Career advancement doesn't motivate Millennials, study says
Monday, July 9, 2012
Millennials -- young workers born after 1980 -- are less
motivated by career advancement than by personal values and aspirations,
according to a new study by Bentley University.
While Millennials have not rejected the corporate world,
they will seek other options, such as starting their own companies, if they
cannot find workplaces that accommodate their personal values, including time
allocation, relationships and job security, according to a survey of 1,000
college educated women and men by Bentley University’s Center for Women &
These emerging leaders are confident in their abilities and
strive for career success, but will not tolerate unpleasant workplaces that do
not allow them to be their authentic selves in expressing their personal and
family values, according to "Millennials in the Workplace.” Still, they are
loyal and dedicated to companies that allow them to stay true to their personal
and family values.
The study also found the aspirations of Millennial men and
women are converging. Both men and women are family-oriented and seek a
personal life beyond work. While women are still being treated differently than
men in the workplace, the findings suggest the best path to advancing women in
corporate America is to see the problem as a generational issue, not a woman’s
issue, because both men and women are seeking the same type of workplace where
they can be their true selves. Companies risk the loss of men as well as women
by not allowing employees to accommodate personal and family values as part of
the way they accomplish their work, the study concluded.
Specifically, the survey also found that family and personal
authenticity are key aspects of this cohort’s identity and many are frustrated
with companies and corporate structures that are not evolving to allow them to
live up to their aspirations. Seventy-six percent of the women and 73
percent of the men see themselves as authentic. They are not willing to
compromise their family and personal values.
Consistent with previous studies, the Bentley University
study found Millennials place a higher premium on the success of their personal
lives than on their careers. But they want to spend time with their
families and fulfill career aspirations. Sixty-five percent of
respondents said being successful in a high-paying career or profession is
either one of the most important things in their lives or very important. More
than 72 percent say they are interested in working in a big corporation
someday, with 48 percent saying that their ideal career path would be working
at only one or two companies over the course of their careers.
When asked what they value most in a job beside enough to
pay bills, the top two responses for both men and women were "ensures my
family’s financial security for the long run/builds wealth” and "gives me the
opportunity to learn and build my skills.”
To achieve career success, most Millennials are willing to
or somewhat willing to take a lateral move for the experience or connections
they would make (84 percent), to travel frequently (69 percent, to relocate (68
percent), to work long hours and weekends (53 percent), to place their children
in daycare or hire a nanny (54 percent) or to take a lower-paying or unpaid job
or internship for experience and connection (53 percent).
This group is willing to sacrifice to ultimately
achieve security for their families and work where they are valued and
providing value. Eighty-four percent say that "knowing I am helping to make a
positive difference in the world is more important to me than professional
Yet Millennials are much less willing to endure
unpleasant conditions on the job, with only 30 percent of the respondents
somewhat or very willing to work in an unpleasant work environment to achieve
career success. This is a relationship-oriented generation that expects mutual
respect, the study found.
Less than 2 percent of survey respondents identified a
colleague at work or an employer or supervisor as the person who encourages
them to pursue their professional aspirations. They receive professional
encouragement primarily from their parents or spouse/partner; 33 percent say
they receive encouragement from a spouse/partner, followed
by mother (25 percent) and father (16 percent).