By 2020, millennials, those born between 1980 and 1995, will make up between 40 and 50% of the working population, and with the influx of the younger generation comes a shift in the wants and needs of businesses, different than previous generations. While not every industry has been able to seamlessly adapt to these changes, it is important that key millennial impacts are taken into account when leasing office space.
Millennials Don’t Hate the Suburbs
As millennials have graduated from postsecondary institutions and entered the workforce, the media has steadily disseminated stories about the way millennials are leading the love for urban centres across Canada and the United States. And so, when one thinks of those organizations with a high millennial demographic (think Google, Facebook, and other such tech moguls) people immediately equate their locations with urban settings or technology hotspots.
But, that is quickly changing with these developments popping up in suburban locations across the country, with recent data showing that only about 30% of millennials live in urban areas, with a number of people moving away from cities into the suburbs.
What Millennials Want
The GTA suburbs are lending to millennial sensibilities and preferences, as space, affordability and an urban feel rank high on the list of wants. Millennials crave urban amenities, like access to public transportation, entertainment and accessibility to their workplaces.
With this proliferation in the GTA suburbs, companies are also eying these secondary markets to tap into the millennial workforce that have relocated there. Based on population alone, the millennial generation is a target demographic for new hires, and decreasing their commute time to the office by leasing suburban office space versus downtown core space means the ability to appeal to top new talent.
Key Developments in the GTA Suburbs Appealing to Millennials
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
As mentioned above, millennials look for city centres (and suburban centres) with easy access to transit. A study by the Urban Land Institute found that 91 per cent of public leaders see transportation infrastructure quality as a top influencer of real estate investment and development decisions.
The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) has been developed with public transit in mind, recognizing that it will not thrive without it. However, the City of Vaughan still needed a push to direct funds to a transit station at VMC, and so, Calloway and SmartCentres, the developers working in collaboration to bring VMC to fruition, donated 2.5 acres of land to the Toronto Transit Commission for the new station to connect York Region with Downtown Toronto.
Mississauga’s City Centre
Mississauga’s City Centre has the urban feel that millennials want in the suburban setting that is growing in popularity. A high-density, urban living setting, the City Centre offers residents an area for collaboration and prosperity in an accessible, pedestrian environment complete with an upcoming Rapid Transit Plan.
The municipality has recognized the importance of the City Centre to Mississauga’s growth, as grounds for business activities, urban living and investment opportunity. As such, city government officials are planning to increase the current development in the City Centre, with a growth plan that includes the revitalization of public areas and substantial changes to the current transportation model.
With the mass exodus of young people from city centres to suburban areas, there is a push for better, millennial-friendly office spaces. The younger generation will soon outnumber the older, and it is up to employers to stay ahead of the curve in their workplace offerings — including location considerations. By relocating to where your employees are, you are not only offering the opportunity for a much-desired work-life balance, but you will also see a dramatic effect on your bottom line.