Younger Generations Want To Change Jobs, Here’s How To Keep Them

Younger Generations Want To Change Jobs, Here’s How To Keep Them

Young woman with suitcase walking at the street in Barcelona


Roughly 85% of 1,000 U.S. professionals polled in a recent LinkedIn survey say they are thinking about changing jobs this year. This trend has jumped nearly 20% in the last year, from 67% thinking about switching jobs.

This trend is particularly pronounced among younger workers, with high percentages of those in different age groups expressing interest in changing jobs:

  • Ninety percent of Gen-Z workers (born late 1990s to early 2010s) are considering job changes.
  • Ninety-two percent of Millennials (born early 1980s to late 1990s) are also thinking about switching jobs.
  • Eighty-three percent of Gen-X workers (born late 1960s to early 1980s) are part of this trend.
  • Forty-eight percent of Baby Boomers (born before 1965) are considering changing jobs, indicating a lower but still significant percentage within this age group.

The data suggests that job mobility is a prevalent theme across different age groups, with the highest percentages among the younger workforce population. This shift in sentiment could be attributed to various factors such as evolving work preferences, career growth opportunities and changes in the job-market landscape. Employers may need to be attentive to these trends and consider strategies to retain and attract talent in response to the changing dynamics of the workforce.

Get Out Of Their Way

Unlike previous generations, Gen-Z and younger Millennials grew up with technology at their fingertips, literally. They had access to handheld technology as early as they can remember. Gen-Z ‘s upbringing as digital natives has given them a set of skills and perspectives that set them apart in the workplace. Comfortable with navigating a variety of digital platforms, they are most likely to use the technology to get their news and information and to solve complex problems.

Having witnessed rapid technological advancements throughout their lives, younger generations possess a natural adaptability to change. This adaptability is a valuable asset in today’s fast-paced business environment where agility is key. Younger employees are more likely to embrace new tools, software and work methodologies, making them catalysts for innovation within their teams. The key is empowering them to bring innovative ideas without fear of judgment, granting them true ownership of their work. Employers can leverage this inclination by providing stretch opportunities for them to learn and grow, while providing a safety net for them to fail and learn.

Unlike past generations, younger workers have a stronger entrepreneurial spirit, fueled in part by what they saw online growing up, like social media influencers and internet startup businesses. Growing up with access to online resources, such as Etsy and Upwork, that sell products and services, they are more likely to seek out and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Organizations can tap into this spirit by encouraging intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship at work), providing platforms for employees to pitch and develop innovative ideas inside the organization. These ideas can be funded internally and be a source of competitive advantage for innovation when managed well. 3M is best known for this approach, where they allot time for people to innovate at work and have expectations for people to share their ideas and their failures openly and safely.

Stretch The Learning Curve

Younger people have the brain capacity to learn and grow more rapidly (and learning is possible at any age). Rather than have education as a prerequisite or separate function in the training department, embed learning into daily activities. Younger people expect to learn on the job more so than through formal education. With the rise of post-secondary education costs, younger workers are looking to organizations to supplement traditional learning curricula.

Organizations can satiate employees’ thirst for learning by providing stretch or growth assignments beyond the employees’ current performance level. Look for those who have high potential and match the tasks and projects that best align to that potential. Teams need to have objective criteria for evaluating people for new project leadership and ways to plug in to growing areas of the business. It is pivotal to plan for these growth opportunities rather than leaving it to happenstance or using a traditional succession-planning model. Think about how you can prepare younger employees for the future before it arrives.

Care About Them As Full Humans

Gone are the days of separating personal and professional lives. Younger people expect to bring their full selves to work. The sad reality is that fewer than half of employees feel they can bring their full human selves to work—meaning, they feel they are seen only as employees, not as more complex humans. This is an opportunity for a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining young workers. This can be done through more thoughtful hiring and onboarding processes, stressing the importance of relationship building. Be intentional by pairing people with potential mentors and buddies to ensure they acclimate to the organization’s culture and establish genuine human connections early on.

The next generation of younger workers is more driven by factors such as technology, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. These shifts necessitate a strategic approach from employers to retain and attract talent. Recognizing and addressing the unique characteristics of different generations in the workplace is key to fostering getting out of their way, stretching the learning curve and caring about them as full humans.

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