Workers' Revolution? By 2020, Millennials Will Be 70 Percent of the Global Workforce

Former Chief Learning Officer at LinkedIn, Kelly Palmer identifies an unstoppable trend: millennials are a growing proportion of the workforce. Here's how millennials will change the future of work.

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It was not so long ago that a person would work at one job, one company, for decades at a time until retirement. But in today's economy, where industries and individual companies rise and fall more quickly than ever before, job markets are less stable. As a result, the millennial generation has become known for staying at one job for just a few years before moving on to better and brighter opportunities. Millennials are now beginning to saturate the workforce, graduating from college and starting their careers. Kelly Palmer, former Chief Learning Officer of LinkedIn, says that millennials will make up half the US workforce, and 70 percent of the global workforce, by 2020. Many will look for companies to employ them, and those companies will likewise recruit talented employees. Retaining the talent they hire, however, has become a challenge as millennials want more from their job than a steady paycheck. They want education, flexibility, and meaning. As Palmer explains, rather than feel abandoned by a millennial who goes looking for new work, a company should have an honest conversation with their young employees about what their expectations are for employment. She calls this talking about "tours of duty," wherein an employee knows precisely what to expect, and how the company will invest in him or her over two or three years. After that "tour" is up, they can decide whether to continue their engagement. So instead of planning for ten years down the line, they can work together planning just a few years, and then coming back together to plan for another few years if all goes well. And this can help make the future for both hands a little bit more safe and comfortable. It’s not that millennials want Facebook breaks at work or time to tweet. Instead, what a work place can do is respect their incoming employees, give them time to learn the ropes, and help prepare them for a future in the workforce. Millennials tend to have a jaded expectation of the future, raised with one of the biggest generational debts in American history, and with the knowledge only a recession can offer.

Let's Do Learning Differently with On-Demand Education

People learn in a variety of ways, explains educational pioneer Kelly Palmer. At LinkedIn, she's helped build a platform that offers on-demand learning to adults building their careers.

Technology & Innovation

People learn in a variety of ways, explains educational pioneer Kelly Palmer. At LinkedIn, she's helped build a platform that offers on-demand learning to adults building their careers. To her, three things distinguish the next stage of learning from the current one: curated content, personalized content, and incorporated social features. LinkedIn's acquisition of Lynda, the hard-skill online learning platform, strongly indicates the direction of continuing education services, worker training, and on-demand education that meets everyone's needs.