5 Things We Know Millennials Want From A Job
(Original article by Katie Zimmerman, Forbes.com)
I’ve written about millennial preferences in the workplace for a couple years and can say with confidence that their values are more practical than they are fun, as some have reported over time. While companies that offer video games and free snacks to employees may get air time on social media, the ones that manage to meet the following five needs are the ones that really win with millennials.
They Expect Employer Benefits That Fit Match Their Values
Millennials made headlines when they were moving from college into the workplace and disrupting the status quo. It’s been quite a few years since we saw traditional workplace norms crumble. Since that time, millennials have moved from being primarily broke college grads living in their parent’s basement to getting married and having children.
With this change in their life arrangement comes an adjustment to their desires from an employer. Those that have moved into parenthood may still struggling to pay their student loan debt, while simultaneously thinking about how they will pay for their child’s education later in life.
A recent Capital Group survey found that one in three millennials say a 529 or college savings plan is a benefit they want employers to offer. Even more want tuition reimbursement. One in three millennials say not having enough money to pay for their children’s education keeps them up at night.
Loyalty Is More Valuable Than They Let On To
At some point, millennials developed a reputation for job hopping. Whether they are actually job hopping more than previous generations is up for debate, as Capital Group’s survey found that 30% of millennials have held three jobs or more over the past five years.
On the flip side, the same study found that 67% of millennials say being loyal to their employer is important to them, which is on par with previous generations. Along with loyalty to their employer, they don’t want to be viewed as a number and expect their employers to be loyal to them in return.
“From the survey findings, it can be deduced that if employers can match millennials’ hunger for benefits and personal development that align with their values, employers may benefit from millennials’ loyalty,” said Heather Lord, Head of Strategy & Innovation at Capital Group, an investment company.
They Want Retirement Investment Options
“Millennials can see the real-life impact investing can have,” said Lord. “Only 10% of millennials say they would stay in the same career and current lifestyle if they knew they would have enough money to retire.”
The desire to have retirement options from their employer is a basic desire of workers of all generations. Millennials, in particular, lived through the recession of 2007-2008, so they may be even more sensitive to making sure they are planning ahead and saving for retirement.
“While it can be challenging to save for retirement right out of college, putting off contributing and investing for retirement is a costly mistake,” continued Lord. “Young investors should aim to save whatever their employer will match, plus an additional portion of their compensation each year they work.”
Ability To Prioritize Family
As mentioned above, millennials are starting families and have had to adjust priorities and schedules to account for their new family members. In the same way, millennials are beginning to enter the age range where their parents are starting to need help.
“It was also interesting to see that millennials see investing success as a way to care for family,” said Lord. A quarter of millennials say more investing success would help them a great deal to take time off to care for aging or ill family members, which was higher than for boomers.”
Social Impact Is Key
In study after study, millennials reinforce their “Giving Generation” nickname. Benefits such as volunteer time off and charitable gift matching have increased in popularity with employers of millennials.
Capital Group’s study found that 82% of millennials say it’s important for companies to promote the health and wellness of consumers and employees in their investment portfolio, which is higher than for boomers. Companies must make sure that investment options in their retirement programs have socially responsible options. The difference between millennials and previous generations deepens when considering minority groups and their well-being.
Some of the benefits millennials expect from their employer are common of other generations, such as a focus on retirement investing and loyalty to their company. Areas that employers should refine their focus on as it relates to millennial employees are their family friendliness, social impact and benefits that match employee values.
Many companies, small and large, are well on their way to adjusting their policies to account for employees that have high expectations from a job. In today’s age of instant information availability, millennials can quickly compare jobs, companies, and benefits to make decisions about what is best for them and their family.