San Diego employers must create a “purpose-driven organizational culture” to attract Millennial talent, and public leaders must create affordable housing to keep them here.
Those were the top recommendations Thursday from the San Diego Regional Changer of Commerce based on a new survey of nearly 400 Millennials living in San Diego County.
“We are creating an economy that works for Millennials with the exception of the options for affordable housing,” said Sean Karafin, vice president of policy and economic research.
Millennials, who are defined as aged 23 to 38, make up 39.7 percent of the county’s workforce—one of the highest percentages in the United States. Comparable figures for other tech-oriented metropolitan areas are 37.6 percent in Seattle, 36.5 percent in San Francisco and 34.6 percent in Raleigh, NC.
The chamber made four recommendations for employers who want to attract and keep talented Millennial workers:
- Create a purpose-driving organizational culture. “More than previous generations, Millennials are looking for meaning in their work,” noted Karafin.
- Support coaching and professional development. This is much more important to them than perks like free coffee and snacks.
- Encourage quality and frequent communication. Millennials don’t want to be left alone; they want to talk with their manager often.
- Recognize and understand the shift from work/life balance to work/life integration. They welcome the “no bounds nature of the new workplace,” said Karafin.
“Every business wants to recruit top talent. Millennials are that talent and they are seeking the workplaces that work best for them,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the chamber.
“It is up to us as business leaders to create the environment that best engages and maximizes this talent because their success is tied to the success of our region,” he added.
But Karafin warned that San Diego constantly risks losing recent graduates to lower-cost tech-oriented communities like Austin and Portland because of the high cost of housing.
He said 44 percent of the Millennials surveyed say they are considering leaving San Diego in the next two years, primarily because of a lack of affordable housing.
“Our recommendation to public policy leaders is to find a way to incentivize more housing,” said Karafin.
The full study — Millennials at Work: The Purpose-Driven Generation — is available online.
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