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Millennials, born between approximately 1981 and 1996, began entering the full-time workforce around the year 2000, and now make up a significant portion of full-time employees in Canada. By 2025, it is expected that 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of Millennials. Employers are finding that this generation is motivated differently than their older peers in Generation X and the Boomer generation. They are also finding that Millennials tend to change employers and roles more often than their peers. As a result, retention is becoming an increasing concern. As Millennials become a larger percentage of overall employees in most workplaces, employers have begun to search for the best ways to attract, motivate and retain Millennial workers long-term.

At Sultan Lawyers, we regularly advise employees and employers on employment agreements, incentive packages and more. We can work with employers on the design of packages aimed at the needs of the Millennial generation, focusing specifically on what motivates them and inspires long-term commitment to an employer.


Flexibility at Work

Nine to five has been the corporate tradition for decades now, but companies are beginning to see the benefits of allowing for greater flexibility for their employees. Those in the Millennial generation in particular respond very well to the ability to set their own schedule to a degree. Providing options for later or earlier start and finish times allows employees to customize their schedule to accommodate their personal needs. Additionally, many Millennials have interests or even other sources of income outside of their primary career. In today’s ‘gig economy’, it’s not unusual for people to have entrepreneurial interests outside of their job, and providing flexibility allows these employees to structure their time so that it best works for them.

Location is also a key factor. Increasingly, the cost of living close to major city centres has gone way up, driving people further away in order to find affordable housing. As a result, traffic has increased significantly, extending commute times and the workday as a result. With the technology available today, it has never been easier for people to work remotely. While this is not possible for every position or function, many employees relish the opportunity to work from home some or even all of the time. This saves them a long commute, it provides a financial incentive with respect to travel costs and wardrobe, and it has a positive impact on the environment. This type of flexibility can be the difference between choosing to stay with a current employer or looking elsewhere for Millennial employees. This type of flexibility may even offset an offer of a higher starting salary at a competing employer.

Benefits Packages

Health and wellness are an ever-growing concern for most people, and perhaps for Millennials more than any previous generation. Employers who can provide attractive and holistic options with respect to health, both physical and mental, are extremely attractive to today’s young workers. Options such as gym memberships as part of a workplace benefits package are extremely attractive to younger employees. It encourages a proactive approach to health, benefitting both employee and employer, while allowing the employee to save financially on a cost they otherwise would have been likely to incur themselves.

Mental health issues currently account for approximately half of all disability claims in Canada, and cause hundreds of thousands of employees to miss work each year. Further, the stigma of discussing mental health concerns has decreased significantly thanks to public awareness campaigns. Unfortunately, mental health care is not affordable to many employees, particularly those just starting out in their careers. Employers who provide access to quality mental healthcare stand out with this generation. Any employer who can provide such services, either on-site or via a comprehensive health benefits package, will likely be rewarded not just with greater employee retention, but also higher productivity rates and reduced absenteeism.

Compensation and Career Progression

While compensation is still a key factor for Millennial employees, career progression may be even more important. Today’s young professionals have less patience to bide their time waiting for advancement in their workplace, wanting to see results more quickly and frequently than their older peers. Employers are advised to offer competitive compensation from the start, while also highlighting opportunities for more rapid progression. Options such as paid continuing education and training, company-facilitated mentorships, as well as performance-based bonuses allow employees to chart a clear career path within the company and encourage increased upward mobility.


Overall, Millennials want to know that they are valued, they want to work for companies where they feel engaged, and they want greater flexibility. At Sultan Lawyers, our employment lawyers work with employers to review existing packages and employment contracts and identify opportunities to better target today’s employee. We will help to develop incentive plans and other strategies focused on motivating and retaining the generation that makes up the largest share of today’s workforce. Let us review your compensation and incentive plans and provide advice on how best to focus them with an eye to attracting the Millennial employee. Contact us online or at 416-214-5111 for a consultation.

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