Gen Y Report: Gen Y Prefers Small Employers

PayScale’s "Gen Y on the Job" report reveals Millennials’ best job and employer options, favorite
cities, top job skills, common degrees and more.

Gen Y is attracted to small startups over large
enterprises, according to the recently released “Gen Y on the Job” report. We found that 47 percent of Gen Y workers are working at
small companies with less than 100 employees. Thirty percent are working at companies
that have between 100 and 1,500 employees and only 23 percent work at large
companies with more than 1,500 employees.

I think there are a number of factors that
contribute to these percentages. First, many large companies have hiring
freezes, where no recruiting occurs for several months because HR is accessing
their talent pool and trying to cut costs. Second, it takes several months to
get into a large company, when it could only take a week to get hired at a
startup. With larger companies, candidates often have to go through several
rounds of interviews, usually starting on the phone and then in-person.
Finally, a larger company can pigeonhole you in a specific job role. Although
big companies usually pay more, research shows that Gen Y prefers meaningful
work over money. Here are the top three reasons why I believe Gen Y would
rather work at a startup over a big brand:

1) Work life matches personal life. Small companies like Foursquare and Rent the Runway
have free beer on tap, happy hours and casual dress codes. Gen Y doesn’t
differentiate between their personal and professional lives like older
generations do. Startup culture is a fun environment where they can let loose,
which is especially important because you typically work longer hours at a

2) Strong
workplace flexibility programs.
Since you have to work longer
hours at a startup, the tradeoff is that you can work remotely. As long as the
job gets done, and you’re working around the clock, you can work from home.
Many startups, especially in the tech industry, have groups of teams that use
social networking as a way to collaborate on projects. Douglas Karr, one of my
old blogging friends, is the founder of DK New Media. He
and his team of Gen Ys build relationships on Facebook and use social networks
to work when not in the office.

3) Empowered
to make a big impact.
Small companies allow Gen Y
workers to get their hands dirty in various areas of the business. It’s easier
to move around and they can make a big impact much faster. The chain of command
is smaller so it’s easier to get approval on projects. In big companies, it could
take weeks to get signoff from an executive. Gen Y also has more access to
executives and the CEO. At big companies, it’s hard to get that face time.

Keep the discussion on Gen Y going on Twitter using hashtag #GenY.

Dan Schawbel is the
founder of
, a Gen-Y research
and consulting firms. He is a
Gen-Y career and workplace expert, as well as the bestselling author
of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.

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