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Millennials Say Job-Hopping Helps Their Careers

image for Pablo Calvog / Shutterstock
Pablo Calvog / Shutterstock
  • Since graduating high school or college, 40% of respondents reported having four or more jobs.
  • Though they've switched jobs frequently, only 10% of millennial respondents said they felt underemployed.
  • When it comes to promotions, 54% of respondents said they understood the need to "pay their dues" before earning a promotion.

For many years, having a career meant finding an employer and sticking with it until retirement. However, according to a new survey, millennials are likely to change jobs frequently, and they see that as a necessary step for career advancement.

The 2019 Millennial Manager Workplace Survey, released earlier today by Akumina, reports that 75% of millennials believe that constantly changing jobs advanced their careers. The survey's data is based on information provided by more than 1,000 mid- to executive-level managers between the ages of 18 and 36 years old. The company conducted the survey to "gain insights into the realities of millennial managers' career journeys, workplace needs and technology preferences."

"Millennials are both the largest demographic in the workforce and the most misunderstood," said David Maffei, president of Akumina. "Our data shows many of the negative stereotypes associated with this group either lack context or are outright wrong."

One of those stereotypes, officials said, was that millennials are "flippant towards work and virtually unmanageable." While 40% of respondents said they have had four or more jobs since graduating high school or college, researchers found that only 10% said they felt underemployed.

To address millennials' tendency to move between jobs, Maffei said businesses must learn to adapt. "Businesses need to avoid operating under outdated notions and instead align their workplaces to the psychological and technological needs of millennials who are taking on senior roles and driving business success." 

For older generations, the adoption of new technology and concepts can sometimes be daunting, but millennials have little difficulty adapting. According to the survey, millennial managers are most likely to embrace new tools to boost productivity. Collaboration and communication were the second and third biggest workplace problems respondents said tech can tackle.

Among the tools available to them, millennials said email is their preferred tool for productivity. Email was nearly five times more popular than Slack. While considered the second-best productivity tool by millennial managers, Slack was also the second least-preferred productivity tool. Video conferencing was the least-preferred tool for productivity.

Most respondents (62%) said they didn't feel their workplace used too many tech tools. Officials said that number was in stark contrast with other workplace reports that suggest technology hampers production.

One of the major misconceptions about millennials is that they want everything handed to them. The concept of a participation trophy is forever linked to this generation. But according to the survey, most respondents said they understood the need to grow into a leadership role.

When it came to getting a promotion, 54% of respondents said they understood "paying their dues and waiting their turn." Additionally, 64% said they felt it was reasonable for someone to stay in a role for up to two years before trying to move up.

Even with their eyes on higher positions, 42% of respondents said they felt they had "a lot to learn" and were thankful for the opportunities their jobs were giving them.

Once in a managerial position, researchers said, millennials offer more personal feedback and try to forge connections through their managerial style. Those stylistic decisions largely stem from what they want from their managers, officials said.

According to the survey, 47% of millennial managers prefer to personally train their employees on a one-on-one basis and provide a personalized path for advancement. Furthermore, 33% said they shared feedback daily, while 41% did so weekly. Millennial managers said they considered office hours with their company's CEO a top workplace perk, rather than recreational amenities.

Respondents also said that millennials wanted to be recognized for their work. Researchers said 92% of respondents said they felt it was "important" or "very important" that they were recognized for their accomplishments by their colleagues.

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining Business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. Currently, he is responsible for reviewing tax software and online fax services. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.