Rigid Corporate Structures are a Turn-Off for Ireland's Ambitious Young Men & Women

22nd October 2015

CEO Forum
CEO Forum Millennials Panel: L to R: Louise Morrissey, Manager, Large Customer Sales (Israel), Google;  Grainne Ni Hodhrain, Tax Senior, Deloitte; Brendan Jennings, Partner, Deloitte; Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland; Liam Ryan, Enterprise Sales Executive, Boxever; Ciara O’Hara, HR Manager, Ding.

CEOs believe “Corporate Reputation” is Key to Attracting the Best of Ireland’s Young Workforce

"Job Security Doesn’t Exist for Ireland’s Millennials”

The CEO Forum, which is co-hosted by Enterprise Ireland and Deloitte took place today (22nd October, 2015) at Dublin Castle, at which 300 of Ireland’s leading CEOs from throughout the country listened to their peers and colleagues address a number of issues facing today’s business leaders.

In recognition of the important role that young people have to play in the future of the Irish economic narrative, this year’s CEO Forum focused on how Irish firms can attract and retain the very best Millennials (<35) into their workforce. The event opened up the discussion around what employers and successful millennials believe are the most important skill-sets for ambitious young professionals to have in their armoury, in addition to what convinces Ireland’s Millennials to join a particular company and to stay there over the medium to long-term.

The “Millennial” panel was made up of well-established and successful young employees - Louise Morrissey, Senior Executive EMEA, Google; Liam Ryan, Enterprise Sales Executive, Boxever; Ciara O’Hara, HR Manager, Ding; and Gráinne Ní Hódhráin, Tax Senior at Deloitte and Chair at Chartered Accountants Student Society Ireland. 

A Millennial’s View

According to one of the panellists, Liam Ryan Enterprise Sales Executive with Boxever, “The truth is that job security doesn’t exist for Millennials – our experience of the global economic crisis, and mergers & acquisitions of companies, means that we embrace that our career paths are ever-changing; and that our skill-sets will be applied differently every time we work on a new project. So it is important (for employers) to bear that in mind when they are looking at what may attract us to join a company.

Millennials are uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures; they seek transparency in terms of what goals we’re working towards – where is the company going in terms of direction? Having access to that information will promote the reason why I want to work with you in the first place”.

Louise Morrissey, Senior Executive EMEA at Google supported this message, “In the past employers chose the people they wanted to work for their company but now in many cases it appears that millennials have just as much say in the companies in which they want to work”.

Gráinne Ní Hódhráin Tax Senior at Deloitte had advice for prospective employers, “If you’re too embedded in the (recruitment) process you risk losing sight of the value of the people you have on your team. This is especially true in terms of bringing in the younger workforce that are more used to new technologies; they can come up with better ways of doing things, so somewhere that was process driven was definitely on the no-go list for me”.

Ciara O’Hara, HR Manager, Ding, “As millennials, we want to work in an organisation where we feel challenged, where we see the contribution we’re making and more importantly, where we see the results of that contribution. Millennials will gravitate more towards an organisation that can provide them with such challenges if their current organisation can’t”.

The CEO View

Prior to the event, CEO Forum attendees were asked to complete a survey which looked at, in order of importance, the financial and non-financial benefits that come into play when attracting and retaining the absolute best young achievers or “Millennial” employees. These included considerations from “Salary” to “Company Reputation” to “Pleasant Work Environment”  to “International Travel”.

Interestingly, CEOs reported that “corporate reputation”, “salary” and “career development” are the most important elements in attracting and retaining the absolute best young achievers employees.

However, according to those firms trying to recruit them, millennials appear to have less interest in other financial benefits such as “bonuses”, “pensions”, “share options”, “health insurance” or “company cars”.

Cormac Hughes, Partner, Human Capital, Deloitte, and speaker at the event, commented: “This insight into the mind-sets of Millennials is invaluable, however it does present challenges to Irish CEOs. The development of leadership capability is critically important in Irish organisations so that they can scale and grow their businesses. Millennials are the future of that capability. In order to address this, CEOs must be certain that the organisation’s purpose is clear, and that leaders within that organisation are communicating that purpose. Interestingly, a recent Deloitte global survey of Millennial employees found that for 6 in 10 Millennials, a “sense of purpose,” is the key reason they chose to work for their current employer.

Secondly, how organisations can create a culture that supports the organisation’s ability to deliver on objectives and goals, and ultimately fulfil its purpose, is also important. Moving to a change-focused, innovative and empowering culture represents a shift for many organisations. The challenge for CEOs is to ensure that culture shift is defined, visible and understood”.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland added “We know from working with Irish companies that those firms that take a formal approach to leadership development grow faster. These survey results support that experience.  We will continue to support leadership development within Irish owned companies, but we all need to be more pro-active in how we develop, attract and retain key skills if we are to win the war for talent and grow more Irish companies of scale”.

The survey of CEOs also revealed that they believe that Millennials are willing to put up with an incompatible work-life balance and aren’t overly influenced by other factors such “job security”, “company social events” and whether or not there’s a “games rooms”.

Findings of the survey were presented at today’s CEO Forum, the theme of which is “Leadership for Growth”. The event attracted over 300 of the country’s leading CEOs, listening to key note addresses from Tommy Breen, CEO, DCC plc, Ciaran Murray, CEO, ICON plc, & Domhnal Slattery, CEO, Avolon, as well as other speakers and panellists including Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.

Note to the Editor

About the Survey

Three quarters (77%) of survey participants were CEOs of SME businesses (with less than 250 employees) with the balance being made up of larger company CEOs.

Purpose of the CEO Forum

The primary focus of the CEO Forum is to create an opportunity for chief executives to discuss what they perceive to be the major issues facing their companies and Irish businesses. The forum provides a unique opportunity for CEOs to share information, air their views and hear, first-hand, the experiences of some of Ireland’s leading CEOs, who talk about their businesses and the challenges they face both nationally and internationally.

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the indigenous business sector. The mission of Enterprise Ireland is to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to achieve strong positions in global markets, resulting in increased national and regional prosperity.

Full details of Enterprise Ireland support and activities can be found on its website www.enterprise-ireland.com.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/ie/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Deloitte has almost 2,000 people in Ireland providing audit, tax, consulting, and corporate finance services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.