New research has indicated that millennial workers are beginning to prioritize job satisfaction over their salary, an important trend given that millennials now account for over a third of the American workforce. The chance for professional growth and the need for work-life balance are two of the biggest factors in encouraging a wave of workers to change jobs this year.
The Muse is a recruitment site aimed at millennials, with 58% of its user base revealing that they were considering a career shift to improve their working life. While the ambition to work a “dream job” is innately human, the need for pragmatism often takes precedence. However, millennials are now able to look for more than just money. This is partly a reflection of the current economic situation, with the tight labor market giving more power and freedom to the worker.
An analysis of lottery winners highlights that these desires held by millennial workers are nothing new; it is circumstance that allows these desires to be more than just a dream. Of course, a tight labor market and winning the lottery are not quite on the same level of reward, but nevertheless this data related to winning a jackpot reveals that, given a safety net, many would change careers in pursuit of happiness. Seeing a string of zeroes added to a bank balance encourages many to give up their careers altogether, with 59% of lottery winners quitting their job to focus on spending the jackpot. Others use the financial security to move into a new field. Unsurprisingly, it is 18-34 year-olds who are more likely to switch careers, with 36% of the age group suggesting they would follow a new path if enabled by a lottery win.
It is not impossible for older workers to make dramatic career changes, but routines can be hard to shake off when ingrained over decades. This is why many older lottery winners simply retire. A lottery winner in their 20s is more likely to be intimidated by the notion of decades without structure, hence their keenness to remain in the working world. However, the intention of that 36% to change careers reveals that financial pragmatism was the only thing keeping them in their existing job.
Millennial workers now feel similarly emboldened by the strong economic situation, allowing them to prioritize satisfaction over salary. If it becomes increasingly difficult to tempt younger workers to stay with a simple wage rise, employers will have to consider other ways to create a more attractive all-round package. Of course, salary will never become irrelevant. While an attractive salary may get the best applicants through the door, it may be other factors that persuade those millennials to stay.
The Muse, the career site that uncovered the information about changing millennial desires, offers salient advice for employers seeking to appeal to the younger generation of workers. By demonstrating a clear commitment to an employee’s long-term development and introducing flexible work hours where possible, companies will stand a better chance in retaining millennials.
If bosses want to safeguard their business’ future, it is imperative to appeal to the younger generations that will one day fill senior positions. While the need for professional growth and a work-life balance are neither novel concepts nor unreasonable demands, millennial workers’ tendency to prioritize these values over salary means that companies will have to adapt accordingly.