Received wisdom portrays millennials as the “job-hopping generation”, more than willing to up sticks and move on to the next opportunity for better pay, a more meaningful occupation or better work-life balance. Their supposed flightiness draws the ire of some for a lack of loyalty, with no attachment to organisations or institutions.
Whether this is in fact true is open to debate, as some studies have suggested that those born between 1980 and 1996 – the commonly accepted age range for this generation – are actually no more prone to changing jobs than their predecessors were when they were younger. Indeed, some argue that having graduated into one of various recessions (the dot.com bust, the banking crisis or the current Covid pandemic), millennials actually crave job security above almost all else.
Wherever the truth on that particular point lies, younger workers could well be on to something in their refusal to stay in a job that makes them unhappy.
‘Career lockdown’ threatens future workforce skills
Those from older generations are more prone to believe that sticking at it, putting in the hours and taking whatever the boss throws at you is a rite of passage to long-term rewards. But if a job is causing undue stress, lacks progression or doesn’t pay what someone believes they are worth, they would seem naïve to simply sit tight in the hope that things will change.
For many recruiters, a CV brimming with a series of short work stints raises red flags with thoughts of “fickle”, “entitled” or “hard to retain”, but there is a strong argument for looking deeper into the situation.
Prior to the pandemic, millennials were on course to account for something in the order of half of the UK workforce. Though many in areas like hospitality – where younger staff predominate – have been displaced by the turmoil in this sector, this demographic remains key for employers in all industries and professions.
No excuse to fall foul of the obvious on minimum pay
Companies hoping to hang on to their younger employees need to think about shaking up their working culture to make it more appealing. Introducing or expanding flexible working is often a go-to, but putting staff involvement at the core of operations is an often-overlooked strategy.
Younger workers frequently say they want to feel their input matters in the workplace, so moves to temper or even ditch top-down dictatorial models will improve engagement levels. Improving connections with staff will in turn enhance relationships with customers, ultimately translating into higher profitability.