MDB Insight Blog


Attracting and Retaining a Millennial Workforce

A local workforce comprising employees with a range of life experiences — older, more experienced members, middle-age professionals and entry-level younger people — is an asset. From old-school techniques that are still relevant today to new ways of thinking about and solving current work-related challenges, a generationally blended workforce is a strength, not only for employers but for the community as a whole.

Think about the challenges facing aging communities: when the younger generations are persistently drawn — and relocate — to other regions, the communities that are left behind lose a valuable human capital asset.

The United Nations projects that the dependency ratio — expressed as dependent persons/persons not of working age in relation to persons of working age — is predicted to rise in developed regions.

Among other effects, an increasing dependency ratio from an aging population is expected to be taxing on government services. With labour force replacements scarce, the community’s economic sectors are affected and, in a worst case scenario, may eventually collapse.

What can you do to support Millennial workforce development?

The answer lies in making your community attractive for Millennial residents to want to experience a new community or return home after a period away.

Here are some tips for attracting and retaining the post-secondary educated professionals in your community:

1. Find Out Where the Millennial Workforce Is Most Needed

Millennials may return home — and others in the same demographic will be more inclined to call your region home — if the community is able to offer them attractive jobs for which they are qualified, the possibility of affordable home ownership, and the promise of a stable and enriching family life.

Devising and implementing a strategy with a team of economic and workforce development consultants is an excellent first step in achieving this.

Such a strategy would include insight into what Millennials are seeking in a community, including that all important job. They want to know about current job vacancies, and what jobs are anticipated in the future. It may also indicate plans for community upliftment, such as future school and neighbourhood initiatives that may appeal to a younger workforce with growing families.

The availability of jobs that align with their interests, as well as the prospect of a fulfilling, stable life in the community, increases the likelihood that younger people would eventually return home to work and put down roots, or that other non-resident Millennials might become attracted to work and live in your community.

2. Create Partnerships with Training and Educational Organizations


One way to encourage a Millennial workforce to settle in your community is to partner with education and training institutions to strategically build an inventory of key skills that are expected to be in high demand in growing industries. 

The Heritage Carpentry program offered by Algonquin College in Perth, Ontario, is one such initiative. The prospect of a career-path and a job after graduation will be attractive to many young persons who may still be deliberating career and study choices after high school.


Attracting and retaining workers and residents through educational opportunities is likely to have a positive impact on your community.

Over time, these students-turned-workers will be more likely to stay if their education prepares them for the jobs that are available in the very community in which they already have a connection. The key is to help them establish that connection.

A high number of Millennials explore education and training options outside of their home communities as compared to the generations of the past. Investing in education and training partnership initiatives is one way to encourage some of them to stay and call their new community home.

3. Gain Access to a Regional Labour Demand Report

Knowing how to proceed with workforce development (and understanding what areas to prioritize when strategically partnering with education and training institutions) require reliable and relevant data such as what some Labour Demand Reports can provide.

A Labour Demand Report, such as the Jobs Demand Report™ provided by MDB Insight, in partnership with Vicinity Jobs, will give you detailed information on where the jobs are in your community, where more jobs are being created, and where they might be diminishing.

A real-time job report that shows exactly where the job opportunities are in your community is invaluable for economic developers to gain insight into their community’s hiring practices and to gauge regional trends over time.

You can then use that information to develop a workforce development strategy for attracting young workers and for retaining them for the long term.

To attract and retain a younger workforce requires that you build a community that will attract them back.

The promise of a stable, comfortable life, with a fulfilling career will do much to encourage these key members of your community to return home; it will also attract new talent seeking a new community to experience.

To find out more about how to get the tools your community needs to attract and retain young workers, download this ebook now:

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