As Anchorage gets older, survey aims to attract millennials
Anchorage is getting older. According to the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., the average age in the city jumped from 31 to 33 within the last decade.
A new report by the organization Monday aims to help employers attract more millennials.
AEDC's "Live. Work. Play." initiative surveyed 1,000 people in Anchorage born between 1980 and 2000 to find out what they're looking for in a place to live, work and recreate. As it turns out, for many, time can be more valuable than money.
That's the case for 30-year-old Jesse Alleva, who works at Anchorage ad agency Spawn Ideas.
Alleva says there's a lot to love about his workplace -- employees have flexible schedules, extra time off in the summer and other perks.
"One of the things that we're sort of famous for is we have beer on tap here, after 3 p.m., we can have a beer -- limit of two," Alleva said. "It is sort of like the water cooler."
There's even a snack button, which Alleva himself created.
"It will send out a message on Slack, our messaging system, to let people know that there are snacks in the kitchen," Alleva said. "We have analytics running on this, and I think we get, on average, people bring in snacks every three days."
But for Alleva, this is all just window dressing. He says it was the ability to pursue his passions and work on creative projects that drew him to work at Spawn two and a half years ago.
"I was looking for a company that would allow me simply to learn and simply to grow and do what I am really passionate about," Alleva said.
The study by the AEDC shows that's what most millennials want.
"Millenials ranked very highly the ability to feel like they're making a positive impact on society and a real interest in the field of work where their position," said Moira Gallagher, director of AEDC's Live. Work. Play. initiative and a millennial herself.
"If we want to be attracting as much business investment as possible, we have to start by attracting millennials. And it's not just about what companies do, but it's about what we do as a community," Gallagher said.
So, what do millennials want?
AEDC's study found that flexibility in their schedules is also important, along with a positive workplace culture, good management and professional development opportunities.
"The most important benefit that millennials reported in our survey that they could have was reimbursement for tuition or loans. That's something that employers should really take away from this," Gallagher said, adding that millennials want to invest in themselves.
"We work hard, and therefore we play hard," Alleva said of his company.
"Spawn is an employee-owned company -- we're an [employee stock ownership plan]. That means that we all have skin in the game," Alleva said. "Everybody here has a voice in the direction of this company."
It's a workplace model that's won Spawn Ideas national awards-- and has Alleva and his colleagues hooked.
According to AEDC, affordable housing is the biggest barrier to attracting millennials to Anchorage.
Gallagher says cities such as Portland, Washington D.C. and Austin are successful at bringing in young professionals by offering affordable housing options downtown-- in areas that offer the opportunity to meet and mingle with other young singles.
"I like to ask people if they know what it is, what's the number one thing that young, single people want? Often they'll guess the latest iPhone or the best tech-- or a job where they don't actually have to work or something like that. But, young, single people want what they've always wanted, which is other young, single people," Gallagher added.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: