“Job-hopping” no new phenomenon

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Millennials may have a reputation for job-hopping but it’s not necessarily a fair one – according to one recent study, today’s young workers actually remain with their employer longer than other generations did when they were the same age.

“Most of the research used to claim millennials are job hoppers compares their average tenure versus the whole workforce or gen Xers in the workforce,” says Katie Williams, head of HR centre of expertise at Vodafone New Zealand.

“However, to really decide if millennials stay less than previous generations, we need to compare them to that generation at the same age.”

In fact, a study using American Department of Labour data did just that and found that gen Xers actually had slightly lower tenure at the same age and stage of their careers, compared to millennials.

“The ‘job hopper’ label is a misnomer – young people have always moved more than older workers,” says Williams, who will be discussing the issue at the upcoming Millennial Workforce Summit.

While the job-hopping reputation may not be an accurate one, Williams says there still some key markers while set millennials apart from their older colleagues.

“We need to be careful we recognise we are talking in generalities and ignoring the richness of individual experiences,” she says. “However, we can point to a couple of differences.”

According to Williams, one of the common differentiators is that millennials have grown up as digital natives.

“They are digitally literate, highly connected, and expect access to information at their fingertips,” she says. “Millennials expect to have the tools to enable collaboration and the flexibility to work from anytime and anywhere with greater efficiency.”

The ‘Attracting and Retaining Millennial Professionals’ study by recruitment giant Robert Walters found that 91 per cent of millennials value opportunities for rapid career progression as one of the most important factors when considering a role. 

“They want a clear path for progression in the business,” says Williams. “While this is not dissimilar to other generations, millennials expect this to happen at a quicker pace and with greater support from their organisation.”

Williams also says millennials often lean towards organisations with a clear social cause that are making a positive difference in the world.

“Millennials more so than other generations want to work for an organisation with purpose and where the values match their own," she tells HRD, before pointing to the Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey which found opportunities to be involved with ‘good causes’ at the local level, many of which are enabled by employers, provide millennials with a greater feeling of influence.

 
Katie Williams will be participating in an informative industry panel at the upcoming Millennial Workforce Summit in Auckland. Flanked by senior HR figures from Cigna, Beca and Airways New Zealand, Williams will discuss how employers can attract, retain and engage ambitious young staff.
 
The event, due to take place in May, will also feature sessions on a number of other pressing HR issues, including succession planning, intergenerational conflict, and fast-track leadership programs.
 
More information – as well as the full schedule for the event – can be found online.
 

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