Why Millennials and Gen Zers Are Rejecting the Current Model of Work
It’s being called the Great Reshuffle. Or the Great Resignation. Workers who are fed up with their jobs or simply want to make a change have submitted their resignations in droves. In April, a record 4 million Americans quit their jobs. In July, nearly as many did the same. But here’s what’s interesting: A new survey by Adobe of 5,500 workers globally found […]
According to the study, 35% of enterprise workers in countries such as the United States, Japan, France, and Australia, said they planned to switch jobs in the next year. Those numbers were even higher for employees earlier in their careers. Among millennials, 49% planned to look for a new job; for Gen Z, it was 56%.
A Prudential Financialsurvey of 2,000 U.S. workers found similar results. According to Prudential, 34% of millennials planned to look for a new job once the pandemic was no longer an issue, compared with 24% of Gen Xers and 10% of Boomers.
With 10 million positions open in the United States alone, this presents a challenge for recruiters. To come out ahead in the Great Reshuffle, here’s what you need to know about the two generations most likely to make a move.
It’s all about burnout
There are two simple reasons why younger workers are quitting their jobs: First, they’re experiencing pandemic burnout and, second, they want more work-life balance. Since the pandemic started, people who work from home (of all ages) are logging an average of two more hours of work per day. That could mean Slack messages at 10 p.m. or emails on the weekend. According to a survey by The Finery Report, 83% of millennials reported that working overtime was the norm for them, and that nearly 70% regularly worked on the weekends.
This always-on culture is burning younger workers out. The Adobe survey points out that 57% of Gen Z and 54% of millennials feel the most pressured to be available at all times and are most likely to describe their job as repetitive and boring. Gen Z workers also feel the most pressure to work traditional 9-to-5 hours, even though a quarter of them say they do their best work outside that window. Nearly half of Gen Zers say they often work in bed (in fairness, they also tend to live in smaller spaces, so this may be the only place they have to work).
Some younger workers have even chosen to drop out of the workplace altogether — temporarily. According to The Wall Street Journal,some young professionals have quit their jobs with no backup plan or intention of getting another professional position soon. They want to learn new skills, or develop creative potential, before embarking on a new career path.
One example the article cited was of 33-year-old Tessa Raden, who quit her dream job in arts administration in Washington, D.C., because she was burnt out by remote work. She is bartending at night while she pursues a graduate certificate in education policy, in the hopes of transitioning into public education.
The upheaval creates opportunities for companies
According to the Adobe survey, 39% of workers (of all ages) blame the work culture at their companies for their long workdays. This means that companies that want to retain workers — or snap up top talent in the Reshuffle — have an opportunity to reexamine their culture and create one that works better.
A recent LinkedInthread about millennials leaving the workforce included a comment from Logan Mallory, vice president of marketing at Motivosity: “Employers: Now is the time to make a culture so amazing that your younger employees don’t want to take a break.”
Here are a few ideas on how to do that.
1. Offer flexible schedules
Workers in the Adobe survey overwhelmingly wanted better work-life balance, more control over their schedules, and the ability to work remotely. Glint’s recent Employee Well-Being Report backs this up, highlighting that employees who are satisfied with their company’s flexibility on work schedules or location are 2.6x more likely to report being happy working for their employer.
Though it’s important to offer competitive pay, offering better compensation is often not enough. Numerous surveys taken during the pandemic found that money alone isn’t enough to keep workers; professionals also want flexibility and additional benefits.
In this remote environment, employees also need to feel connected to the company and their coworkers — especially if you want them to stay with the company. While it used to be easy to connect in the hallways or over lunch, teams now need to take a proactive approach to building social capital and creating a culture where team members can connect and support one another. This includes managers and leaders asking employees what they want and need to be successful. It also includes fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, where everyone feels like they belong.
In the Adobe survey, 74% of Gen Z workers and 78% of millennials said they would switch jobs — even if the same salary were offered — for a better work-life balance.
Los Angeles Times writer LZ Granderson calls this generational upheaval “a long overdue recalibration.” In a recent opinion piece, he writes, “More people are resetting their priorities and maybe forcing policy makers to do so, too. After all, no one dies wishing they had spent more time in the office.”
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family.
Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.