. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, 20 percent of millennials were college graduates, with an additional 40 percent still in school. About half of millennials still in school planned to earn a graduate or professional school degree, and many millennials who had graduated planned to return.

Pew Research Center statistics indicate that the number of 18-to-24-year-olds attending U.S. colleges is at an all-time high. Millennials are the most ambitious generation when it comes to education and likely to become the most educated generation. By the time millennials are finished with their college education, most will hold a degree7.

6. Optimistic. Positivity in the workplace is invaluable to company culture and team morale, just as negativity can be extremely detrimental.

Fortunately, 4 out of 5 millennials are optimistic for the future, with 80 percent predicting that they will be as well off or better off than their parents8. Hiring millennials for your internship program (and perhaps for a permanent position in the future) can infuse your workplace with a spirit of optimism.

7. Current. Like employing any youth generation, hiring millennials helps keep your company up to date with social, entertainment, and other market trends. Millennials offer a fresh perspective and can generate marketing strategies that appeal to younger generations of consumers.

Build a relationship and offer Gen Y'ers an opportunity to grow with your organization, and they'll reward you with continued relevance.

Hiring Gen Z Interns: Benefits and Potential Drawbacks

Millennials aren’t the only generation entering the workforce. The oldest members of Gen Z--born in the late 90s--are ringing in their twenties and heading to work.

Hiring Gen Z interns can bring you many of the same benefits as hiring millennial interns. For instance, Gen Z is also:

  • Tech savvy
  • Current
  • Motivated by training and advancement
  • Collaborative

In addition, studies show that members of Gen Z are generally:

  • Loyal. A 2016 study by CareerBuilder and Harris Poll noted that just 16 percent of high school seniors plan to make frequent moves throughout their career9. 87 percent, however, say they think a person should be promoted every 2-3 years. Gen Z hires can make loyal, long-term employees who want to grow within your organization.
  • Great multi-taskers. This generation is described as “always on,” and they’re able to use up to five screens at once. While this isn’t always an admirable skill, it can translate to the ability to manage multiple tasks and deadlines in the workplace.
  • Flexible. Unlike many other generations, members of Gen Z embrace change. Having grown up in a world of rapidly advancing technology, they are all about staying current and changing with the times. They’ll enthusiastically adopt (or even lead) new initiatives at work.

Studies show that there are potential drawbacks to hiring Gen Z employees as well. In general, members of Gen Z are:

  • More cynical than previous generations
  • Sometimes overly reliant on technology
  • More motivated by salary than millennials
  • Less educated--many members of Gen Z are foregoing college

Of course, you can use applications, resumes, and interviews to screen for any undesirable qualities. Overall, Gen Z is motivated, flexible, loyal, and able to juggle several tasks at once, making them solid hires.

Attracting Millenials and Gen Z Interns

Millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 202510. And with many Gen Zers passing on college, Gen Z may enter the workforce sooner than expected. It’s time to embrace these groups and find ways to recruit, retain, and maximize the strengths of younger generations.

To attract some of the nation’s best rising talents, post your internship on Internships.com, where you can connect with millions of college students actively seeking internship roles. In posting your internship, consider emphasizing:

  • Why your company’s work is meaningful
  • Opportunities for training, mentorship, and personal growth
  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration

These aspects of your company are most likely to attract the best talent that millennials and Gen Z have to offer.

Employer takeaway: Don't be fooled by bad press. True, Generations Y and Z may be a little different. But with the right attitude and appropriate management, welcoming younger generations into your internship program can determine whether your company soars or stagnates.

Post your internship on Chegg Internships to find fresh perspectives and tech-savvy talents today.

1Social Media Weaves Its Way Through Customer Life Process - eMarketer

2State of Social Customer Service 2012

3Curalate Consumer Survey - Curalate

4Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace - UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

5Survey: Performance Reviews Drive One in Four Millennials to Search for a New Job or Call in Sick - Trinet

6The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 - Deloitte

7Millennials: Confident, Connected, Open to Change - Pew Research Center

8Better Money Habits Millennial Report - Bank of America

9Generations at Work - CareerBuilder

10Global Generations - EY