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Millennials are one of the most dynamic, skilled, demographic groups often targeted by corporate marketing divisions for various lifestyle and technology products. Human resource departments also have a tough time attracting millennials as a potential workforce.
Demographically speaking, millennials follow Generation X, and their birthdates range from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s through 2000s. It’s expected that millennials will represent nearly 40% of the total workforce by 2020.
Toluna Group commissioned a survey of 1,000 full-time workers for Udemy for Business, and results show that millennial employees feel bored at work mainly for the following reasons:
- Lack of opportunity to learn new skills (46%)
- Unchallenging work that does not use their education and credentials (44%)
- Not enough work to do (30%)
- Social media distractions (29%)
- Too much work (25%)
Millennials love challenges
The major challenge for millennials on their way to success, underestimated by the former generations, is to change the world around us. Towards this ambition, companies that espouse values of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and non-for-profit-based companies are more desirable to millennials. Millennials are the first generation born and raised in the era of high-speed internet and technological innovation. This generation was impacted by the expansion of social media in every aspect of modern life, and they are the first generation to grow up with personal computers in their homes.
Notably, this connectivity is not only used for uploading personal photos and booking exotic holidays. Representatives of this generation consider themselves accessible for work 24 hours a day/7 days a week via email and a variety of digital workplace managers that can be easily downloaded to any smartphone.
One of the biggest challenges for millennials is their eternal desire to change the world around them, and it seems that this generation is ready to do it. PWC’s report “Millennials at work reshaping the workplace” found that more than 50 percent of millennials agreed to take a pay cut to find a job that aligns with their values, and there is strong evidence of this. Many millennials tango with the dilemma of “detrimental financial gains or service for humanity.” More than 70 percent of millennials cite developing a career in a non-for-profit organization, and setting the pace for a more compassionate and sustainable world by turning businesses into tools of social change, as their personal career aspirations.
According to a 2018 Deloitte’s Millennial Survey, 86% of millennials believe that financial performance should not be the only measure of business success and a growing number of workers believe social impact should be a priority.
Token-based fundraising and salaries can make entrepreneurship and freelancing easier
Cryptocurrency and blockchain are not just about bitcoin anymore. The consensus industry is creating new categories of jobs and motivating entrepreneurs to build innovative products and companies by raising billions of dollars in funding through initial coin offerings (ICOs). As the first digital generation, millennials have different ways of thinking, and by default, cryptocurrency factors into this nicely.
ICO token distribution within decentralized economies is an intriguing economic phenomenon for millennials and especially freelancers from this generation.
Vlad Dobrynin, CEO of Blockchain enterprise Humans.net, says,
“In search of self-fulfillment and new opportunities to make money, millennials turn to online job platforms. However, these are quite far from guaranteeing a fast and, above all, a successful search for work, even if a person is highly qualified, and most platforms are now overcrowded with applicants. Centralized economic institutions are not there by mistake. They are there for the benefit of elites. Those marketplaces stand in the middle ground and use their databases to bring together buyers and sellers while taking the largest slice of the pie. Of course middlemen will still exist if you want to use their services but information will be liberated in a sense. It will be owned by people who will use the database to trade skills, services and experience directly with each other in all areas of commerce from a nanny to financial services and more. The aim is to create a resource bank for people and businesses without middlemen and even fees – transforming the way we live, work and relate to one another in the blockchain era.”
The rising importance of bounty campaigns
Bounties in the digital world take their origin from online gaming platforms that community members were offered as rewards for participating in their game development. Bounties are essentially incentivized reward mechanisms offered by organizations to draw supporters and almost every decentralized project has found a way to utilize bounties to reward its supporters for their time and effort. Among the most typical bounty campaigns are marketing tasks, bug reporting, code development and community outreach – usually as result of successful referrals. With the explosion of ICOs, bounties and their number of participants also skyrocketed. For some participants, bounty payments far exceeded the salary one might receive for doing a similar job.
But why are these programs so important?
The rising number of bounty campaigns and the value of rewards are creating new standards and ethics for fair remuneration in the decentralized era. There are numerous reasons why blockchain projects prefer to kickstart a bounty campaign rather than hire an agency or employees in the traditional sense. But let’s understand some typical scenarios for bounty program development.
- Outsourcing tasks: Bounty campaigns can be a great tool for projects to outsource a wide range of tasks at the cost of the project’s token. There is a growing number of websites aggregating all the available bounty campaigns or facilitating bounty project management.
- Building an active community will always remain a key reason to offer a bounty campaign and now it is easier than ever to build large and active communities within a few hours. Typical tasks to support community creation and engagement include, but are not limited to, retweeting social media posts, liking, sharing.
- Cheap workforce: Though bounty campaigns and blockchain campaigns can save a lot of money from the marketing budget, spending a single fiat-cent on bounty hunters with tokens is effective and cheap to setup.
- Limiting the risk: Bounty programs also minimize a company’s financial and regulatory risk, and having employees distributed across the globe reduces worry about local regulations and bureaucratic processes.
Is freelancing the future of work?
Technological progress allows for the development of a deeply qualified niche where people structure their jobs around their lives and not the opposite, which is typical. Many millennials are impacted by a “life-first attitude” rather than a “work-filled life”. Freelancing allows workers a) thorough flexibility to build work around life, b) to work from wherever they want, c) to control money as they wish.
In the future of work, employers will not be focused on hiring and retaining full-time or part-time workers, but rather on building a team of freelancers that they can rely on and call on as needed to run the business. Freelancers are continuously learning and improving new skills, staying afloat with new technologies, actively seeking opportunities, and striving for the best performance.
Employers are already structuring their staff with a mix of workers who are full-time employees, part-time employees and freelancers.
Problems of freelancing
Today, there are plenty of freelance and project marketplaces which capitalize on the freelancer boom that occurred over the last few years. Among the most popular are Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer. Nevertheless, problems within the freelancer community exist. For example, as Fiverr owes a part of its popularity to the initial value prop – “get any job done for a fiver,” the early tagline of Fiverr captures the cultural perception of freelancing as a low wage/low quality segment. This misperception leads to a more complicated client and freelancer dynamic, and it increases the difficulties for talented freelancers looking to find reliable and well-paying jobs.
Another recurring problem is scams. Without regulatory protection, it’s hard to individually assess and separate real clients from scammers. On existing platforms, commissions range from 5% to a whopping 20%. Market competition also forces lower rates. In combination with high fee-finding commissions, freelancer earnings can be incompatible with their effort.
Freelancers are not only those who risk. Clients can lose out too. There are incidents where scam freelancers have asked for upfront payments without delivering the work. Others purposefully delay the work while asking for additional payments. In the early years of freelancing, clients spent every dime of their budget and did not receive their deliverables. As the rating and reputation systems for users are not compatible across multiple platforms, serial scammers can go undetected across them.
Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology has the capacity to change the game. Already many ventures are being developed to create a more ethical workplace both for individual contractors and employers.
Millennials will always remain a unique employment segment, and successfully appealing to their interests, beliefs and desires will probably remain a challenge for advertising and employment firms. They are authentic, intercultural, tech-savvy, social media addicted, connected, love life and hate limitations. Already with the widespread success of ICOs we are moving fast toward decentralized economies. The potential of utilizing blockchain technology to facilitate working relationships in the 21st century is more than exciting. Many projects are already building real solutions and starting to gain a slice of the $1.4 trillion annual freelancing economy in the United States. Freelancing in the era of blockchain will re-inspire trust, reduce middlemen costs, endorse creativity and liberty, and generate a truly new potential for the working conditions of millennials.