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For Millennials, ESOPs are Extra Intriguing

January 12, 2016

Research over the past forty years show employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) have proven successful at attracting, retaining and engaging employees. But with the Millennials soon to make up 50% of the global workforce, we need to ask a new question — how do Millennials feel about ESOPs?



We’re excited to share that new research coming out of the U.K. shows that Millennials, like past generations, see the value in employee ownership.


"Busting a millennial myth: how the young find purpose through employee-owned companies" was sponsored by the eaga Trust and Fieldfisher law firm. The research found certain factors about employee ownership resonate across generations. These include a sense of belonging, security and making a useful contribution.


However, the authors found that Millennials may value some characteristics inherent in the ESOP model more than previous generations. This includes the need for meaningful work and the importance of self development and feedback.


Several Millennials shared their experiences working in employee-owned companies as part of the report's launch. One young man spoke glowingly of his experience working with Arup, one of the three largest employee-owned companies in the U.K. Of Arup's 7,000 employees, half of the staff are under the age of 35.


The report not only outlines how Millennials view employee ownership but also opportunities for employee-owned companies to get the best from Millennials. This can include focusing on more than more than just the company's financial goals and creating mentorship opportunities.


As far as we know, this is the first piece of research into how Millennials view employee ownership, and it's an important area of exploration. That’s why we at the ESOP Association of Canada are excited to be taking part in a global research project exploring how Millennials perceive employee ownership.


David Hildebrandt, President of the International Association for Financial Participation (IAFP), will be sharing some of the early research findings at this year’s Canadian Employee Ownership Conference in June.


While we look forward to learning more about designing ESOPs for Millennials we’re heartened that employee ownership will continue to flourish under future generations.


Camille Jensen is chair of the ESOP Association Canada


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