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Retaining Millennial Talent and Meeting ACA Responsibilities

Published in September 2016

By Tiffany Aller

Two factors over the past half decade have influenced the future of the job market more than any others: the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the rise of millennials in the work force. The ACA is redefining how health care is offered in the workplace, while millennials are influencing the future culture and working ideologies of that workplace.

A combination of the two has converged to influence attracting and retaining millennial talent.

Millennials and Job Growth

It's no surprise that the largest sector of growth in the job market is among millennials. They're not only the largest workplace generation since the baby boomers; they have netted 429,000 new jobs alone between December 2015 and January 2016, according to Business Insider. As more baby boomers prepare to retire, creation will likely spiral ever higher in the millennial age bracket. Additionally, millennials are experiencing the highest rate of year-over-year wage growth, according to the ADP Workforce Vitality Report.

Millennials, the Job Market and Recession Recovery

The White House Council of Economic Advisors notes that millennials currently represent one-third of the job market, and that the age group's unemployment rates recovered relatively quickly versus other generations during the recession. The same report shows that more millennials are pursuing higher education and will reap broader results because of their degrees than past eras. A final key statistic from the Council is that millennials are more likely to be loyal to their first employer than Generation X employees.

According to Fortune, the industries attracting millennials and experiencing the largest job creation growth include some that may not be surprising — software development and engineering — and others that may be more surprising — accounting, management consulting and health care.

ACA and the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision

Despite the fact that full-time millennial employees are less likely to sign up for employer-sponsored health plans, their employers must still offer qualified coverage if they are to meet ACA guidelines. In the ADP Research Institute® report Measuring the Impact of the Affordable Care Act, it's noted that prior to the implementation of the ACA, polls showed that many businesses were actively considering lowering employee work hours under the threshold set for providing health care to combat rising costs. The report shows, however, that the lowering of full-time jobs, and the subsequent predicted rise of part-time employment, has not panned out. In fact, the distribution between full-time and part-time employment has barely budged since the implementation of the ACA.

Organizations have to consider total employment package offerings, and how those offerings can both attract and retain millennial talent. The conundrum, of course, is that health care coverage has been a key piece of employment packages in the past — and is still important among non-millennial workers. A possible solution is to peel away the health care component — at least for millennials — and bolster packages with the following:

  • Competitive salary, flexibility and opportunity for growth
  • An organizational culture that is transparent and hierarchy that is less top-heavy
  • Opportunities for mentorship and brand connection

Although prior generations were more engaged by tangible employment package inclusions, such as decent salary plus cost-saving benefits, millennials also want some intangibles, such as opportunities to get a foot in the door at a desirable organization, knowledge from leaders in the industry and a clear path to future growth. While those offerings may not be measurable in immediate dollar values, they add up to a strong foundation for the future of your workforce. Recruit millennial talent today, to ensure you retain millennial talent in the future.




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About the Report

The ADP Workforce Vitality Index is a comprehensive, quarterly measure of U.S. workforce dynamics that looks at key labor market indicators, such as employment growth, job turnover, wage growth and hours worked. This report yields deeper insights into workforce dynamics and trends than previously available.

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