Published on December 17, 2015

Millennials' Rising Expectations

staff-resized-600.jpgMillennial workers, defined as those born after 1980, are graduating from college and ready to take on the world – literally. According to a Pew Research study, millennials are expected to comprise 37 percent of the workforce in the U.S., which will grow as Boomers retire. Because they have grown up with digital media, the world of the millennials is wider than that of their parents. Consequently, they have developed a global mindset that is reflected in their choice of career paths as well as the need for balance in work and personal life.

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Unlike their grandparents or even parents, most millennials see career travel as a given, seldom staying in one job for more than two or three years, especially if few opportunities exist for relocation and career growth. On the other hand, millennials also value personal growth, balance and meaningful work in addition to career advancement. To successfully manage workers of this generation requires an understanding of what millennials need and want.

Millennials Often Delay Marriage While Establishing Careers

Millennials are more likely than their parents or older siblings to delay marriage and family to establish themselves in a career first, one which preferably includes travel and all of its career-supporting, culturally enriching benefits. Lack of family and other external "baggage" often gives them the freedom to pick and choose plum assignments without worries about spousal employment, quality school availability or other concerns and restrictions often experienced by employees with families. Once millennials do marry and settle down, however, they insist on a work environment that allows a balance of work and family.

Until recently, relocation was usually considered an "earned right" reserved for higher-ranking executives. Millennials believe that organizations intent on keeping their loyalty should offer them the chance to experience other locations and cultures as part of their employment experience.

What Do Millennials Want at Work?

A characteristic of millennials is authenticity in their work as well as personal lives, reports a Bentley University study, with most refusing to compromise values. This includes a willingness to leave companies whose work demands restrict their ability to live an authentic life aligned with their values, including a healthier balance of work and leisure than that experienced by their parents. Pew Research Center studies confirm that many millennials preferred fulfilling careers, where they are valued and enjoy what they do, to high salaries. (Benefits, however, did rank highest in millennials' corporate "wish lists.")

Far from rejecting the corporate world, over 72 percent of millennials surveyed in the Bentley study would enjoy working with a large company; 48 percent of responders also reported that they want to be loyal and would prefer to work for no more than two companies over the course of their careers. The good news is that companies offering great benefits, including travel as well as flexibility, balance and purposeful work should find it easier to keep their millennial workers productive and happy.

Talent Management: Engagement Article