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What Millennial Workers Value Above Everything Else

Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, and as such, a group to be reckoned with. You might assume that because this generation experienced the Great Recession during such a formative period of their lives (causing an effect that has been dubbed The Great Delay) that they would value their paycheck above all else. Surely, this generation must be anxious, more than anything else, to earn. Right?! Well, actually, that's not exactly the case. Let's take a look at what millennials are really after, and what workers from other generations can learn from them.

Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, and as such, a group to be reckoned with. You might assume that because this generation experienced the Great Recession during such a formative period of their lives (causing an effect that has been dubbed The Great Delay) that they would value their paycheck above all else. Surely, this generation must be anxious, more than anything else, to earn. Right?! Well, actually, that’s not exactly the case. Let’s take a look at what millennials are really after, and what workers from other generations can learn from them.

happy millennials

(Photo Credit: ITU Pictures/Flickr)

1. They love to save.

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One of the greatest impacts on the lives of millennials that came as a result of the Great Recession (beyond the fact that it delayed marriage, home ownership, etc., for many) is that it turned this group into a generation of savers. Much like the folks who grew up during the Great Depression, millennials know that things can turn on a dime, and they feel better able to cope with this fact when they have some savings to fall back on.

A recent survey conducted by Bankrate.com found that adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are saving more than any other group. Sixty-two percent are saving more than 5 percent of their income. Only about half of people over 30 are saving at the same rate.

Even when millennials didn’t feel personally impacted by the Great Recession, “they know that saving is important and they’re behind,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate told Time. “They’re not as consumption-oriented.”

2. They care more about quality of work-life than they do about their paychecks.

The fact that millennials would rather save than spend hints at the idea that they value their security, their feelings, their comfort, more than they value material goods. Other research also supports this idea. According to the results of a study conducted by Fidelity, although millennials are about as happy at their jobs as workers from other generations, they’re considering moving on at about twice the rate.

When asked how much of a pay cut they’d be willing to take in order to have improved “quality of work life,” which includes things such as work/life balance, company culture, and career development opportunities, millennials said, on average, that they’d relinquish $7,600 a year. Additionally, more than half said that an improved quality of work life was more important when evaluating an offer than were the financial benefits.

“Clearly, many young professionals are thinking about more than money and are willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary in exchange for a career move that more closely aligns with their values or passions or improves their work/life balance,” Kristen Robinson, senior vice president, Women & Young Investors, Fidelity Investments said about the findings. “However, achieving better quality of life and meaningful work doesn’t have to come at the expense of one’s bottom line. Getting educated about the total compensation and benefits package of an offer can enable job seekers to evaluate the potential trade-offs between two jobs and make an informed decision that could give them the best of both worlds.”

3. Millennials might be on to something here…

Millennials are looking for different things from employers than other generations have in the past. Whether it’s better work/life balance, innovation, or professional training, it turns out that they might be on to something, particularly in the way in which they’re valuing their happiness at work.

Our workplace environments really do have an impact on our mental health. Even something as simple as the amount of natural light that an office gets can impact workers’ sleep and therefore their physical and mental health. Over the course of a lifetime, we spend an awful lot of time at work. Millennials are wise to prioritize their happiness. As a result, they might be able to work smarter not harder, and ultimately earn more with less effort. Just one more thing older workers can learn from our younger friends.

Tell Us What You Think

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