Millennials: The can-do, will-do generation

In 2020, Millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce, so it’s no surprise that so many reports about them exist. What is surprising, however, is the amount of negative stereotypes that exist about them. They’ve been painted to be a generation of disloyal, work-shy job hoppers. These typecasts simply aren’t true.

In fact, Millennials expect to work harder and longer than any previous generation. When we interviewed 19,000 Millennials as part of our recent Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report, half of them told us that they expect to work past the age of 65, over a quarter expected to work until at least 70, and 12% thought it was unlikely that they would ever be able to retire. A handful were more optimistic and thought they’d retire before 65, but that was very much the minority opinion.

Time out

While Millennials know that they will be working for far longer than their parents and grandparents, they expect to take more career breaks along the way. 84% of the people we spoke to said that they expect to take career breaks lasting more than four weeks during their career.

Interestingly, the reasons for these career breaks were somewhat varied. Female Millennials, for example, often told us that they planned to take time out to care for other people – for children, older people, or partners, or to volunteer. Far fewer of the males we spoke to planned to do the same. It seems that the expectations of Millennials are at odds with hopes for gender parity.

But both genders were in agreement when it came to taking time out of work to look after ‘me, myself and I’. Our research found that four out of five Millennials, regardless of gender, plan to take extended breaks to relax, travel, and see the world. At the other end of the scale, taking time off to support a partner in their job ranks as a low priority for both genders – dual-income households continue to be the way forward.

The time to act is now

What our research has shown us is that Millennials have a very different relationship with work than previous generations. As the preferences and expectations of candidates change, so too must the strategies of employers, if they are to attract, retain, develop and motivate this new generation of workers.

Now’s the time to review your approach to talent, and make sure it aligns with the expectations of Millennials. It’s those HR professionals who dig below the surface to understand and adjust to these changing attitudes who will hold the competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.

Read more about our findings in the full report.