New LinkedIn data finds that millennials are job hopping more frequently: Workers graduating between 2006 and 2010 have switched jobs on average 2.85 times during their first five years out of school – almost twice as much as Gen Xers who graduated between 1986 and 1990 have (1.6 times during the same period). Because of this, the average 20-something job hopper faces stigmatization for not staying at one job long enough. However, the millennial generation will soon be the primary workforce leaders, so the true concern should be: how do employers do a better job at attracting and retaining millennials — who make up 34 percent of the current US workforce.
Understanding root causes of job hopping
It can be difficult to pinpoint why so many gen Y professionals are job hopping, and some like to say they have a notoriously short attention span, but one could argue that circumstances are a lot different then and now. Millennials entered the job market at its worst since the Great Depression, forcing some to take short-term jobs. As the economy recovered, the reasons for job hopping switched to the known benefits it brings, such as higher salary (though chasing money is only a piece of the puzzle), opportunities for career growth, ability to change locations quickly and employ multiple perspectives, as well as a way to find better cultural fit. Millennial employees also seem to care more about career exploration than climbing the traditional ladder.
From my perspective as a millennial, technology and the Internet made information about nearly everything so easily accessible. There are more and more solutions to a single problem. I’m no longer limited to networking online through Facebook but also via Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat. If I need to get to a place, my own car and public transportation aren’t my only choices anymore. I can call an Uber, Lyft or even ask strangers online to carpool with me. Just like how the Internet has revolutionized the news and TV industry, the job market is changing as well. I yearn to be a part of something bigger, and more fulfilling than just the job. If my dream is to travel the world, I’d opt for a freelance job and work virtually, for anyone who needs my skillset and knowledge, from anywhere I want.
Leverage Employer Branding to Attract More Gen Y-ers
For employers, these changes mean you have to find ways to cultivate an unforgettable employer brand and get your culture and mission out there. Millennials care about authenticity. Empower your individual employees and interns to be brand ambassadors. Get them talking about their roles and day-to-day responsibilities. Ask them “Why do you come to work every day?” or “How are you fulfilled by the work here?” and share the responses on your career or culture page, through videos, blogs, Glassdoor, social media, and other places millennial employees and job seekers visit on a regular basis. Harness the power of social media. With the impressive amount of millennials active on at least one social networking site, talking about your culture and company happenings on ALL social media platforms, even Snapchat (speaking of which, WilsonHCG is now on Snapchat!), can guarantee getting your employer branding messages heard. Campaigns like our very own #WilsonHCGLife can help nurture culture materials and promote authentic employer brand on a daily basis. Last but not least, building a successful internship program, or university recruitment strategy by partnering with local universities and attending on-campus events, can help connect your brand with millennial job seekers as well.
Build a Culture That Engages Millennials
While employer branding makes your company stand out to millennial job seekers, the fact that they are statically more likely to jump ship has employers worried about retaining them. The only solution to reducing millennial employee turnover rate is to build an organizational culture that actually makes them want to stay! Do you provide internal mobility opportunities? Is there room for them to grow their role? How is the work-life balance? Do you have any corporate social responsibility initiatives to engage employees? Is working virtually allowed? Those are some of the questions to ask yourself when it comes to company culture.
Big companies like Coca-Cola and Visa have implemented a relaxed office dress code, and E&Y designed programs to send employees overseas for a few months. Others are offering awesome work perks that lure in millennial talent. I’m not suggesting you to adopt ALL of them – because they may not fit with your company DNA – but discuss this topic openly with your young job prospects and employees, find out what they want and make it happen before skilled millennial talent starts walking out of your door!