Right before graduating college and on the brink of entering the rat race, I went with sweaty palms to visit my professor to ask him for advice. After I rambled through all my doubts and shot some fifty questions at him, he replied calmly with, “Look, this is just the beginning. You’ll change five jobs by the time you’re thirty.” When I narrated this to my equally anxious friends later on, they said that they had heard the same thing from their parents, their dozens of uncles and aunts always around to put forth unasked advice and even the professionals they had reached out to for mentoring.
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That got me thinking, why is there this natural assumption that the millennial generation is set on hopping from one job to another, side-lining any possibility of job security? After reading up on several in-depth articles regarding the same, I have come to the conclusion that the ‘baby boomers’, who make up over sixty percent of the employer force, don’t quite know what they’re talking about.
As a millennial who graduated not too long ago, I can vouch for the fact that most of our generation runs after job security for the initial part of their career, quite simply because we need money. According to the Harvard Business Review, only about 10 percent of the millennial generation look to change their jobs in a year and that is primarily because they have the financial safety-net from their respective families. When you know that your parents will put money in your account as the digits start decreasing, you have the freedom to experiment with your job-shift from one to another that you think will offer you more growth, or even a more unique position- irrespective of the salary, perks and possibilities. On the other hand, 51 percent took out loans to fund their undergraduate education, compared to 40 percent of their financially privileged counterparts. Of those less-privileged Millennials burdened by student debt, 43 percent had loans totalling $40,000 or more, according to HBR.
Therefore, these millennials look towards their jobs as hopeful financial bases to help get them on their feet, especially in the first, defining halves of their career. On the contrary, when we used to have professionals in the field take our specialized classes as guest lecturers, the first round of professional advice they would give us was to avoid hopping from one job to another before completing a considerable period of time at one, long enough to be established. Otherwise, it would make us come across as flaky, undecided and unprofessional for future employers, when they had a look at our resume.
Millennials also refer to newly married couples and new parents who are looking to secure a steady future for themselves. Other than the fact that they need a steady paycheck to sustain a new household, they also need a form of job security to bring about balance to the family-life. In short, these groups of individuals are thinking long-term, of mortgaging a house and buying a car, and they need financial job security to back them in their goals. According to a survey carried out by the Wall Street Journal, 49 percent of millennials stated that they would like to stay with an organisation for more than 10 years. However, in the same report, they also confessed that they didn’t believe they had the job security they so needed, because it is common for companies to lay off people, targeting especially the younger millennial generation, who they believe can secure a new job faster and easier than their boomer counterparts.
With the powerbank of talent that millennials represent, it is important for organisations to find a mutual ground of interest with their millennial employees. They need to hold rounds of open communication, where they can share their ideas and suggestions which will be given due weightage. Through this, they can improve their skill-set through the vast experience of the older generation.
The future is ripe for the taking of the millennials, and it is necessary to tap into this powerful bank of resources for greater efficiency and stability in businesses for the future. So labelling them as professional grasshoppers, isn’t quite the way to go.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)