What Millennials Want at Work (Hint: It’s Not Always More Money)

attract and retain millennials

Are you struggling to find the formula to attract and retain millennials? If so, you’re not alone. Managers in every industry wonder how to nab high-performing employees and then keep them engaged, productive and satisfied once they’re on the job.

The challenge is doubly confounding when would-be bosses realize they can’t always solve the problem with money. In fact, a bigger salary is not as important to most millennials as are a number of other factors.

Of course, competitive pay will always be a driver for many employees (and let’s be real: salary often vaults to the top for those who aren’t middle class or who have a heavy student loan burden), but other elements make a workplace desirable to millennials, sometimes more than money.

Quality of Life Matters

“When it comes to looking for a new job, a majority of young adults say a better quality of life at work is more important than a fatter salary, according to a survey out this month from Fidelity. In fact, 25- to 35-year-olds said they’d be willing to give up an average of $7,600 in pay for a better situation at the office, such as more career development and a healthier work/life balance.” — Read more at USA TODAY.

Millennials Are Looking for a Strong Reputation

“Two thirds of [millennial communication professionals] said job decisions were driven most by reputation (68.1%), culture (67.2%), and location (67.4%), among nine drivers. More than 60% said key retention drivers were culture (63.8%), work-life-social approaches (62.4%), and development opportunities (61.6%), among 14 factors.” — Read more at Bulldog Reporter.

They Seek Out Professional Development

“Unless they are named Mark Zuckerberg, millennials are for the most part toward the beginning of their careers. While they might be content working in whichever capacity they are right now, chances are they’ll be trying to climb the ladder sometime in the future. To this end, millennials seek out professional development opportunities. In fact, according to a recent survey from EdAssist, 60% of millennials would prefer a job that offered regular opportunities for professional development over one that offered regular pay raises.” — Read more at TINYpulse.

They Want a Promotion More than a Raise

“Despite the old adage ‘money talks,’ the majority of employees would opt for a promotion without a salary increase over a raise, according to a new survey. About two-thirds (63%) of 1,200 professionals said they would prefer to get a promotion with no salary increase than a salary increase with no promotion, according to an October study from Korn Ferry. … In fact, 73% of employees said their principal driver is the belief that their work has purpose and meaning.” — Read more at Employee Benefit News.

Of Course, For Some Money Does Talk (Or, Even Shout)

“Typically what I’ve heard people argue is that millennials care more about their work environment, work-life balance, and engagement with their job than they do about their compensation. While I’m not denying that millennials care about lifestyle factors like these, I think that the studies support a very simple fact: at the end of the day millennials want more money. … The reality is that most millennials don’t see the need to grind out a decade of ‘paying dues’ before they can take home a reasonable income. … Millennials want to increase their income, and they want to do it as quickly as possible. If another company is going to give them a 25% raise to come over, they are going to take it. With tools like Glassdoor it’s easier than ever to see which companies pay more – or less – for a given job.”— Read more at Young Adult Money.

Have you found that millennials are motivated by more than money? Share in the comments what you have seen in your workplace.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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