How to recruit and retain the best young security employees

Today's youngest generation of workers, known as Generation Y, have different career goals than their parents did. What do you need to know to get them to work for you?

The final installment in a series of articles about generational differences and security. Part one looked at managing workers in different age groups. Part two examined the types of security concerns that are most commonly associated with different generations in the general workforce. This article provides recruiting and retention advice for security employees.

As a manager, you want to recruit and retain the best talent out there. As a security professional, you want employees you can trust. In today's recruiting environment, finding workers that fit that bill is a whole new game versus what it was just a decade ago.

Like all organizations, you want fresh talent that is both smart and loyal. Learning what makes the youngest generation of employees tick is what will give you an edge over competitors, according Lisa Orrell, a generation relations expert and founder of the Orrell Group, a US-based consultancy. This is especially key now as many Baby Boomers, which represent 40 percent of the workforce, will be retiring in the coming decade.

"Companies that don't click with younger workers will find themselves with high levels of turnover and will have a hard time maintaining growth," said Orrell.

Generation Y (those born after 1980, also known as Millennials) represent the biggest force entering the working ranks since the Baby Boomers. By many estimates, Generation Y accounts for about 80 million workers.

So what do they want? According to recent research, this generation is not all that different from previous generations in some ways. For starters, they want money. In a survey conducted by research from Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs, the number one career concern for Gen Y is their compensation and benefits, with salary and healthcare/retirement benefits as their top priority. Job stability and career satisfaction rounded out the top three with 26 percent and 23 percent respectively.

Cool tools and big rewards

Money and job stability have always been a factor and not always something you have control over as a hiring manager. But what can companies do to enhance that career satisfaction category? Provide them with all of the new tools and technology they need to do their job, said Bill Wipprecht, chief security officer with Wells Fargo, who manages a staff of 325 in his corporate security department.

"This new generation is smarter than ever," said Wipprecht. "Many are so tech savvy, by the time they get here they are up and running on all of our internal systems within days."

Millennials are at ease with technology and not only expect, but demand to be able to use it, on the job. Companies that don't have the tools will be seen as archaic to a twenty-something employee. Bonus points will go to companies that are developing a technology or platform and make employees part of the process. After all, it was Gen Y genius that lead to Web 2.0 technologies such as Facebook and YouTube. And those young entrepreneurs quickly became millionaires, rather than working for 30 years for their wealth.

"The rewards are so much greater now among the younger generations," said Wipprecht. "That has raised their expectations significantly."

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