Millennials Workers Aren't Disloyal, They Just Want It All

Everyone loves a good "Millennial-bashing" story. Even millennials, sometimes! (I, for one, was born in 1992 and enjoy the occasional avocado toast joke at my generation's expense.) We are often labeled as lazy, disloyal, or unrealistic in what we demand from the workplace. On the whole, we tend to want more time off, more paid parental leave, and more flexible options for where and when to get work done. Deloitte recently found 43 percent of millennials see themselves moving to a new job within two years.

But Lisen Stromberg, author of Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career, says this disloyalty reflects more on the employer.

"[Millennials] actually want to be able to have full, rich, engaging lives and full, rich, engaging professional careers. They think they can have it all," Stromberg says. "Millennials can be very loyal if they're in an environment where they can thrive."

As major industries like tech and marketing grow younger, pie-in-the-sky job wish lists aren't looking so unrealistic. The millennial workforce is big enough, educated enough and talented enough to make some demands with the leverage to make employers listen.

Stromberg says millennials, and millennial parents in particular, give their loyalty to employers that provide the following:

  1. Values aligned with those of the worker
  2. Leaders who earn the worker's trust
  3. Opportunities for workers to participate in key business decisions
  4. Training and professional development
  5. Time mastery (e.g. - flexible hours, paid parental leave, more than a "clock in, clock out" mentality)

And finally—this is a big one—millennial women and men both care about gender equity. Stromberg says coworkers sometimes even organize salary reveal parties - a play on the "gender reveal" trend. Men have been known to confront HR after discovering their female counterparts are paid less for comparable work.

Stromberg says she has high hopes for millennials as they re-invent work and how it fits into the rest of their lives. They're also changing who gets the top jobs. Stromberg is C.O.O. of the 3% Movement. The Movement got its name from a statistic Stromberg is glad to see changing so quickly: Less than a decade ago, three percent of creative directors in American advertising were women. Now it's up to nearly 30 percent.

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