Fortune has published its annual “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” (Milton Moskowitz and Robert Levering, March 15, 2015, pp. 97–154). In addition to its momentous list, Fortune included some of the latest research on workers who are highly engaged in their current positions. Survey data from Gallup indicates that although engaged millennials now dominate the workforce, they are also the generation most likely to jump ship. Generationally, here are the comparative figures on the percentage of engaged employees who plan to change jobs as soon as the economy improves (p. 109):
- Gen X—9%
- Baby boomers—5%
Here are my observations on the trending:
Generational Expectations. The numbers align with typical generational expectations. The older you are, the less likely you are to change jobs. Reasons could include being established in your professional role, having fears about age discrimination, and being set in your ways. The younger you are, the more adventurous you are, and the more you are open to many fast changes as you orchestrate your career launch.
Millennial Mindset. Millennials in particular are known for their propensity for being more of a free agent, jumping from one project team to another. They have bought the message of seeking lifetime employability rather than lifetime job security. The changing nature of the job market with its growing temporary workforce has strengthened that expectation. Therefore, millennials will very likely be the first people to jump ship the moment they perceive a better opportunity.
Corporate-Culture Challenge. These circumstances present a fundamental corporate-culture challenge: How can a company change its corporate culture to align with much of what we find in Fortune’s 100 best workplaces? By studying how the top 100 have achieved their standing, any company can begin to make improvements. In so doing, perhaps that 17%-millennial propensity to jump ship soon will be mitigated. If so, then both the millennials and their current companies will be the clear winners. That is a challenge worth conquering.