MillennialsMillennials, those born between 1980 and 1999 are estimated to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. They are the second largest generation since the baby boom (born 1946-64), and like the baby boomers, they are changing the way we think of work.80 million Millennials are entering the world of work with many large corporations reporting 1 in 3 of all of their recent hires being Millennials. The recession, globalisation, slower population growth, an aging workforce, and the greater mobility of the global workforce are all changing the realities of the workplace.

Cyclical factors are also affecting Millennial’s labour force participation. When the job market is weak this young workforce, being the last hired, is the first fired. Additionally, an increasing number of more experienced baby boomers continue to delay retirement. Meanwhile, the trend of companies to outsource traditional entry-level jobs are also changing what is being offered to the less experienced Millennials.

Once Millennials understand and experience first-hand this increasingly restrictive job market, the options become clear. They can compromise and take jobs that may not be a good match, extend their studies or become entrepreneurs. A recent Bentley University (USA) commissioned study suggests how Millennials are planning to cope, revealing that 67% of Millennials aspire to own their own business. Only 13% see climbing the corporate ladder as part of their career goals.

Millennials are both digital natives and digital nomads, have the highest levels of education and the highest rates of higher education. Millennials have pioneered the sharing economy and made the keys to setting up new businesses available online. In short, they are facing an economic reality that is completely different from the one of their parents, or even their older cousins – Generation X, born 1965-79.

The key to success, whether it is corporate life or developing the next cool start-up, is to understand one’s competencies, strengths and motivations (CSM). This level of introspection will not only improve the development of a business strategy but will make it more appealing to clients and future employers. CSM methodology is especially important for entrepreneurs and freelancers in the new economic climate.

One of the greatest pitfalls in building a successful career or delivering as an entrepreneur is not knowing exactly what it is that you have to offer that is valuable to the market. This set of skills and experiences (competencies, strengths and motivations) is called Career Capital. Growing that Capital, for what may be the largest entrepreneurial generation, is vital regardless of long-term career goals. Millennials should embrace the “shortcut” culture and learn from the mistakes of others. Taking on a mentor or career coach is therefore an ideal investment and a great way to avoid working hard without gaining momentum. Effective career coaches act as both a guide and a mirror, to help clients evaluate themselves accurately and then apply that knowledge to build a better working life plan.

For example, coaching and mentoring programs have had success in both shared learning and employee retention. Typically, in a Sun Microsystems (Oracle) mentoring program, participants had a retention rate 23% higher than non-participants, saving the company millions each year. With entrepreneurs it is established that mentoring provides a wide range of tangible benefits that range from providing moral support to objective exploration of various strategic considers.

For a generation that has changed so much of what we think of work, play and life, CSM methodology is a powerful tool for building tomorrow’s success.