Attracting Millennials into the Housing Ecosystem


Desirée Patno is the CEO and President of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). With almost three decades specializing in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem, she leads her executive team’s expertise of championing women’s economic growth and independence.

Millennials have this enigmatic aura around them. Older generations scratch their heads trying to make sense of them as if they are extraterrestrials with green-and-white colored coffee cups in one hand and smartphones in the other, who bond by laughing together over memes on Instagram.

Millennials comprise individuals between 18 to 34 years old, and, according to a Pew Research Center poll, they are “the single largest generational segment in the United States.” Huffington Post states they are also the most ethnically diverse generation so far, most likely to have lived in more urban areas than their predecessors. While a majority are employed, a third of Millennials are still pursuing various education levels, which means that their spending power will only soar over time.

Just as those in the industry may feel clueless about this nascent, yet influential, generation, Millennials are just as oblivious about the opportunities available to them in this business sector. We look to provide some insight on how to bridge the gap separating Millennials from the housing ecosystem, an invaluable pairing in increasing diversity in the industry.

To figure out how to make the industry stand out to college students gearing to enter the labor force, we must first understand what they want from their jobs. The Harvard Business Review characterizes Millennials as “job-hoppers” and “the least engaged generation,” both of which contribute to their requirements for job satisfaction.

In order to hop onto better opportunities, Millennials are not afraid to leave the safety of their job or company. According to Harvard Business Review, 21 percent of Millennial workers left their current jobs for a new job opportunity in 2016, which was three times higher than other generations who did the same. Six in 10 Millennials are “open to different job opportunities, which is again the highest percentage among all generations in the workplace.”

Moreover, Millennials are not seeking new opportunities within their current company. A study by Gallup reports that an overwhelming 93 percent left their employer to change roles, while only 7 percent transitioned within their company.

The Least-Engaged Generation
Engagement is essential for employee retainment, especially for today’s young adults. Seventy-one percent of Millennials, Harvard Business Review reports, are “not engaged or actively disengaged at work, making them the least engaged generation in the US.” The actively disengaged are more willing to switch jobs than engaged workers: Forty-seven percent of actively-disengaged Millennials, compared to 17 percent of engaged
Millennials, say they would change jobs “if the job market improves in the next 12 months.”

What Millennials Want from their Jobs
Millennials’ desire to be engaged and take advantage of opportunities shines through in what they look for in a job. According to Forbes, these are the three main features Millennials want from their jobs:

1. A Flexible Schedule
Time is of the essence, and this generation wants to make the most of the 24 hours they are given each day. Millennials are trading 9 to 5 work hours for the ability to configure their own schedules that fit their lifestyles while still making sure they input the work.

According to Forbes, “today’s high performing companies” integrate flexibility into their work culture and allow their employees to manage their own schedules to facilitate work-life balance and work efficiency. In other words, this is a win-win for both employee and employer.

2. To Be Inspired
Millennials want more from their job than just a paycheck; they want to acquire skills and knowledge that will help them grow personally and professionally. More specifically, Millennials want to learn how to be influential leaders. Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey reported that 75 percent of respondents “believed that their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.”

Training allows Millennials to pursue different career paths. Most expect to have multiple careers in their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average young adult has held an average of 6.2 jobs by age 26. A company that provides opportunities for both vertical and horizontal growth with training programs will be successful in retaining engaged, and motivated, employees.

3. Part of the Solution
Finally, Millennials prioritize social causes and a sense of purpose. The importance placed on sense of purpose is two-fold, including both self-purpose and the company’s purpose. They want a job that makes them feel as if they are contributing to the general functioning of the company, and that their company is contributing to the needs of others.

Moreover, Millennials look for companies whose concern for social responsibility matches their own. In
Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey, reported by Forbes, six in 10 respondents stated that “‘sense of purpose’ is part of the reason they chose their current employer.”

What the Housing Ecosystem Can Offer Millennials
Can Millennials find careers in the housing ecosystem that allow them flexible scheduling, inspire them, help them grow professionally and personally, and give them a sense of purpose? Absolutely.

NAWRB’s Sr. Graphic Designer, Kendall Roderick, a Millennial herself, speaks about what the housing ecosystem can offer:

“In today’s world the housing ecosystem consists of a fast paced and actively changing front. In a world of Millennials where the attention spans are low and their want for something new and exciting is a top priority, the housing ecosystem can connect them with the elements that can keep them stimulated. Both parties benefit because of the mindset Millennials have paired with the housing ecosystem can propel it to a new extreme and possibly be the extra fuel needed to push the limits and break new barriers.”

The following is a list of selling points, not all inclusive, the housing ecosystem has at its disposal:

• The industry offers great opportunities for growth, both vertically and horizontally, and Millennials can try different careers within the same field.

• Millennials can acquire skills that will help them develop as individuals and leaders. For example, NAWRB’s Certified Delegate Spokeswoman program provides women with a platform to grow as distinguished speakers and promote women’s economic growth.

• The voice and presence of Millennials will be pivotal in achieving gender equality and increasing diversity and inclusion in the housing ecosystem.

Breaking the Barrier
How can the industry connect and communicate with Millennials? Social media will be an invaluable asset in this regard. It’s important for those who work in the industry to connect with Millennials at a personal level by using social media to share an inside look at their professional and personal lives.

Whether you are at a women’s conference, taking a coffee break near your latest listing, or traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with a government agency, share a photo on your social media outlets.This will help answer the following questions Millennials may have, perhaps subconsciously, about the industry: Who are these people working in the housing ecosystem? Can I relate to them? What is it like to have their career? Are they living lives that I want to lead?

By building a personal connection and open communication, the industry can break the barrier keeping them from Millennials’ radar and bring these young leaders at the forefront of gender equality and diversity.

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