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Millennials Expect Raises, Promotions More Often than Older Generations

Millennial workers—those in their 20s and early 30s—set themselves apart from older generations by being more likely to expect raises, promotions and bonuses more than once a year; more likely to view having their own office as a right; and more actively looking for new job opportunities, according to survey results.

Addison Group, a provider of professional staffing services, and Kelton, a global insights firm, surveyed 1,006 working adults evenly divided among the three main generations in the workforce today—Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials—on their work preferences and attitudes.

“Today’s employment market is geared toward the candidate,” said Addison Group CEO Thomas Moran. “As the economy continues to improve, attracting and retaining talent has been increasingly challenging for employers across all industries. As a result, it’s important that employers understand what employees prioritize when considering employment options, and what can be done to retain top talent.”

Why Employees Leave

Millennials were the most likely of the three generations to say that they are actively looking for a new job (16 percent), and also the most likely to say they are seeking a raise this year (34 percent) or actively seeking a promotion (32 percent).

About a third of workers from all three generations (32 percent) say they aren’t actively looking for a new job, yet often browse for other opportunities and would be willing to apply for a different position.

Employers should note that 40 percent of Millennials expect a promotion every one to two years, and the youngest generation was more likely than the others to say that raises, promotions and bonuses should be provided more than once a year. This generation (38 percent) also tends to view having their own office as a right, rather than a reward, more so than Generation X (28 percent) and Baby Boomers (31 percent). Millennials were also more likely than their older colleagues to view bonuses as a right instead of a reward, even though a significant majority of all age groups (86 percent) view bonuses as rewards.

The majority of respondents (44 percent) said they would leave their current job to make more money, including 49 percent of Millennials, 45 percent of Generation X and 38 percent of Baby Boomers. The next most-likely reasons given for leaving a company were being unhappy with the employer (23 percent) and due to retirement (22 percent), with Baby Boomers choosing retiring as their top reason (42 percent).

Millennials (42 percent) and Generation X (42 percent) are more inclined to believe people should have five or more different jobs throughout their careers, compared to Baby Boomers (33 percent).

What Employees value

The gap between what employees want in an ideal job and their satisfaction with their current position is a key metric in understanding how to retain talent. The survey found that less than one in four workers (24 percent) said their present role is their ideal job, although more Millennials felt so (27 percent) than Generation X (21 percent) or Baby Boomers (23 percent).

Most workers surveyed (63 percent) chose “cares about work/life balance” as what they want from the ideal employer. The majority of respondents chose being satisfied with their company’s work/life balance (55 percent) over benefits (43 percent), learning opportunities (22 percent) or internal career growth (19 percent), something for employers to take note of to ensure workplace opportunities match employee desires.

Younger employees tended to be more satisfied with training and development opportunities and the potential for career growth, while older workers said they were more satisfied with their company’s workplace flexibility policies and benefits, such as health insurance.

Older employees were more likely to say that the ideal employer would value flexible scheduling and work/life balance, whereas younger workers tended to choose internal training opportunities and clear promotion tracks as being ideal.

Across generations, employees were not very motivated about the company’s success (25 percent), culture (24 percent) or mission (21 percent). Baby Boomers were most impressed with their company’s success (27 percent).

Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents indicated that they have an interest in management, but only 35 percent said they would like to manage others, with Millennials the most keen (45 percent) to do so, and Baby Boomers the least (28 percent).

Forty-one percent of Millennials said they enjoy managing others, more so than Generation X (32 percent) and Baby Boomers (31 percent). Twenty-six percent of Millennials said they would consider leaving a company that didn’t provide an opportunity to be a manager.

The majority of respondents (35 percent) said five years is the minimum amount of work experience a person should have before becoming a manager. All three generations agreed with this, but Baby Boomers were the most in support (41 percent), while younger employees, especially Millennials, were more likely than other generations to say two (21 percent) or three years (20 percent) was sufficient.

All generations (63 percent) report valuing honest feedback from managers more than any other trait, but Baby Boomers value it more (67 percent) than the other cohorts, while Millennials value help figuring out career goals (30 percent) more than their older colleagues, according to the survey.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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