Next Generation: The average young worker has six jobs in eight years

Next Generation: The average young worker has six jobs in eight years

Next Generation: The average young worker has six jobs in eight years

If you were suspecting that the youngest portion of your workforce is leaving sooner than other sections, you’re probably right. An analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for Americans aged 18-26, more than half of their jobs last less than one year. Only about one in 10 jobs for that age group lasted two years or more – and the average number of jobs held was more than six.

And don’t think they’ll grow out of their job-hopping ways: there’s been a permanent shift in expectations for most millennials, says researcher Josh Bersin of Deloitte Consulting.

“Twenty-first century employees have radically different expectations about work than those of previous generations,” he says. “Today, people want to work for organizations that continually invest in developing their skills, thereby enabling them to stay relevant in the ever-changing workforce. They also want balance, passion, and purpose in their jobs.”

Evidently, many employers have failed to give young workers that balance and purpose – and it seems they know it, given that 40% of employers told Bersin their organization is weak when it comes to helping their employees achieve work-life balance.

Washington State University professor Dogan Gursoy pointed to cultural differences between generations as one cause for high millennial turnover, particularly in low-wage occupations. “Boomers live to work, while millennials work to live,” he says. “Boomers are willing to wait their turn for promotions and rewards, and they are very loyal.”

“On the other hand, younger generations want immediate recognition through title, praise, promotion and pay,” he says. “They also want a life outside of work; they are not likely to sacrifice theirs for the company.”

Despite this, respondents to an Insurance Business America survey of young people in the insurance industry say training and other investments in their growth have made them more likely to stick around.

Read more in our "Next Generation" cover story here.