Skip to Main Content
Executive Education

What do millennials want?

  • Ivey Executive Education
  • |
  • Oct 24, 2017
What do millennials want?

Adults born between 1980 and 1997 – the so-called "millennial generation" – have taken over from the baby boomers as the largest generational cohort. Much has been written on the topic of millennials because, in the workplace, they exhibit characteristics unlike any generation before them. Most importantly, millennials have a reputation for being difficult to retain. According to LinkedIn, data from 2016 reveals that millennials were 50 per cent more likely to relocate and 16 per cent more likely to switch industries for a new job than non-millennials. With more baby boomers reaching the age of retirement, organizations are fiercely competing to attract and retain elite millennial talent to fill the gap.

Human capital transfer leader Anne Donovan of PwC says, “If businesses are not focused on millennials, they are at a competitive disadvantage. There is a clear business case to have these discussions and to change the culture in the workplace to attract and retain millennial talent. Organizations that understand how much millennials matter are going to win.”

What does it take to retain top millennial talent?

Learning and development opportunities

This 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey targeted both millennials who were likely to leave their employer within the next two years and those that were planning on staying beyond 2020. A whopping 71 per cent of respondents were unhappy with how their leadership skills were being developed – a full 17 points higher than those planning on staying with their organization. The same survey discloses that only 36 per cent of millennial leaders felt ready when entering a leadership role. Of those leaders, 30 per cent still did not feel ready after having spent a considerable period of time in the role, citing managing difficult people or situations, lack of experience, and dealing with conflicts as their top concerns. When asked to rate the skills and competencies on which employers place the most value (and are prepared to pay the highest salaries), millennials regarded “leadership” as being the most coveted. In addition, a Gallup poll indicates that professional development is the top factor in retaining millennials and the only aspect of retention that separates millennials' needs from those of non-millennials. 

In order to retain top millennial talent, it's vital to provide leadership development opportunities to new leaders. Ivey Executive Education offers a one week residential program designed for new leaders who seek an integrated understanding of strategic management and leadership. Program participants learn how strategy, leadership, and communication work together to create a competitive advantage for themselves and their organization. Through case studies, experiential learning, in-depth conversations, and guided practice of essential management communication skills, the Ivey Frontline Leadership Program prepares new leaders to make an immediate impact. Participants gain the confidence, knowledge, and insights to comfortably move on to the next stage of their career. For more information, download the Ivey Frontline Leadership Program brochure


Executive Education at Ivey Business School is the Financial Times #1 ranked provider of management development programs in Canada. The Open-Enrolment portfolio comprises 19 programs focused on core leadership, business acumen, and industry-specific skills. Open programs are typically three days to three weeks in length, and are held at both our Toronto and London campuses. Our Custom Academy business unit works with corporations, governments, and other NGOs and non-profits to design and execute development and training programs tailored to the client’s specific needs. Custom Academy programs are typically multi-cohort, multi-year endeavours, supporting executive, HR and L&D objectives, and run either at our Toronto and London campuses or globally based on client preference. All Ivey Executive Education programs are deeply experiential in nature, concentrating as much on behaviour change as knowledge transfer.


  • Executive Education