Does the energy industry have what millennials want?

Google, Uber, Amazon, AirBnB. What first comes to mind when you read that list? It could be anything from the services they offer to the way they revolutionized their own industries. But another notable similarity between these companies is that they are at the top of lists for places millennials want to work. Combing through the list of top employers millennials target, I noticed that very few – if any – companies from the energy industry appeared. In fact, according to LinkedIn data, oil and energy is one of the top declining industries for millennials. This alarming trend poses the question, what do millennials look for when choosing employment and can the energy industry evolve to provide what they are after?

  1. Sense of Purpose

Millennials have a much greater focus than other generations on being part of a greater purpose. For 84 percent of the millennial generation, making a difference is more important than professional recognition. This generation wants to believe in the company’s mission and be one of the reasons that the mission is achieved. While a paycheck still motivates millennials, a bigger driver is a distinct purpose that they can work toward.

  1. Community Based Company Culture

Company culture is becoming increasingly important, especially for younger generations. But a good company culture goes beyond free food and a discounted gym membership. One of the most important aspects of company culture for millennials is a sense of community in their workplace. They don’t want to be trapped in their cube all day or dread going to the office in the morning. Millennials want to feel comfortable and have a sense of belonging in their work environments.

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

At first, millennials were only looking at corporate social responsibility from a consumer standpoint, but trends show that this is something this generation expects from all companies. Nearly two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong sense of CSR. Millennials want to do more than just hear what their employers are doing to be responsible, they want to participate first hand in CSR initiatives.


With 32 percent of MISO’s workforce composed of millennials, the impact of this generation is evident. Working for a not-for-profit company that brings reliable, least-cost electricity to large parts of the U.S. gives millennials the purpose that they are looking for. A recent formation of AMP (Advancing Modern Professionals), a resource group aimed to enhance the development of MISO’s next generation, has created a workplace community for younger workers. MISO employees receive four paid hours each month that they can dedicate to community service and the community service resource group helps provide opportunities to use this time.

MISO is helping demonstrate that our industry has the opportunity to evolve to attract and retain millennials. It’s important we continue to engage all generations to ensure we have a working environment that enables our vision and mission.


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