Millennials love Philly. Now, how to keep them here? - Generocity Philly

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Jan. 9, 2018 11:51 am

Millennials love Philly. Now, how to keep them here?

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia is exploring what motivates young professionals to stay at their jobs.

Philadelphians in Rittenhouse Square.

(Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Philadelphia has been recognized since 2014 as the most attractive U.S. city to millennials, and young people who attend college here are staying post-graduation at unprecedented rates.

But the city’s continuing challenge will be encouraging them to stick around to help grow the local economy. One method of doing so, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia reckons? Help them love their jobs.

For the past 18 months, the Chamber has been collecting data to understand mid-career professionals’ motivations for staying in their workplaces and in the city at large, focusing specifically on those ages 25 to 39, as they’re making decisions about where to root themselves personally and professionally.

It’s an initiative of the Chamber’s Education and Talent Action Team, a committee made up of leaders from a few dozen local businesses, universities and nonprofits that supports local talent retention efforts.

The forthcoming result of the research is a report, or “narrative,” from the perspective of young professionals to their employers that will name 10 employment attributes that this group needs to be retained at their workplaces, as well as recommendations for best practices.

Initial findings indicate that millennials care most about three things, said Patricia Day, project manager for the Chamber’s Council for Growth, who led the research:

  • Connections
  • Civic engagement
  • Opportunities to grow and learn

Research methods included focus groups and a survey codeveloped by the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council that garnered 1,200 responses. The full report will be released at the Chamber’s “Next Generation of Talent” event on Feb. 21.

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This Education and Talent Action Team initiative is also focused on cross-sector mentorship within the Chamber itself, connecting member of its Young Professionals Council to members of its board of directors and senior members of their organizations. Day said the Chamber is exploring ways to expand the program beyond its own ranks.

“We want to make sure our young professionals are feeling the love, for lack of a better term, to see what the opportunities are here,” she said, “and we know our senior leaders are where they are because people took the time [to mentor them]. They want to give back.”

Millennial retention has been on Philly civic leaders’ minds for a few years now: This effort reminds of both the city’s Millennial Advisory Committee, tasked with advising the Kenney administration on policies relating to jobs, neighborhood change and social justice, and LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s Connectors and Keepers program, aimed at connecting peer-recommended young professionals to mentors and each other.

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