As previously published on
One of our advisors, Joanna Barsh is a long-time advocate of millennial women and has recently been studying millennials more broadly. She has just published high-level findings regarding what millennial professionals want at work. Her piece with co-authors Lauren Brown and Kayvan Kian, Barsh reminds us that every generation’s “young people” appear to be starkly different than the older generation — but that the difference between millennials (those born between 1980-2000) and the rest of the workforce may not be as great as one might initially think.


Based on 200 in-depth interviews with “high potential” millennials around the world, Barsh finds that millennial employees (who also comprise the lionshare of Fairygodboss’ community) are interested in 4 things:

1) Data and measurement. Employers who understand their own data about employee engagement, job satisfaction and retention will be able to thrive when it comes to attracting and keeping talent.

2) More communication. Barsh and her colleagues find that millennials value real-time, two-way communication because it facilitates transparency into issues and problems — and solutions to issues.

3) Mentorship. Mentorship is hard to force but if more senior employees get systematically involved in a new, younger employee’s career, it is more likely that employee will stay.

4) Professional growth opportunities. According to Barsh, millennials may be impatient for career growth, but there are other ways to satisfy them beyond literal promotions which can often be limited by a company’s own growth trajectory or existing employee base. Offering =employees rotations in different departments, lateral experiences, and meaningful extracurricular projects are all ways that employers can keep millennials engaged at work.

In short, when it comes the newest generation in the workforce, employers can look on the bright side: what millennials want may be to the benefit of all employees.


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