Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials – also known as Generation Y – currently dominate today’s workforce. As previous generations are retiring, millennial employees are taking on more responsibilities and assuming senior roles. This generation showcases a diverse set of values that are often compared to those of the preceding generation.

Millennials are no longer the future, they are the present. Employers need to get a full understanding of what millennials need and look forward to when it comes to work. For example:

  • At 72 million, millennials are the largest generation group in the U.S.
  • 3 out of 4 millennials work over 40 hours a week.
  • 25% of millennials are job-hoppers.
  • More than half of working millennials expect to work past retirement age.
  • 47% of millennial employees are satisfied with their compensation.
  • Overall compensation is the top priority for millennials.

In this article, we share some important statistics about millennials in the workplace that you need to know.

Table of Contents

Demographics of Millennial Workers

Regarded as a powerful generation, here are some interesting facts pertaining to the millennial population.

Millennials make up the largest generation group in the U.S. at 72 million.

In 2019, millennials surpassed the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) as the largest group and are expected to continue to be a major group of the society in the coming years.

15 million millennials have student loan debt.

One-third of millennials have student loans and carry an average of about $39k per borrower. They are 3rd in terms of the highest student loans, after baby boomers and Generation X.

39% of millennials have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Nearly 2 out of 5 millennials aged 25 to 37 hold an undergraduate degree or higher. They are considered to be better educated than baby boomers when they were at the same age, where only 25% completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Millennials are the most curious group.

Their curiosity scores ranked the highest at 72% compared to other generations. They are highly motivated to seek knowledge to fill gaps leading to more innovation, fewer bad decisions, and stronger performance.

More than half of millennials are single.

Contrary to society’s expectations, millennials are not in a rush to marry and in 2019, only 44% of their population were married. One of the main reasons they prefer to stay single is to focus on their careers.

Millennials in the Workforce & Employment Statistics

In recent years, millennials have become a hot topic with their considerable impact. As the largest segment in the workforce, they have disrupted the labor force more than any other generations before them.

38 million millennials are expected to be in the labor force by 2029.

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an almost 4.5 million increase in the millennial labor force size over the decade, outnumbering all other generations.

73% of millennials are working full-time jobs.

More than half of the working millennials render over 40 hours a week, and almost a quarter are working beyond 50 hours in a week. Also, about 26% of millennials have at least two paying jobs.

10% of millennials are doing part-time jobs.

This percentage of the population is considered underemployed, and they are keen on finding full-time jobs. 7% of millennials are unemployed.

12% are doing jobs that do not require a degree.

Some of these millennials are working in a position where a college degree is not a requisite, while others are self-employed.

72% of millennial females are employed.

Only about a quarter of women today are not in the labor force, and the share of millennial women having college degrees is higher compared to previous generations at the same age.

32% use social media when searching for a job.

Considered digital natives, millennials overlook newspapers and other traditional forms of information sources and are fixated on social media. They easily navigate cyberspace and find professional connections virtually.

35% of younger millennials are not fully confident.

Fearless as they may seem on social media, millennials aged 29 and below are less confident than their older peers, and feel they are not fully prepared when it comes to job hunting and interviews.

Over 50% of millennials globally expect to work past the age of 65.

Most millennials are anticipating working longer than previous generations, and 27% are even expecting to work over the age of 70.

Millennial Employee Retention and Turnover Rate Statistics

Millennials have a reputation for job-hopping, as they move freely from one employer to another compared to other generations. The result is a higher turnover rate and lower staff retention.

One in four millennials is a job hopper.

Millennial employees are the most open when it comes to new job opportunities and are regularly searching for new positions. They look for continuous learning opportunities and see different jobs as stepping stones for their career development.

In the U.S., millennial turnover costs are estimated at $30.5 billion yearly.

The financial impact of this high turnover rate is an important factor for businesses to consider. Reasons for job-hopping vary, but the more common ones include engagement at the workplace, progression, and salary.

62% of millennials are positive about immediate job prospects.

Almost two-thirds of millennial employees are confident that if they lose their current job, they could land an equally good or better job in three months.

53% of millennial employees would quit if they were asked to give up remote work.

The remote work set-up has improved millennials’ work-life balance, and that’s not something they’re going to give up easily. While this sentiment was echoed by 40% of workers overall, millennials were the only generation where more than half expressed that they would sooner leave their job than go back to the office full-time. 

16% place a high value on technology in their workplace.

As they are exceptionally comfortable when it comes to technology, one in six millennials has left a job when proper technology was not provided by their employer.

45% of millennials have experienced burnout.

Nearly half are stressed most of the time and feel burnt out due to workload pressure and the demands of their work environments.

Millennial Job Satisfaction Statistics

Millennial employees thrive in challenging and pleasant working environments. They want to be under management that provides mentorship and guidance.

More than half of American millennials find fulfillment in their jobs.

A 2021 survey showed that 60% of millennials in the US are satisfied with their jobs and find meaning in what they do.

65% stay in their job beyond 5 years when they feel empowered.

Millennials who are more connected with their company and are able to drive change stay loyal. A more inclusive workspace brings them a sense of belonging.

72% of millennials are engaged when they have performance goals.

Millennials want their managers to set well-defined expectations and goals to have a clear path to success. Managers need to provide guidance on what’s expected of them and how their performance aligns with the overall organizational objectives.

50% of millennial employees have workplace angst.

They undervalue their own talents and skills and, compared to older generations, are more concerned about whether they have the capacity to succeed in the workplace.

Only 47% of millennials are happy with their salaries.

With the high cost of living, millennial employees live paycheck to paycheck, which causes them financial anxiety. Only about 29% feel they are financially secure.

What Millennials Want at Work 

Millennials are determined, and they are ready to quit if their needs are not met. Their workplace requirements include stability, growth, and flexibility among other things.

Four in five millennials want to learn more.

When considering a job, about 80% of millennials want to be in a place where they can learn, grow, and develop new skills.

61% of millennials worked remotely during the pandemic, and 55% plan to continue remote work in the post-pandemic new normal.

Remote work is a huge factor for millennial employees as it allows them to feel more prepared when it comes to work and provides flexibility.

Communication in the workplace is important to 62% of millennials.

Millennials, as a highly empathetic and connected generation, value employers who are approachable and responsive. Those who can talk to their managers not only about work-related matters but also personal issues tend to stay with their current company for at least a year.

39% of millennials value work-life balance.

They are reluctant to sacrifice their personal lives for work and are choosing companies that let them integrate the two. They prefer employers that understand and invest in their overall well-being.

Purpose is critical for 36% of millennial employees.

If they misalign with their values or personal ethics, nearly two in five millennials have willingly turned down assignments or jobs.

Salary or financial benefit is important to 27% of millennials.

Pay also matters for millennial employees to stay at their current company. With their spending habits and student debts, they need a reliable and consistent income.

25% of millennials want an immediate promotion to stay.

Hungry for new challenges and with a strong passion for success, one in four millennial employees intend to stay with their present employer as long as they can be promoted or moved to another position in less than 12 months.

Millennials in the Workforce FAQs

35% of the American workforce are millennials, making them the largest working group in the U.S.

55% of millennial employees are disengaged, meaning they are not behaviorally and emotionally connected to their job and organization. There are also about 16% of millennials who are actively disengaged. These are the millennials that are not simply unhappy at work, but also publicly express their frustrations and dissatisfaction.

Because of working longer hours, many millennials start to “check out”, and become indifferent when it comes to work. A lot of them would rather not switch jobs immediately, but feel that their companies aren’t providing them compelling reasons to stay.

One of the most common complaints about working millennials is their supposed unrealistic expectations. Many employers find millennial employees demand higher salaries as well as a steady life outside of work. Younger millennials are also seen to be too idealistic and look for ‘too much’ meaning when it comes to their work.

Another subject that companies often notice is the ‘grass is always greener’ mentality that many millennials have. Millennials are believed to have a mindset that there is always a better position within the company or in a different organization that will offer them more pay.

Last but not least, is their attachment to technology. Social media use has increased drastically over the past few years, and millennials are regularly glued to their smart devices. This raises a concern as employers want an undivided focus in the workplace.

While often misunderstood, millennials possess many positive attributes that make them good employees.

Aside from being a well-educated generation, millennials are ambitious and have strong work ethics. They are competitive, not just with other age groups but also with artificial intelligence and technologies that are starting to automate many jobs or tasks.

Millennials have a stronger understanding of technological avenues, software, and applications having grown up in the advent of modern technology. This is beneficial to employers as technical knowledge is key in surviving today’s aggressive work landscape. Millennials are also creative and bring fresh perspectives that can be valuable to any organization.

Open communication is essential when dealing with millennials in the workplace. There should be transparency and trust between both sides. Millennials appreciate honesty and they want to be heard. Constructive criticism and feedback are important for them in order to develop their careers further.

Beyond an open work environment, companies must also ensure to constantly pique this group’s interests. This group thrives on excitement and passion and they grew up in a fast-paced society where people excel and are rewarded for their hard work. Millennials are self-assured and have a can-do attitude. Employers must not hold them back and should try to give them bigger and more meaningful projects for them to shine at a higher level.

Millennials want their jobs to have purpose and meaning, so it’s important to have a strong company culture. They can go above and beyond as long as they feel passionate about what they do. Career progression that comes with competitive compensation is necessary for millennial employees as they want to advance as quickly as possible, gain expertise, and feel a sense of financial stability at the same time.

This generation wants to achieve several things at once and would not let better opportunities pass them by. Creating a balanced work-life environment would urge them to stay longer in an organization, as it will allow them to have more experience in both their personal and professional lives.

Employers should constantly provide leadership and direction. Millennials want to know if they’re on the right track, and giving regular feedback helps them. Recognizing their work efforts is also paramount to them, as millennials crave appreciation. They want to be acknowledged for their skills and complimented on their hard work. This will encourage them to be fully committed when doing their job.

As their presence continues to rise, companies must adjust their ways to attract millennial talents. Although millennials are often viewed as a complex generation, they generally want the same benefits as the older generations. A company that goes beyond the financials and invests in its employees will certainly catch the attention of a millennial job hunter.

Millennials want stability, professional growth, and a flexible work setup. They also place great significance on the people they work with and want to be able to have comfortable conversations. Millennial employees need to feel personally connected with an employer to stick around, so it’s important for them to have a platform for their voice.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with millennials can be challenging. They are heavily driving the workplace landscape by bringing a culture of change. Understanding who they are and what they bring to the table benefits both the employee and employer. 

Smart, savvy, and digitally-driven, millennials are powering a workplace revolution. Considering that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials, a challenge is posed to companies to rethink their strategies and how they operate to leverage the tremendous power of the millennial generation in their organization.

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Eric Moore

Eric Moore is the owner of Overheard on Conference Calls. As a corporate veteran, he's seen and heard it all. And when it comes to office chairs, desks, and accessories, he's used it all. As a former office furniture sales rep, he bring his expertise to provide readers the knowledge to choose the right products for them.