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Millennials Growing Up – But Still Seek Deeper Meaning in Their Work

Millennials finding value at work

If you grew up during the Great Depression or World War II, sustained economic uncertainty may have embedded in you a mindset that jobs are scarce; if you get one you hold onto it even in the face of bad bosses, moral conflicts or low pay.

Quitting just because the company’s values didn’t line up well with your core values was considered quite the risk, and one people took only in extremes.

Not so with Millennials, graduates of the Great Recession that started about a decade ago. Instead of economic security, value conflicts are a driving force behind job movement for Millennials, even as they enter their 30s and start families. The recently released Deloitte 2016 Millennial Survey found that fully 66% of Millennials expect to be in a different job within five years, and not because they have been fired. They expect to find new work that carries greater societal meaning and resonates with their own internal motivators.

This is remarkable, in part because their own start in professional life was also during a significant economic recession, and employment of 20-somethings is lower in the aggregate than was experienced by either Baby Boomers or Generation X. So you might expect Millennials to have a more conservative mindset about leaving secure employment to chase a new opportunity. This is not what Deloitte found.

Here are some of the findings of the Deloitte survey:

  • Millennials who are parents show somewhat more loyalty than those without children; 32 percent of the former intend to remain with their current employers for five years or more, compared to 24 percent of the latter.
  • Even Millennials in senior positions express the intention to leave their organizations relatively soon: 57 percent believe “they will leave their current businesses before year-end 2020.”
  • Millennials (63 percent) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.”
  • Regardless of gender or geography, only 28 percent of Millennials feel that “their current organizations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently have to offer.”

The survey reports that “millennials fully appreciate that leadership skills are important to business and recognize that, in this respect, their development may be far from complete. But, based on the current results, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.”

To a Millennial, continuous improvement should not just focus on the organization, but on each individual. Millennials set great store in having organizational resources dedicated to personal professional improvement.

In our view, this is a win-win, because in our own work we see that employees who are given help to development their mindsets and skill sets respond with a much higher degree of commitment, innovation and creativity around their roles within the organization. With guidance to keep this wellspring of energy and passion focused, this leads naturally to continuous improvement for the whole organization.

Millennials understand that the organization has to make money, but that profit-taking activity must also leave a positive impact on its customers, and society as a whole.

Would you agree? Do the Deloitte results align with your own experience as a Millennial, and/or as a manager of them?

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