Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are sometimes criticized as a lazy generation, but it may be that they’re simply recognizing how outdated methods of working don’t work anymore. As the largest share of the workforce today, it’s important for business leaders to pay close attention to what millennials want and need to be successful. And, what they’re increasingly discovering is that flexibility, creativity, and collaboration are key to keeping this generation satisfied and engaged.
Below, we outline some statistics on millennials in the workforce.
1. Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce (Pew Research Center)
In 2017, millennials overtook Gen X-ers (born between 1965 and 1980) as the largest generation in the US workforce, with 56 million (about 35%) either working or looking for work. It was estimated that in 2020 millennials also made up 35% of the global workforce.
2. About 75% of millennial women are employed (BLS)
The Silent Generation (born between 1928 to 1945) saw women in the workforce at a rate of about 40%, with 58% actively not engaged in the workforce. For boomers (1946 to 1964), women’s employment increased to 66%, paving the way for millennial women to be employed at much higher rates. This still isn’t as high as millennial men, however, who are employed at about 80%.
3. 55% of millennials are disengaged at work (Gallup)
Millennials are the least engaged segment of today’s workforce. Over half of millennial workers are disengaged, leading to lower productivity and higher turnover.
Learn more about employee engagement and why it is important for your business.
4. 23% of millennials say they hope or plan to change jobs in six months (LinkedIn)
Millennials change jobs faster than any working generation, except Gen Z. According to LinkedIn, nearly a quarter of working millennials say they are changing jobs or plan to change jobs in the next six months. Another report, from Deloitte, found that nearly a quarter of millennials see themselves leaving their current job within two years. Shockingly, 32% said they’d leave their current job without another one lined up.
Avoid turnover by actively engaging your workers. Find employee engagement ideas in our guide.
5. Cost of living is the biggest concern for millennials (Deloitte)
Forty-three percent of millennials cited their long-term financial future as a primary driver of work-related stress. They fear not being able to afford housing, food, and other basic needs—in fact, 47% of those surveyed live paycheck to paycheck.
6. Pay is the No. 1 reason millennials leave jobs (Deloitte)
As a result of that financial anxiety mentioned above, pay is the number one reason millennials left their jobs within the last two years. However, when choosing jobs, good work-life balance (39%) and growth opportunities (29%) are their top priorities.
7. 73% of millennials work over 40 hours per week (ManpowerGroup)
So, millennials are lazy and entitled? Data from ManpowerGroup tells a different story. Its survey found that nearly three-fourths of millennials work over 40 hours per week and almost 25% work over 50 hours per week.
8. Only 24% of millennials are satisfied with career progress (Deloitte)
Despite millennials working just as much, if not more, than other generations, less than a quarter of them are satisfied with their career path. This shows a significant dissatisfaction with traditional career paths in corporate settings.
9. 80% of millennials think it’s OK to quit a new job if it’s not what they expected (The Muse)
Millennials expect the employer-employee relationship to be a two-way street. If a worker gets into a new position that’s not what was promised, 80% of millennials agree that it’s acceptable to leave a new job in the first six months. The Muse calls this “shift shock,” and 41% of millennials would give a new job two to six months to get better before leaving.
10. Millennials are the job-hopping generation (Gallup)
Gallup polling found that more than 20% of millennials had changed jobs within the past year (a much higher percentage than non-millennials), earning them the job-hopping generation nickname. They’re not just job hopping for more money. They’re also doing it for better flexibility and to join an organization that does more meaningful work.
Companies regularly spend more on recruiting than retention, even though the latter is a better investment.
11. Millennials expect employers to care about their well-being (Gallup)
Millennials expect their employers to care about and for their well-being. That can be shown in many ways, from inclusive workplaces to flexible working arrangements.
Check out our article on a flexible work schedule policy, which includes a free policy template to download.
12. 84% of millennials want to work remotely (Axios)
While just over half of all workers said they would switch jobs for a remote or hybrid opportunity, 84% of millennials said they would. Remote work or hybrid options are crucial to attracting and retaining millennials in the workplace.
Want more information like this? Check out our article on Remote Work Statistics.
13. 75% of millennials working remotely are engaged (Gallup)
If companies want to know how to engage millennial workers, give them the option to work remotely and train their managers to be effective. Remote work could be the biggest driver in millennial employee engagement. Along with that is having a strong manager who keeps them informed, communicates effectively, and doesn’t micromanage.
See our tips for engaging remote workers.
14. 61% of millennials have a side hustle (Zapier)
Most millennials need a side hustle. With stagnant wages and ever-rising living costs, millennials are forced to explore other ways to earn money.
15. Millennials own approximately 5% of the country’s wealth (Federal Reserve)
Millennials earn more money, adjusted for inflation, than boomers. That’s the end of the good news. At age 40, boomers owned about 21% of the country’s wealth, mostly through real estate. Today, partly because millennials can’t afford real estate at the same rates, millennials at age 40 only own about 5% of the country’s wealth.
16. Millennials hold over 30% of student loan debt (Education Data Initiative)
Carrying an average balance of just under $40,000 of student loan debt, millennials hold over 30% of the total outstanding student loan debt in the US. As a result of this, combined with other economic factors, millennials are understandably concerned about their financial security and future.
17. 7% of companies offer student loan repayment assistance (EBRI)
Company benefits are important to all workers and can help set a business apart from the competition. Student loan repayment assistance is a growing benefit offered by companies to help younger workers shoulder the massive costs of secondary education. With only 7% of companies currently offering this benefit, it’s a prime opportunity to give your organization a competitive advantage.
18. 42% of millennials cite mental health as a reason for time off (Deloitte)
Multiple studies show that workers are increasingly aware of their mental health and the stress work places on them. But, millennials are more likely to disclose the actual reason for needing time off than older generations. Companies that don’t address these issues will lose out on workers.
19. 47% of millennials wish they’d chosen a different career (CNBC)
Workers are seeking fulfillment in their jobs, and many aren’t getting it, wishing they’d chosen a different career path. However, companies can help these workers by implementing development programs to help workers shift their skills into something they prefer and are excited about. This is a win-win.
Explore our guide on training and development for ways to provide growth opportunities to your employees.
20. 61% of millennials moved into management to advance their careers (Zapier)
For millennials, they found the only way to earn more money and advance their careers was to move into people management positions, even if that’s not really what they want to do. Creating growth plans for each position in a company can be a great way to incentivize employees to stick around while showing them exactly where they can go within your organization.
Want more information like this? Check out our article on employee retention statistics.
Millennials have often been criticized for their perceived lack of commitment to the workplace and lack of work ethic compared to older generations. However, these criticisms may be unfounded, as recent statistics show that millennials are actually quite dedicated to their careers and will put in the effort to succeed.
As business leaders, it is important to pay attention to the needs and preferences of this generation. Successfully working with millennials entails understanding what drives them and adapting your strategies accordingly. This will help them succeed in the workplace and ensure the continued success of your company.