Can Managers Count On Millennials Sticking Around?

It turns out that millennials are as loyal as the previous generation
It turns out that millennials are as loyal as the previous generation
Image Credit: Ryan Dickey

Managers who have built a successful team are always worried about one thing: are their workers going to stay? As more and more of our teams are being built using members of the millennial generation a lot of us have become worried because we don’t have any manager training on how to get people to stay. The typical description of a millennial worker is one who moves around a lot looking for the next best thing. Should managers be worried that their team members are going to be moving on?

Do Younger Workers Stay?

The good news for managers is that studies have shown that younger employees who are now entering their prime working years are so far proving as loyal to employers as the generation before them, despite a hot job market. In one study 70% of workers between the ages of 22 and 37, known as the millennial generation, had worked for their current employer for 13 months or more, according to an analysis of federal data. By comparison, that number was 69% for workers who were in the same age group in 2002 known as Generation X.

What managers are finding out is that when you look at millennials, they have no shorter job tenures with their current employers than Generation X did back in 2002, What makes this even more impressive is that its ten years after the great recession and it’s still the case. Even when looking at longer tenures, the data suggest that younger workers may be more loyal than their predecessors were even as they were getting their careers under way. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 28.8% of workers ages 25 to 34 have worked for the same employer for at least five years. The share of workers in that age group with equal tenure in back in 2000 was 21.8%.

What Does All Of This Mean For Managers?

Prior to the arrival of Covid-19, the stability among younger workers came as unemployment rates hovered near 50-year lows and companies were drawing from a larger pool of job seekers. In January of 2020, the share of Americans aged 25 to 54 working or looking for work was at 83.1%, the highest rate since 2008.

Managers need to realize that we have this phenomenon today of high employment, and yet this very high level of anxiety amongst employees about job security. Managers need to use their manager skills to realize that millennials are not insulated from that. A survey that was conducted last year found nearly 60% of millennials had worked for their current employer for three or more years, and 49% wanted to work for their employer for at least another four years. The loyalty among younger workers contradicts a persistent myth among some job recruiters that millennials are more eager to switch jobs.

Managers thought during the depths of the recession, when the labor market was in very dire straits, especially for young adults, the job hopping would be suppressed. However, as the economic recovery began building momentum the idea that millennials were bouncing wildly from one employer to another took hold—even without the data to bear it out.

Younger workers also may feel they need to move jobs to continue building essential skills because today’s careers need to be reinvented roughly every four years. Some people may assume, that if they don’t move around, they won’t continue to learn, and if they don’t continue to learn they’ll be vulnerable. This is when a manger’s team building skills can come into play to get millennials to stay.

What All Of This Means For You

Managers have gone to a great deal of trouble to create teams that they feel are able to deliver the results that the company is looking for. However, they are now facing a serious challenge. Many of the members of their team come from the millennial generation and that group of people has the reputation of not staying around for long. Do managers have to worry about their millennial workers leaving them?

The good news appears to be that no, managers don’t have to worry about millennial workers leaving for a better job. Studies have shown that millennial workers are as loyal as the workers who came before them. Despite having worked through a major recession, millennial workers say that they are willing to continue to work for their current employers. The recent low unemployment figures meant the most millennials had found work. Managers need to understand that millennials may feel as though they need to keep developing new skills in order to stay relevant.

Mangers can rest assured that the millennials who are on their teams are not currently plotting to leave the firm. However, like any other worker, millennials have their own set of needs and managers have to make sure that these are being met if they want to make sure that their team is going to stay together. Taking the time to understand what millennials want to get out of their current job can ensure that managers can keep their teams together.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that millennials will stay at a given job?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Life is complicated and, yes, there are times when it is inconvenient to tell the truth. It can be as simple as one of you friends asking if you like the outfit that they are wearing (you don’t) or your boss asking if that report will be done by the end of the day (it won’t). It can be very easy to “bend the edges” or tell white, gray, or even black lies when we are at work. Our manager training does not teach us how big of a deal this really is.

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