The Millennial Turnover Myth: Why Young Talent Really Decides to Leave

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My company is obsessed with Millennials, and for good reason.

The traditional old guard of global industry is rapidly changing – and the youngest ranges of the workforce are primarily responsible for the disruption.

With the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company down to 15 years, we are all actively investing resources to attract a new generation of talent that will keep our companies viable.

Think about how to lead younger workers

But there’s a difference between investing resources and truly understanding how to keep young talent engaged. This breakdown occurs because our collective assumptions of Millennials – high turnover rates, higher social responsibility and a constant need for approval – are largely based in myth, not reality. We uncovered many of these myths through a study we conducted with Oxford Economics.

If you don’t believe me, take this quiz on Millennials’ workplace values and see how you score.

The reality is that most companies are placing a higher priority on hiring Millennials, but they’re not changing their leadership styles to maximize their impact. People might care more than they used to, but many companies still don’t get it.

If you really want to make your workplace attractive for young talent in the long-term, you need to think critically about how to lead your younger workers to be more engaged and productive. Here are three reasons young talent leaves your company, and how you can change your leadership style accordingly.

Do you provide an opportunity to make an impact?

A common myth around Millennials is that they need a career that gives them personal meaning. The reality is that all generations, Gen Y included, place a far greater value on long-term learning and growth.

Fostering growth comes by giving employees an opportunity to impact the broader workings of a company, to instill a sense of collective work for a common goal.

This starts with the very first interaction. Instead of a traditional interview with a few executives, smart companies are letting prospective hires experience the workplace for the day. Have them sit in on a staff meeting, or a brainstorming session, to give them a perspective on how they can make a broad business impact from day one.

This visibility must extend through a series of learning and growth experiences. After you’ve educated and trained on what a successful presentation looks like, let a younger employee run a meeting, or present to your boss. Train your employees for a risky situation and allow them to grow through a challenging situation. The end result is a true learning process that all employees can remember and value.

Translate long-term impact to short-term goals and objectives

One common perception of Millennials that proved true in our study was their constant need for feedback – nearly 20 percent more than non-Millennials, according to our study. So while company leaders can provide growth opportunities, the breakdown occurs in setting manageable goals and objectives, then communicating feedback accordingly.

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Many leaders make the mistake of setting objectives that are so far in the future, people cannot tell if they are making progress. The feedback must match those objectives – otherwise, it can be challenging for an employee to determine how well they’re performing.

The need to establish a genuine, authentic connection

Millennials value leaders that are especially engaging and communicate openly. But open communication and feedback is only as strong as the trust your employees have in your advice.

One way to establish an authentic connection is to share a learning experience of your own. Many leaders become trapped in the feeling that they always need to be right.

But often times, in office environments with many experienced and smart people, being right all the time is almost impossible. Sharing a bit of honesty, authenticity and admitting a mistake can be the best way to establish a sense of trust and create an open culture where people feel empowered to speak up and share their own challenges.

At SAP, we’ve also created a structure where both Millennials and older generations can learn from each other. Establishing reverse mentoring programs can allow for a shared dialogue around areas where another group is the subject matter experts. It can create a more relaxing rapport and a relationship of mutual value, which can ultimately empower younger employees and instill a feeling of belonging in the workplace.

Don’t believe the stereotypes

It’s easy to blame a departure on the stereotype of Millennial job turnover. But doing so is not only inaccurate, it hides broader leadership problems that could turn highly costly if left unsolved.

Establishing open, visionary and authentic communication isn’t just appropriate for Millennials – it’s valuable for all employees.

The choice is clear: Change processes that develop young talent or quickly become irrelevant. It’s time to stop falling back on stereotypes and invest in the talent that will dictate your future success.

David Swanson SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is currently the executive vice president of human resources for SAP, partnering with the company’s sales organization to showcase how SAP is using SAP HR. He has over 25 years of HR management experience and most recently was the Chief HR Officer for North America, where he lead SAP's HR Business Partner team. In addition, David has held executive human resources roles at a number of technology companies supporting global development, marketing, sales and service organizations. He's also a frequent panelist and keynote speaker on the Future of HR, focusing on how HR can make an impact in the business through analytics and big dat , not just activity reporting.


76 Comments on “The Millennial Turnover Myth: Why Young Talent Really Decides to Leave

  1. As someone who is approaching their 50’s and has been in the workforce for over 30 years I find a lot of value in the approaches that this study suggests. This is not just a Millennial issue! The reason why non-Millennials tend to stick with jobs longer is that they have families to support and house payments to make but that doesn’t mean we don’t want the same things in a job that a Millennial wants. Everyone wants to be valued and feel that they are contributing to the success of the company, not just the CEOs paycheck. No matter the age of the employee we want to see opportunities to advance through the ranks instead of just seeing outside people always being brought in. Until companies start to truly invest in their employees again with on the job training, education reimbursement, and mentoring programs turnover will continue at the current rates as people keep looking for greener grass.

  2. This is a lie. The reason all my friends leave their companies are because corporate America gives horrible raises. Assuming 2-3% raises, these raises don’t keep up with experienced gained during the early years of a career. The only way to get proper compensation is to get hired at a new company at the mid level position, because 2-3% raises will take decades to get to the same level of pay.

    People need to stop imagining it is a lack of anything other than fair compensation. Only a small percentage are leaving do to lack of engagement or these other reasons. And these same people leaving for lack of engagment were probably under compensated too.

    1. ding ding ding. Too bad you don’t get a prize for being 100% spot on. The number 1 reason I or anyone leaves a company is because another company will pay me more and that’s the only way I can get promoted.

    2. You are right about measly 3% raises. But PLEASE stop calling it Corporate “America”. In America you are innocent until proven guilty. In the Corporate World they can get rid of you for any reason including FALSE allegations with ZERO American rights applied to you.

  3. I get so tired of these HR people spouting off their nonsense. As if creating an environment where employees can learn and grow and develop a career is some sort of profound concept. The way it’s supposed to be is that new hires start out of college, work a ton of hours to get experience and learn the ropes from more experienced employees. And eventually move up to more senior roles, possibly into management. That doesn’t happen anymore. Companies offer little to no training. There is little to no advancement and most actual leadership roles end up getting hired from the outside. Heck, we don’t even call them employees anymore. Now we call them “resources”.
    And once you actually pass a dozen rounds of interviews as if every crap office job were a position in the NASA astronaut program, you have several years of working 100 hours a week to meet unrealistic deadlines under the constant threat of arbitrarily being fired because your boss doesn’t like you. Meanwhile a permanently entrenched class of CEOs and executives continue to make huge salaries.

    1. The progressive vision for us all– from Mussolini to Common Core! (Buffett, Bill Gates, etc. donate heavily to the DNC and advocate left/liberal policies hoping to be the arbitrary elite of this “utopia” that doesn’t work already.) If this is so great, why does it stink so much?

      1. Yeah, I have no idea what this has to do with what I posted. Maybe it “stinks” because you aren’t educated and watch too much Fox News?

  4. Number one reason is this. If I feel my pay is not commensurate to my work and I can find a company who will pay me more I will leave. All those other things are fluff and I will put up with them if I’m paid enough.

  5. ORRRR is it that you older generation screwed up housing and the cost of living so much that any starting wages can NEVER pay for putting a roof over our heads. We can NOT pay $2600 a month for a 400k home making 45k a year or even 80k a year. Come on!!

    1. 80K a year and you are supposed to get married, so that makes $160K a year. THEN you can afford that 400k home.

      1. Marriage isn’t a business/partnership to earn money in order to live. Besides who is going to take care of my twins… day care? That cost almost 40k a year alone. As a real man I will never rely on my wife’s income in order to live. That’s just the problem these days…. the standard of living is gone. Might as well live with roommates too… or we can live 3 families in to one house?!?! I’m sure the real estate schemers would love that.

    2. I have an idea. Don’t buy a $400k home. What the older generation screwed up is raisng pampered little brats who believe they are entitled to a $400k home.

      1. 400K homes are not available in Silicon Valley. The fixer-upper dumps go for 700K.

        Not everyone is talking about living in Podunk, Kansas where you can actually buy a cheap house but can’t afford the mortgage because the jobs are not there.

  6. Ok. You HR types are clueless and in denial. I’ll make this very simple. If you pay me 30k because you want to get a cheap hire and save money, I will be gone as fast as humanly possible. THIS IS WHY MILLENNIALS HAVE HIGH TURNOVER. I’m sorry, but you will not find a way around it. You need to pay me legitimately, or face constant change. It’s not rocket science. Please stop finding other reasons for why people don’t want to work for you. Thanks.

    1. Dear Guest, You are being paid $30k because you have not demonstrated that you are worth more. You are compensated for what you have just done, not what you promise to do in the future.

      1. Dear Craig,

        You just proved Guest’s point. The notion of “If I work hard with a low salary, they will pay me more” is the biggest myth out there. Companies will gladly underpay, undervalue and especially under appreciate an employee who settles for the lowest salary possible.

        Good companies pay a salary comparable to the work expected, they do no start you at a bottom feeding amount and say “work harder, and we’ll see in a few years if you deserve more”. That type of mentality is exactly why companies cannot figure out why the best talent leaves as quickly as possible.

        if you bring in a new employee who works to the bone for you and is not paid the expected amount, you can kiss that worker goodbye for good. Meanwhile, you’ll still have your 20+ veterans, the majority who simply don’t care, won’t help, won’t teach and certainly will do everything they can to keep that higher salary while demonstrating they know nothing about the changes that are needed.

        “Guest 2”

        1. Exactly right, guests. My husband has been working at the same company for 15 years, been promoted numerous times, and now runs an entire regional department alone- and still only making 15,000 more than when he started. 15 YEARS. Because a cheap company is a cheap company, and as long as you let them screw you, they will. They don’t pay you based on what you are worth; they pay you based on how little you will LET them pay you. My husband is finally realizing this and searching for another job. They will have a very hard time replacing them because he is integral to every process of the company at this point, but his manager (he himself is management-level, but they refuse to give him that title because they would HAVE to pay him more) has a history of doing this. Another employee once left for $15 more a week- her manager begged this guy to pay her, but he said flat out “I will never let an employee manipulate me that way, into paying them more just to keep them.” And THAT is why you are losing millennials! YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

          1. Seniority is such an outdated concept. The length of your tenure should not dictate what you get paid. It’s the quality of the work you do and the things you can do that are important. Not how long you’ve been there doing the same thing.

        2. No company in the world, including my own, is going to pay you more just because. Why don’t you try holding your breath until you turn blue-I’ve heard that works to get your way.

          1. You’re right, Craig, no company in the world is going to pay you more just because. That’s why Millenials leave when the company refuses to pay more when there is an obvious reason to. But hey, to each their own. Millenials are leaving and the ones in the US are seeing how Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom do things and they certainly look at guys like you and go “WTF is your problem?”

          2. Sounds like a great place to work! I bet you have a ton of young, dedicated talent that totally wouldn’t leave…./s

          3. Our small company employs eight, including me and my wife, the evil Baby Boomers. We are hiring. Five of our employees are Millennials, If being under 35 fits the criteria. 3 of them are under 25. They all work very hard, plan for their futures and have yet to complain much. Have any of my employees ever left-of course they have. Life happens. Parents become ill, spouses get promotions and they move away, and some get fired. Most of them have remained friends for life. We are incorporated, so they all have to suffer through working for a “corporation”. They are all college educated, get highly and fairly compensated, including full disability, fully paid health insurance, and a matching retirement plan. So, maybe…., if, like my employees, a bit more energy was focused being better at what you do and getting ahead instead of complaining about not getting ahead, everyone could do a little better.

      2. I can say this is not true. I am a millennial (turning 30 this year) and I am an IT professional. In my past 3 jobs it came down to pay 100%. And its not that they were right out of collage/crap call center jobs they were experienced Level 2 / Level 3 Tech support jobs.

        In my last job when I started I was 1 of 6 techs fielding calls (level 2-3) I was the youngest of the group and getting paid the least. After 3 years with the company I was 1 of 3 techs (they got rid of 1 tech) who was the least qualified however got paid almost double what I got paid because of age and time with the company (5 years), moved 1 tech to an different position in the company. Gave 1 tech a the IT Management position (which I was more qualified for but he was our #2 tech in calls so he did have merit to get the position) however my age again made me get passed over. So I decided to look for something different. And left getting paid another 10k doing less work.

        I’m all for proving yourself but when your the lead tech (most calls taken and solved) over 5 others, with great reviews, lose half of your staff (freeing up larger sums of money to be able to distribute in the IT budget). And when raise time comes around act like your doing me a favor by handing me another $600-700 a year for doing double the work because “company policy” only allows for up to 3% raise a year no wonder you’ll be looking for another job. Especially if you are working around someone who you know gets paid another 9-10k for the same job title (and is worse at it)

      3. My husband started out at over $100,000. That was when he didn’t have any work experience and hadn’t demonstrated his worth to his company……. Guess that shoots your argument out of the water.

        1. Also it depends where you live. 100k is not a lot of money in LA or New York but would be substantial down south or in the Midwest (where I am from). Its not the amount of money the point is young people move from job to job frequently because when you start out you get paid a lower salary (also as you gain experience get more and more responsibility put on you) , the only way you can add another 10-20+% is to go work for someone else.

          As I said it was this company’s policy to only allow 3% (which is common) but when you only make 30-35k and you get the maximum raise of 3% (900-1,000 a year) it will take you 8-9 years to get to 40k.

          Using myself as an example if I was still at my first (decent IT position) and not have quit I would have been working there 7 years with all that time at the Max raise I would have been making about 15k less than I do right now. And it would have taken me 19 years to be at my current salary.

          Say I worked at a different company that allowed 5% Max raise (doesn’t mean that you would get it) but if I did I would be making 12k less then I do now and would take 12 years to make my current salary.

    2. Exactly! It’s been a struggle for me to get past the $40,000 mark and I’ve been in the work force for almost 10 years! How do companies expect a Single person (not to mention a family) to support themselves making between $13 – $16 an hour? It’s an impossibility! Especially in the Washington, D.C. area where an 1 bedroom is no less than 1,200/month on average, and that’s me being modest, that’s if you don’t want to live in the “hood”. So I will continue to move on until I find a company that will fairly compensate me for the work I’m expected to produce as well as cost of living.

  7. I agree with what everyone has said, but let’s take it one step further. The younger generation (including myself) does not feel a connection or loyalty in working for one company for a long period of time, not because of any of these things in the article. For me it is because I know that no matter how good my performance is, I know that corporations will drop you in a moments notice if their stock price goes down a 1/2%. They feel no loyalty towards me, therefore I feel no loyalty to them. They take the human element out of decision making, therefore I take the loyalty element out of mine. The business world has clearly become black and white with no empathy towards the common worker. They can blame it on themselves

    1. Believe it or not, every job in the US is not with a “corporation”. If you feel you know how to better run a company than the “corporations” do, start your own company.

      1. And they do Craig, the best talent eventually find their way out of a bad situation and make the best situation possible. The majority of people however, do not have that option due to various factors. It’s not as simple as running out there and making your own company, you know this.

        1. Guest2, it’s not easy to start a company that’s why so few people do it and even fewer succeed. Earning money isn’t easy, however that’s no excuse not to try. If people keep on giving themselves excuses then they deserve to be where they are. I believe what main point that Craig is making is that each person needs to take responsibility for their actions and their own lives. Don’t blame someone else for failures. If a person isn’t happy with where they are in life, they only have to look in the mirror and ask themselves what they have done to try and make their life better.

  8. Lots of whining about “corporations”. Don’t work for them. Start your own company if you think you can do it better. It’s easy to incorporate. Not so easy to have a better idea , a better product, and a better attitude about both. Blame your parents-there’s a fresh idea. Blame “the Man”. Another fresh idea. Make your own gravy train. NO ONE else is going to do it for you. Nothing new about that either.

    1. Craig I agree with you. It seems that now a days more and more people seems to be blaming everyone else for their troubles rather than looking at what they’ve done to land them where they are now. Many people should ask themselves this question, how dedicated are you to becoming successful? If anyone said 100% or more, than I ask you are you willing to work 80 to 100 or more hours per week to be successful? Are you willing to sacrifice friends for your success? Are you willing to eat only cereal in order to use what money you have to make your dream a reality? Are you willing to drive a 20 year old car or shop at thrift stores to save money in order to reinvest your money into your dream? If you are willing to do all of this then do it and I’m sure you will succeed! However I’m very sure that 99.9% of millennials are not willing to make these sacrifices.

      1. The only way a person can change the world or their world is through their own actions. All the people busting my chops expect ‘Corporations” to do this and do that and take care of them. And then they are frustrated and angry about the result. On well.

        1. Let’s see. We have become 10 times more efficient at home building and production. There are many new and cheaper types of home building available. And, homes are now 10 times more expensive making families work two full time jobs and then some just to stay a float.

          The government has created a disconnect between the real value of things. High production and efficiency should bring down prices; not push them 10 times higher.

          Couples are having way less kids at the same time. It’s not demographics. There is more ability to supply homes than ever before and less demand increase (%).

          Governments have made efforts to prop up home prices. Property tax is based on property value. Older generations feel rich seeing huge value in their home; most people’s single biggest saving/investment.

          Could government fix the problem. While it would be extremely difficult in congested areas like New York to change land prices, there are millions of unused acres of land that could attract good jobs and inexpensive and nice housing.

          It’s already going on to some extent. You can move to the country and get a cheaper house, but finding a close job may be difficult.

          Government just hasn’t done that good of a job in this area. It’s unpopular to do the right thing. Everyone wants their home values high. People are content with their good jobs they got 30 years ago.

          Are the Millenials getting screwed? Sure! But they also have lower incomes and a smaller percentage of the population. They simply don’t have that much say in our economy.

          Our economics system has not historically rewarded the weak and poor and small numbers. It’s not fair, but it feels nicer to just tell the Millenials to work harder and stop whining.

      1. It is a point worth considering. Think about how much debt you’d incur if you attended University. A fraction of that amount would be enough to start a business that could give you a better income and a far more enjoyable working life.

  9. Don’t kid yourselves. It’s Money. Companies seem to think a kid with a grad degree is going to pay student loans, fund their own 401k and buy a house on 50k a year. Not going to happen.

  10. As a millennial in management, I’ve seen turnover come down to two main things, regardless of the person’s generation:

    1. They aren’t being paid adequately enough
    2. They’re not being given opportunities for advancement and/or development

    1. Number 2 is so true. I applied for a QA Supervisor job in a small lab within my company and they told me that the job was mine if I wanted it (their exact words). Then, when I told them I wanted it, they changed the pay grade of the job and promoted the only other person that applied, because they already “lived in the area” and I “would get paid more” if I stayed in my current position. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the new experience so I could advance my career.

    2. 3. Clueless management putting obstacles in your way that make it much harder to do the job you are employed to do, then blaming you for slow progress

  11. It will always be 1979 for Baby Boomers, they got along on that 6 dollars an hour, you better learn to do it too instead of spending all that time on the Iphone!

  12. These comments are so true. I’m a millenial and I’ve been with my company since before I even graduated college. Tomorrow, I have a job interview with a different company? Why? Because after many denied promotions and chances to advance my career, and being told no, I’m going somewhere that will pay me for the amount of work they expect me to do. Older generations will say it’s because I didn’t work hard enough that I didn’t get promoted, but in all honestly, I’m the person that everyone relies on, even my supervisors, yet they refuse to promote me in places where people who are less qualified that me have been promoted. So instead of doing ALL the work in what is supposed to be a TEAM environment, I’m going to go work for a place where it’s laid out exactly what is expected of me, so I can meet and exceed those goals and be evaluated accordingly.

  13. Being a small business owner and someone that’s almost 40 I would say that some of you are right and some of you are dead wrong. First of all, the only time where you’ll be paid for future value is if you’ve proven yourself in the past and have a lot of experience doing what you do. Other than that you’ll be paid for what you’re experience is worth and for fresh college grads it’s usually very little if any. As for the cost of living, you can thank the politicians you’ve voted into office for over regulation, raising taxes, increasing the minimum wage and anything else that would create extra cost of running a business. If you didn’t vote, well that’s also your own fault.
    With that said however, in corporate America the only way to get a substantial increase in pay or promotion (This excludes the usual tech companies and/or startups) is to jump from company to company. It is true that if you say in a company, you’ll most likely just get an average of 5% raise per year and probably no promotion. While jumping to another company, you may see a 10% to 20% or more raise and a promotion.
    With that said, it is a free market, and the company will offer to pay you whatever they feel you’re worth, and on the same note you’re free to leave the company whenever you feel that you’re under valued in the company. Just stop whining about the low pay because if you’re able to get a higher paying job you wouldn’t be working for the low pay.

  14. I am a millennial and will be 27 this year, I believe the biggest reasons the millennials leave a company is 1) not enough compensation for a job well done, 2) not enough room for growth opportunity, 3) lack of appreciation.
    I personally do not believe there should be a minimum wage; you should have to work and sell yourself in your interviews and prove you can do a great job. EX: If a mom and pop company only wants to pay $8.00 an hour to an employee the service to their customers would be you get what you pay for. However if an “prospect employee” comes in and can prove they can do the job of 3 people they should be paid that. It is all about how you sell yourself, if you can’t show a company during an interview or during your place of employment what you are worth then you are not worth any more than what you are being paid. If you want more money show them you deserve and ask for more, if they chose not to offer more then find another company that will.

    1. At least underpaid millennials have the option of moving to another company for a significant raise. Older workers, because of the rampant age prejudice that makes finding a new job problematic, often have to tough it out at companies that are exploiting them every bit as badly as they exploit the young.

  15. 50% of all Millennials graduated in the bottom half of their class. Everyone doesn’t get a trophy or a ribbon ( or a big fat raise) just for attendance.

      1. I noticed he didnt answer the question, so it must be fake…and he’s a narcissist using gas lighting..making us look like the crazy ones…

        1. Really, you need me or anyone to explain that statistic? Really?
          Oh, by the way, Guest, I’m not implying anything. This is rather simple math, o say the least. Hardly “fake” or some kind trickery. Just looking for sharper tacks and not finding any.

    1. That statistic is bunk. You’re implying that 50% of 100% graduated in the bottom half. You could also say that 50% of them finished in the top half when 100% of your group is made up of the the same as your sample.

  16. Ok. I am a mechanical engineering major who is going into biomedical. The reason why I am not happy in the US is because the pay is cr@p. My grandfather went to a state university in the 70s, graduated and started off with $41,000…that is approx. $131,000 today. Inflation since then has been 452.5%……where is the pay increase to follow that?
    You hire us at $45,000 and then expect us to work 12 hours a day and then praise you for “hiring” us?? For what, hope of one day making $80,000? Honestly you threaten us by saying your going to outsource or bringin foregin talent.
    -Why would I want to be here?-Why would I want to work under people who have been at it for decades and have made little to no significance to the field?
    -Why shuold I let me drive, passion, and love for what I do die with you when you are paying me nothing and treating me like shi+?
    -Why do you put some random @sz HR person to talk to am (an engineering major) instead of putting a real engineer there to see what I am actually worth?

    Seriously, I know many new grads who are leaving the coutnry and sorry to say they dont want to come back. Lenova, Asus, Sony, etc are drawing in droves of talent because the respect and pay well while expecting us to work.

    Open up the check book, respect us, and give us rights and maybe we will come back to you

  17. I have to admit, based on the hundreds of professionals I have spoken with I am going to agree with it being about the math. I even wrote a blog post about this simple phenomenon not to long ago.

    Companies continue to bury their heads in the sand about this. Real median income is dropping because many companies are not willing to fairly compensate for the work people do. So the result is, and will remain to be, very high turnover. What is ironic, is what is costs to hire, train and bring up to speed a new employee when if you took just half that amount, and gave it to existing employees, you would find you are actually saving money and producing much happier employees.

  18. Recently I was given the opportunity to go to India to train the Indians how to do my job. I was passed up for it, but we already know whats going to happen here. My employer treats me as if I am lucky to have a job, and we didn’t get raises last year plus our workload has doubled. I am 49, and even though I can’t afford to retire, that’s exactly what I’m going to do when the layoffs come because frankly I have had enough of the games of today’s working world.

  19. It’s really not that complicated. Pay your employees market value, treat them reasonably, and they’ll stick around. It’s a matter of getting the money you need, without being miserable every day at work. Every year, I have to play this game with my manager, where I go on a few interviews, get a few offers, and call BS when he tries to give me a 2% raise. If he would just establish some credibility with me, I would gladly put in 50 hrs/week rather than putting in a strict 40 and spending all that time applying for jobs, using vacation days to interview, etc.

    Maybe this isn’t the case for all millenials, but it is well-known among people I know that this is now what is necessary to get the salary you deserve.

  20. I work at a company where i do the job of shop supervisor, project manager, driver, quality assurance, tester, fork lift driver, and I also do consulting for the clients. I am paid 15 dollars an hour. When I ask what my job title is I am told that they dont know what my title is. I have asked for a raise and the response was that it is their company policy is to pay employees as little as possible. I was not given a raise. My boss gave me 5 hours a week overtime as a supplement for the great job I do. When the owner found out it was taken away because it wasnt fair that I was the only one getting it. If companies wouldnt be laying off right now I would have found something else. I would very much love to start my own company but do not see how I will ever be able to raise the capital at this point.

  21. People act like different generations are different species. People, in aggregate, will be motivated by the stage of life they’re in, age-wise. It is true that the social contract gets gradually tweaked over time and, thus, there are new social sensibilities.

  22. Greed, and the one in control is always going to fuck the guy not in control, except me, I own a landscaping business and pay upawrds of 22/HR some days, you earn a percentage of the earnings! It’s called FAIR! people need to get paid a percentage of net profits and this would end the long struggle of companies screwing people, make a new law!!!!

  23. too many people in the boomer generation that want to keep their jobs and do not want to give out raises or better pay to younger employees. Young workers leave because they see a limited future with the current job or they are not getting paidf enough. People want millenials to “get out of our parents basements” and find our own place and get married, but dont wanna pay us the salary we need to live that kind of lifestyle. And new graduates of the 80s and 90 didnt graduate with nearly as much loan debt compared to now. Yet the quality of jobs and salary has gone down.

    1. It is always a CHOICE to study for a degree and take on the debt of tuition fees and student loans. No-one is obliged to do it. For many it is a bad choice.

  24. I think the point of the article is that they are assuming the company is already paying a competitive salary. This is obviously not always the case, and people of any age will leave if this is the case.

    When people are in an environment that compensates competitively for the local market, how do you retain your talent?

    As for people complaining about being unfairly compensated for their time and effort:
    If you are actually worth more, then you will find a company that will pay you adequately.

    When you take a job you sign a contract and agree on an amount of money to compensate you for your time, skills and experience. There is enough information on the internet (glassdoor for example), to get a good idea of your potential future earnings.

    If a company doesn’t compensate you adequately, but you are gaining skills and experience that will allow you to get paid more somewhere else after 2 years…. whats the problem? see it as an investment.

  25. So basically hire young people and make sure older people are ignored and placed out of work.

    Nice message.

    1. Yeah, pretty much… those old phoagies cost too dang much, inexperienced younguns’ll get it eventually (never mind how cost-ineffective that actually is).

  26. Best way to get a raise is to apply at a different company. I’ve actually doubled my salary [very low] TWICE by doing this. 3% raises aren’t going to do anything.

  27. I find this quite laughable so much focus on changing the workforce to a younger generation. While we forget one very important thing is that most of the times older workers are stuck in a negative pattern because of old incompetent management.
    If you regenerate your young workforce you got to get rid of old management with negative perceptions and old nano management ideas.
    I find it quite amazing that this articles seem to always blame the workforce.
    Incomplete and inaccurate the worst kind of workforce you can have is the one which
    is stuck with nano managers with old style negative ideas about their workforce.
    If you want to do things right sack your old managers while you at it !
    Bad apples (management ) also infects new appes (Young Talent).

  28. Modern day turnover happens because changing companies is the fastest way to move up in both responsibility and compensation. Companies show no loyalty to the employees so why do they expect it in return?

  29. Interesting thread . . . As a member of Generation Jones (younger part of Boomers) and the head of a team comprised exclusively of Millennials, I have come to appreciate the realities of my team compared to the silly myths first hand. These are GREAT employees as a group. They are motivated, skilled, curious, willing to work HARD to do a good job and they are conscientious and dedicated professionals. They came to my organization more skilled and educated than typical “entry-level” skilled candidates. Is managing my team challenging? Yes, of course it is. But managing bright, talented people ALWAYS is especially when they are all smarter than their manager. Lessons I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way: give them CLEAR unambiguous direction, give them the tools they need to do what you need them to do, pay them for their ACTUAL ability, hold them accountable for results, treat them like peers and partners, talk WITH them – not at them, provide clear and timely feedback, especially when they do great things (positive events are ALWAYS better teaching moments than mistakes!), and GET OUT OF THEIR WAY. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. What does all of this get me? Perfection? No. But I have a very high-performing team of engaged, energetic people doing remarkable things they can be proud of doing. Each of them is building a great career portfolio (and no, I DO NOT expect them to be with me in 10 years). And, we have a lot of fun doing our thing. And maybe the most surprising thing in all of this is that they have helped make me a better human being. I am a better listener, I delegate more effectively and more often, and I am more inclusive at work and away from work. So – you can teach an old dog new tricks, I just didn’t expect my younger employees to be such outstanding teachers. So, the message to the Millennials reading this – there ARE great jobs out there, and NEVER sell your self short. For the rest of us, there are some truly gifted potential employees out there, Go find them, nurture them, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

    1. Thanks Chris! As a millennial I appreciate when generations past acknowledge the truths about us. 🙂

  30. I like that this article mentioned impact and authenticity but it’s missing two big markers when it comes to retaining millennials. I recently wrote an article on retaining millennials and stats show that the two biggest factors are pay and commitment to employee investment – and as a millennial myself I couldn’t agree more. I speak for my peers when I say that I expect a job that pays well, has REAL opportunities to grow but also allows me to make an impact on the company. I think that generations before us also wanted the same things but millennials demand it, which I think is a long overdue change in the workplace.

    PWC also released a very extensive report on what millennials want out of the workplace which can be found on their website.

  31. Why the obsession with young workers? If a company is bothered that “young talent” does not stay very long, then how about recruiting some old talent instead. They can bring with them a longer perspective on what matters and what does not, a useful skepticism about current fads, and a lifetime of experience in the art of working with others.

    And why the assumption that people of the same age can be lumped together as having the same aspirations, problems, outlook? “Millenials this, Millenials that” … yet they are all individuals.

    You criticise stereotyping, yet are guilty of it yourself.

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