Millennials and older workers split on work motivations
- It's generally accepted that people work to pay the bills, but a recent FlexJobs survey of 3,000 multi-generational employees found that distinct generations of employees have different secondary motivations for working. Millennial respondents, for example, tend to work so they can finance their living expenses as well as their wanderlust, the study said. But older employees in the study tend to work because they like their jobs and want to save for retirement.
- The survey spotted further generational differences: 70% of millennials have considered leaving a job for another boasting flexible work options, but just half of older workers have felt the same pull. Almost 80% of millennials said they would be more loyal to an employer offering flexible work options, while just over 70% of older workers said the same. More than 80% of millennials say they seriously consider how a position will affect their work-life balance, but only 62% of older workers agreed.
- The generations did have a few traits in common. Less than 10% of both age groups would say they produce their best work in the office. And more than 60% of both groups said they'd be more productive if they telecommuted. And 41% of both groups said they don't think they should have to exchange salary or vacation time for telecommuting options.
It may not come as a surprise that older workers are less likely than millennials to leave a job for one offering flexible work schedules. Many older workers may be focused on winding down their careers in preparation for retirement, whereas younger workers are still building their careers and looking for the next opportunity. Employers will need to look at workers at their various life stages to determine what kinds of benefits and perks they might find the most beneficial.
At the same time, flexible work options appear to be highly desirable to workers across generational lines. Spherion Staffing Services' "2018 Emerging Workforce Study" found that as many as 41% of respondents said they would accept only jobs offering flexible work options. As such, employers offering flexible scheduling and options for remote work will likely have an edge in the tight labor market's talent wars by attracting quality candidates and retaining valued workers.