Human Resources News & Insights

Here’s a look at Millennials that might surprise you

Those so-called Millennials might not be the selfish slackers they’re often described to be.  

The standard narrative is that these 18-to 30-somethings are lazy, feel entitled and don’t have good work ethic. But a recent survey from Bentley University in Massachusetts says different.

So let’s take a look at these stereotypes, and the responses to the survey, which was conducted by KRC Research and involved 1,031 participants aged 18 to 34.

They’re only interested in communicating via digital devices. Wrong. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they’d prefer to talk to colleagues in person. The others chose:

  • email — 19%
  • texting — 14%
  • telephone — 9%
  • Gchat or other IM — 7%.

They’re planning on jumping from job to job during their careers. Wrong. Eighty percent said they figured they’d work for four or fewer companies during their lifetime. And 36% said they’d likely stay in their current job for 3 to 5 years.

And there’s this: 16% think they’ll stay with their present employer for the rest of their career.

They’re not that interested in healthcare benefits. Wrong. A huge majority of millennials (96%) cite healthcare benefits as a key factor in deciding between two otherwise equal jobs.

They’re not ambitious. Wrong. But success doesn’t always mean climbing the corporate ladder, the survey says. Two-thirds (66%) of millennials are interested in starting their own business and 37% would like to work on their own. A much smaller number — only 13% — said they’d like to be a CEO or company president.

About ethics, money and flex-time

Other study results:

While 95% say a company’s ethics are very important, they also have big expectations for financial compensation. In fact, 79% expect a salary increase every year. And 77% value a pay raise over a promotion. They want to “do well while doing good,” the survey authors wrote.

Millennials prefer a more flexible work schedule, with 77% saying flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age — although 31% percent worry that their desire for workplace flexibility is often mistaken for a poor work ethic. Still, with 80% of millennials owning a smartphone, the great majority (89%) admits to regularly checking work email after work hours.

And one final thing: Millennials are reinforcing their own stereotype. Fifty percent of respondents said the main reason people their age are unprepared for their first job is a poor work ethic.

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