With 80 million in the United States, most of them already in or about to enter the workforce, millennials are the rising generation. And since 40 percent of current IT professionals will retire over the next 10 to 12 years, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.
Of course, this means there will soon be millennials in positions of power at the majority of organizations. As this generation takes the reins of leadership, there will be a new breed of CIO — those who’ve grown up firmly in the digital era and have never known life without the Internet.
How will millennials handle their technology purchasing power? Here’s what they’re likely to do differently from their predecessors, and how the millennial CIO will change the way IT works in organizations.
Big brands won’t be automatic buys
In the earlier days of technology, brands were everything. Organizations stuck with the tried and true: Microsoft, Apple, IBM. No CIOs were willing to risk their jobs investing in a new, unproven startup with any possibility of failure — because if things went wrong, their buying choices would be blamed.
But millennials are less risk-averse than their predecessors, and more willing to try, or even embrace, new technologies and startups. In fact, a study tracking millennial behavior in the workplace from IT industry association CompTIA found that this generation prefers to work with startups run by millennials like themselves — and big brand names simply don’t matter as much, if at all.
Buying choices will hinge on customer experience
The advertising onslaught began in earnest with the millennial generation, who have been pelted with marketing campaigns from every direction — television, radio, Internet, mobile, and more. This advertising overload has made millennials wary and distrustful of larger brands with ulterior motives, and led to a demand for transparency and personalized experiences.
Millennial CIOs are likely to work with vendors who can provide these qualities. They’ll look for brands with platforms that rely less on making money, and more on changing the world through innovation and creativity. Bonus points for brands that are heavily involved in philanthropy — despite the “selfish” tag often applied by the media, over 85 percent of millennials base purchasing decisions on whether the brand stands for something socially and takes meaningful steps to ignite social change.
Employers should remember that this millennial state of mind extends to the jobs they hold, as well as the brands they invest in — in all things, they want to be treated right.
IT decisions may be crowdsourced
Social networking has had a tremendous impact on the lives of millennials, and many traditional advertising channels are all but invisible to them. Instead, this generation relies on referrals, reviews, and peer recommendations to make buying decision in both their personal and professional lives.
Millennial CIOs are likely to want more feedback from all sides before making a purchasing decision. In addition to their peers, they will probably involve their IT team in considering new products, and weigh several competing factors of a given solution or strategy before deciding to implement something new. Because they’re risk-takers, they are also likely to skip seeking permission, opting to ask for forgiveness instead if something goes wrong.
Want more information on millennial CIOs or this incoming wave of millennial workers? Contact The Armada Group today. We successfully place millennials and other top IT professionals in positions across the nation.