We’ve all heard the stereotypes about Millennials. “Lazy.” “Entitled.” “Job Hoppers.” “Needy.” “Hard to Manage.” Just Google “millennials in the workforce” and you’ll find an endless list of not-so-glowing generalizations. But before we make sweeping statements about an entire generation that grew up in the digital age, I’d like to offer another view.
Wisetail, our independent software company, just marked our 17th straight quarter of growth. In three years, we’ve grown revenues nearly 2,000 percent without a dime of outside financing.
There is no way we would see that kind of independent growth without the heart and soul of this company: Millennials. The average age of our team at Wisetail is 28. Eighty percent qualify as Millennials. Far from lazy and entitled, our team is made up of creative and bold thinkers who are dedicated to each other and passionate about problem-solving. In short, they care. Because of them, our company is growing quickly and sustainably as we sprint towards the goal of creating 100 high-paying, made-in-Montana jobs over the next three years.
Every day, we are on the front lines of battling a problematic perception of Montana: that there are no good jobs for young people.
The truth is, there are great jobs here that offer a lifestyle Millennials can appreciate. I believe Montana has a significant competitive advantage in attracting Millennials. According to The Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2016, Millennials want to use their skills for good–to make the world a more compassionate, innovative and sustainable place.
They believe so strongly in finding work with purpose that half of those surveyed would take a pay cut in order to do work they find meaningful. Someone once said Montana is like one big small town will really long streets. Because it is a such a small state in terms of population, Millennials can make a huge impact on their communities here.
Additionally, Montana can retain and attract Millennials who increasingly want to invest in experiences over material possessions. We are armed with abundant, awe-inspiring and inexpensive access to adventure year-round.
The point is: Millennials love Montana. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what a couple of Wisetail Millennials have to say:
♦ Eric, 26, who moved to Montana from Minnesota: “I have friends who are sitting in cubicles in their hip offices in the Bay Area posting pictures of mountains that they want to visit someday to their Pinterest boards or Instagram feeds. In the meantime, I’m spending my evenings hiking in those very same mountains and living the adventures they can only dream about.”
♦ Courtney, 26, who moved to Montana from Arizona: “Montana offers easy access to many beautiful outlets to disconnect from the busy syndrome many of us millennials fall victim to.”
Millennials need to know Montana businesses appreciate their skills, want to hire them and that we are serious about building company cultures that engage them. If we in Montana can build it, they will come and they will stay.
And by “they,” I mean the Millennials who will account for 75 percent of the workforce in 2025. It’s a task worth attempting because they are the future business leaders, innovators, job creators who will take our state to the next level.
Missoula-native Justin Bigart is the chief executive officer and founder of Bozeman-based Wisetail, an independent, self-funded learning management software company. Bigart is also a leader in the #IndieTech movement and founder of Wisetail Works, a community engagement program offering grants and support Montana’s social, economic and environmental causes.