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Half your workforce are tech hungry Millennials

When my nephew was given a toy laptop for his first birthday, it sparked a family debate about when early is too early.

And when it comes to introducing my ten-month-old son to technology, my instinct is to let him discover the non-technological world around him first. Maybe I’m hearkening back to a simpler time when children were children for longer, mobile phones weren’t so mobile and the height of technology was a Texas Instruments “Little Professor”.

But I suspect it’s a totally futile debate when technology today largely exists to make our lives simpler – instant access to as much information as we can handle, crystal clear communications with people half a world away and a crowd of apps that enable people to collaborate and share views 24/7. Plus the fact that, generally speaking, our children instinctively know how all these things work much better than their parents do.

Put like that, it seems counter-productive to hold a child back from beginning to discover how technology can make his or her life easier and more enjoyable.

Millennials (the generation born between 1980 and 1995) were the first to grow up in a truly digital world and are set to comprise 50% of the workforce, including senior positions, within the next five years.

As employees, they’ve brought with them a new set of expectations, and according to a “Millennials at Work” report from PwC, employers who disregard them could find themselves missing out on the best young talent.

The report found that technology is a real factor in which companies Millennials choose to work for, with 59% saying that state-of-the-art technology would affect their decision. 78% believe tech makes them more effective at work, while 25% would even consider changing positions if better workplace tech was available elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, over 40% prefer to communicate electronically rather than face-to-face or over the phone.

You can understand the attraction of a workplace with clutter-free workspaces and shiny tablets, interconnected via WiFi and VoIP telephony, as opposed to paper-covered desks and piles of ageing IT hardware that regularly need servicing.

That’s not to say it’s all about equipment; it’s also about using technology to make your workers and your organisation more productive, more efficient and more profitable. That’s what Millennials are really looking for – workplace technology that in some way replicates what they have at home; that makes their lives easier and ultimately more satisfying.

Our young people have a wealth of technological knowhow, bred into them from an increasingly young age; if their parents encourage it.

I can’t think of any business that wouldn’t want to take that knowledge, nurture it and use it to help achieve its business goals.