IT Pros Should Brace for Millennial Support

Despite growing up with tech, the study found more than half of Millennials expect the need for IT support to increase, according to CompTIA.

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With Millennials becoming the largest generation in the U.S. workforce in 2015, IT professionals must gear up to accommodate this growing group’s needs in the New Year.

According to a survey of 1,010 individuals ages 13-24 by nonprofit IT trade association CompTIA, Millennial employees expect a heavier reliance on IT support in 2016.

Despite growing up with tech, the study found more than half (58 percent) of Millennials expect the need for IT support to increase, compared to only a third of Baby Boomers.

"It’s surprising to see such low interest for tech careers among young people, given their personal interest in technology," Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis for CompTIA, told eWEEK. "With every company and industry becoming more reliant on technology, there needs to be more education on the role technology can play in a career versus simply being a hobby."

Robinson said the biggest soft skill IT pros need to add when working with Millennials is collaboration.

"Millennials do not necessarily want to solve all problems on their own, but they definitely want to be involved in the solution, both to contribute and to learn," he explained.

According to CompTIA’s Managing the Multi-generational Workforce study, based on two separate online surveys – the first of 700 business professionals, and the second of 1,010 teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24, 75 percent of Millennials say a company’s technology usage is a factor in their employment decisions, compared to just over half of Baby Boomers.

When it comes to their comfort level and ability to use technology 70 percent of Millennials label themselves as cutting edge or upper tier, while for Gen X workers, the corresponding figure is 55 percent, and for Baby Boomers, 30 percent.

The study also revealed email remains the most prevalent form of workplace communication, but newer forms of communication such as Skype, text and instant messaging are claiming an increasingly bigger footprint, especially among workers under the age of 50.

Employees in their 20s and 30s are much more likely to use social media, such as Facebook, for work purposes – about three in 10 within each age group. By contrast, less than 20 percent of Baby Boomers use Facebook for work purposes and 25 percent do not use Facebook at all, for work or personal use.

When technology support issues arise in the workplace, younger workers are more inclined to turn to instant messaging, video chat and the use of mobile apps for resolution, and the report indicated they’re also open to the use of social media for IT support related to maintenance, repair and troubleshooting of devices and applications.