Posted March 4, 2020 by Mark Perna
Millennials are job-hoppers, constitutionally incapable of remaining loyal to any one employer—or are they? Mark’s article, “Surprise—Millennial And Gen-Z Workers Are More Loyal Than You Think,” published at Forbes.com on March 3, 2020.
Millennial workers are opportunists who, in flitting from job to job, aren’t the least bit loyal to their employers. Or so says conventional wisdom.
And while the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey reports that nearly half of Millennials (49%) would, if they had a choice, quit their current job in the next two years, a new study challenges that trend: According to Zapier’s Digital Natives Report, Millennial employees, on average, plan to stay at their current job for 10 years. And Gen-Z, at six years, isn’t far behind.
So how can these seemingly contradictory facts co-exist? Simple: It’s all in the numbers.
If 49% of Millennials are apt to leave their current job within two years, that means, conversely, a full 51% are planning to stay long term and perhaps even until retirement.When it comes to job loyalty, it’s all or nothing for our youngest generations. Click To Tweet
The aha? When it comes to job loyalty, it’s all or nothing for our youngest generations. If companies can inspire their commitment, they’ll go all-in—even, as the Digital Natives Report asserts, to the point of job burnout.
But to win—and sustain—that kind of loyalty, employers must score a workplace trifecta: salary, purpose, and employee development.
Like other generations, Millennials rate salary as the most important reason for accepting a job. Not to mention that nearly three out of four Millennials (74%) and Gen-Zers (73%) expect a pay raise every year in order to stay at their current company. What’s more, they are much bolder in their approach to salary negotiations than their older colleagues.
All to say, to attract and retain Millennial and Gen-Z talent, employers must prioritize a competitive salary with annual pay raises. And yet, as paramount as the paycheck is for this debt-ridden generation, it’s not the only consideration.
The notion of work-life balance is becoming obsolete, as it insinuates that our professional and personal lives are somehow separate and distinct. But in the new world of 24/7 connectivity, younger workers, especially as digital natives, believe that work and life happen simultaneously and thereby can’t be extricated from one another.
Additionally, the Digital Natives Report notes that 73% of Millennials and 65% of Gen-Zers see their work as an integral part of their personal identity—a key reason why purposeful work is particularly important to them. Besides, if work is life and life is work, then work needs to really matter.
Simply put, then, Millennials and Gen-Z expect a workplace that fully empowers them to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to make a difference in the world—and that requires a like-minded company culture. Otherwise, they’ll take their talent, energy and loyalty elsewhere.
Millennial college grads don’t feel prepared for today’s evolving workforce, and that makes being able to upskill while on the job a major perk. Moreover, most employers think that younger workers tend to lack some key workplace skills—critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, leadership, and intercultural fluency, among them.
Thus, it’s no wonder that Millennials, as well as Gen-Z, are seeking workplaces that can fill the gap between their education and their career. Accordingly, on-the-job learning is no longer just a nice perk; in fact, according to Deloitte, the opportunity to learn is now a top reason that job candidates will accept an employer’s offer.
And it’s not only technical skills that younger workers want to learn on the job. They also want to acquire professional skills that will not only last a lifetime, but also can’t—and won’t—be replicated by AI. That’s because, as robotic technology advances, they instinctively understand that “the answer isn’t to out-do the machines, it’s to be more human.”
The all-or-nothing loyalty of Millennials and Gen-Z is good news for today’s employers. That is, if they can, and will, pay them a competitive salary with annual raises, provide a purpose larger than themselves, and present ongoing opportunities to develop and upskill while on the job.
And then what? These youngest—and all-too-often-misunderstood—generations will do the rest.