Kris Flanagan: All change for working culture among millennial generation

It used to be the case that young professionals in Scotland would follow very similar career paths.

Kris Flanagan

They would join a bank, for example, as part of its graduate scheme straight from university and work their way up to a management position within a few years

Nowadays, however, we are seeing a number of young professionals actively looking for an alternative to this traditional career trajectory. Professionals are increasingly choosing to follow an entrepreneurial path either by starting their own business or looking for small businesses or start-ups where they will be able to have a greater say in how the business is run.

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The millennial generation are now concerned with a company’s mission statement, connection with the community and corporate social responsibility before accepting a job offer. In essence, they are looking to work for a company which has values closely aligned with their own. This shift could have significant implications on how Scottish employers compete for the best candidates.

The start-ups and online businesses community within Edinburgh is disrupting the status quo and in doing so is creating non-traditional career paths for Scottish professionals. Due to the innovative spirit of SMEs, the products and services they provide are often the ones to shake up the market. It is this innovative, “out-of-the-box” thinking is what we are seeing young professionals being attracted to.

The ability to add strategic insight and problem solving or indeed to challenge the status quo is providing finance professionals exposure to broad roles. Working for a start-up or SME may provide exposure to various departments, functions and ways of operating, in a highly entrepreneurial environment. Employees often have a wide brief, which can serve as superb education for people with business aspirations of their own.

The working culture in Scotland is changing and employers need to look at what they are offering to attract and retain their employee. With 91 per cent of HR directors noting challenges in finding skilled candidates in the market, putting this down to the lack of niche, technical experts (39 per cent), and the lack of professionals with commercial, business skills, the shoe is sitting squarely on the skilled candidate’s foot.

While the core components of a competitive job offer includes an attractive remuneration and benefits package combined with flexible work options, employers also need to consider their employer brand. How they present themselves not just to customers and clients but also to candidates can be the difference between a candidate accepting a job offer, or deciding to work for a competitor. Do they have a strong presence in the community and if not, why not? What is the corporate culture – do they promote flexible working or are employees encouraged to work long hours? These are all questions that Scottish professionals are asking before accepting a job offer.

It is as important for businesses, whether start-ups or large corporates, to communicate their values, working environment and organisational culture as it is the remuneration package on offer.

• Kris Flanagan, associate director – Scotland, Robert Half UK