Would a millennial make a terrible CFO?

Millennials, or those under the age of 35, have a bad rap in the recruitment industry at the moment. According to a survey from Duke University and CFO Magazine, most American CFOs see millennials as having poor work ethic. The latest additions to the corporate workforce simply aren’t cut out for it – at least in terms of traditional organisational thinking.

Millennials have something of an image problem. They've earned a reputation for narcissism and being poor team players, caring little for the advancement of the company and prioritising personal development instead. In the study, which included the opinions of 1,000 executives, CFOs said that millennials were not as loyal to their companies as their older colleagues (even those already in management positions) and that it did not take much for them to leave, often citing feeling "underutilised" and "undeveloped as leaders" among their top concerns. They were also said to require more intense management and have a culture of entitlement.

That said, it wasn't all bad news for the new generation. There were more than a few positives: as would be expected, millennials got the nod for their technological savvy and were regarded as more creative and innovative than their peers. They were also willing to work for a lower salary and fewer perks.

What can companies do to make millennials feel more at home? Deloitte suggests that firms can grow millennial loyalty by mentoring young workers and offering developmental opportunities for workers to broaden their skill sets. Additionally, it found that "giving employees ownership over their assignments correlated with millennials reporting high levels of job satisfaction". Flexible working hours, a high degree of autonomy and aligned goals were other factors that would increase the likelihood of millennials staying on.

So, to the headline question then. In the old interpretation of the CFO role, it does indeed seem like millennials make for a bad fit, but as organisations and the role itself evolve, a Gen Y-er just might be the best candidate to take the organisation into a chaotic and uncertain future.