Millennials Want Different Experiences, Not Different Jobs

Millennials Want Different Experiences, Not Different Jobs

Studies proclaiming that millennials change jobs frequently seem to be coming out more frequently than millennials actually change jobs. Here’s CNN Money‘s Heather Long on the latest one:

A new study by networking site LinkedIn found that young people really do change jobs a lot more than their parents did. The new normal is for Millennials to jump jobs four times in their first decade out of college. That’s nearly double the bouncing around the generation before them did. The so-called Gen Xers who graduated college from 1986 to 1990 averaged about two job changes in their first 10 years out of college, LinkedIn found. Today’s college grads don’t just change jobs, they often switch into entirely different industries.

The issue with all of these findings is that they offer an enormous amount of hand-wringing about the world coming to an end thanks to unsettled millennials, without any suggestion or insight about what to do about it. When you take a step back and ask the question, “Why do millennials change jobs more frequently?” (rather than just fretting about the fact that they do), you can actually get to a solution.

We have been analyzing the behavior of millennials for several years now and have been able to identify what solutions companies can pursue to actually engage the millennial workforce more effectively. In doing so, we have discovered that several articles of conventional wisdom about millennials are myths, including the notion that this generation is inherently disloyal or flighty (i.e., prone to job hopping).

When you dig into the data, what you find is that millennials don’t have an innate desire to job hop, but they do have an innate desire for a variety of experiences. During the early part of their career they want to taste several different things rather be forced into one career path. Progressive organizations have figured out that by building robust internal labor markets, they can offer millennials a range of different experiences within one company rather than waiting for them to seek out those experiences from other employers.