IMA Pulse


By Kip Krumwiede, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA
September 22, 2016

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Employees that fall within the Millennials age bracket (individuals born between 1980 and 2000) will make up more than 50% of the workforce within the next 10 years. As a whole, this group is said to differ from Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers in having a more innovative mind-set, aptitude for new technology, and adaptability to different jobs. They want flexibility and work-life integration, have high aspirations, want to make a difference in the world, and desire a work environment more like Google than a conventional hierarchal organization. Here we report ways to improve hiring and retaining millennial employees.







IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) conducted a survey of senior finance professionals in July 2016 to find out how companies are effectively recruiting and retaining this younger generation.


On average, Millennials make up about 30% of the respondents’ companies. Of the 85 survey respondents:

  • 22% say recruiting Millennials is definitely a challenge
  • 40% say recruiting Millennials is somewhat of a challenge
  • 27% say it is not a challenge
  • 11% don’t know.


The biggest challenge mentioned is tenure of employment. 49% said that Millennials stay at their company only 1-3 years! That’s a far cry lower than the baby boomers’ employer for life mentality. They said this turnover often causes several problems including:

  • Cost of employee turnover (e.g., training, recruiting costs) (62%)
  • Loss of knowledge transfer from experienced to less experienced workers (52%)
  • Difficulty recruiting competent job applicants (46%)
  • Finding motivated applicants (41%)


Contributing to the high turnover are four issues cited most often as challenges faced in employing Millennials:

  • 49% cited Millennials’ desire for flexible work environment
  • 42% cited differing views among management about Millennials
  • 36% cited lack of defined career path
  • 34% cited lack of competitive compensation


The most successful practices for retaining employees within the millennial generation are those that directly address these issues:

  • 48% said flexible work arrangements
  • 44% said competitive salaries and benefits
  • 32% said leadership development programs
  • 32% said opportunities for advancement
  • 31% said mentoring programs


The practices that have been most successful in recruiting Millennials are:

  • Employee referrals (51%)
  • External recruiting (e.g., job fairs, college recruiting, networking events) (32%)
  • Internships (31%)
  • Internet job boards (28%)
  • Company websites (24%)
  • Social networks (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) (21%)


Hiring and keeping people in the Millennial age group can be a challenge. Technology makes it easier to find and apply for other jobs and they will leave for “greener pastures” if they see more flexibility, compensation, or opportunities for advancement. Find them the way they find jobs: through friends, college recruiting events, internships, and social networking. Keep them by offering flexible work arrangements, competitive salaries, and an environment where good work is rewarded regardless of seniority or age with increased responsibility and pay raises. These don’t have to be huge increases; just often enough to help them feel their hard work is being recognized and rewarded.

Kip Krumwiede, Ph.D., CMA, CSCA, CPA, is the director of research at IMA. You can reach him at
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