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Millennials not as job-hopping as thought

Posted July 16

Like every other generation, millennials are so broad a demographic that anything about them, while probably true of one segment, is untrue of another. Still, it’s said often enough that millennials are job-hoppers that it may come as a surprise to hear there’s data that show otherwise.

It’s misleading to compare today’s twenty-somethings to those in their 30s and 40s, because there’s always been a difference with younger workers just naturally changing jobs more often than older ones, according to FiveThirtyEight. Instead, a look at twenty-somethings in the 1980s and 1990s shows a comparable amount of job-switching to today’s twenty-somethings.

Still, others found some truth to the stereotype — a survey by LinkedIn in April found that in the past 20 years, the number of companies people worked for within five years of graduation has almost doubled. LinkedIn also found that women job-hoppers are slightly more common than men job-hoppers.

But is there more to the story?

Jennifer Deal, a research scientist and co-author of "What Millennials Want from Work," has concluded after hundreds of interviews with millennials that many desire job security “a lot more than people think they do,” she writes for the Wall Street Journal blog. It’s a generation that has lived through the Great Recession.

And many feel they can’t commit to homes or cars or long-term financial commitments because they don’t feel secure in their jobs, Deal writes. The job-hopping reputation comes from the fact that millennials who don’t believe they’re secure in their job are likely to leave to look for a job that might come with that security.

“After all, they think, if I know I’m going to be pushed out at some point, it’s better for me to leave when I find something good rather than stick around waiting to be let go,” writes Deal. “At least this way I’m in charge of when I leave, rather than be subject to the whims of others!”

A recent survey from the Manpower Group found much the same, with 87 percent saying they most wanted job security, according to Inc.com. And the selection pool wasn’t small — it was a survey performed across 25 countries.

Some were noted to be less optimistic than others — for example, 37 percent of millennials in Japan believe they’ll be working until they keel over dead, according to Inc.com. Still, millennials worldwide want to work their way up within one company, if that company can provide for them in turn.

“Yes, millennials want a good quality of life. Who can blame them? They've seen previous generations work themselves into paralysis,” wrote Chris Matyszczyk for Inc.com. “But they understand they won't be able to achieve that quality of life without stable employment.”

Contact the reporter at smanderson@deseretnews.com; or follow her on Twitter at @Sarahsonofander.

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