Flexibility trumps financial rewards

2013

The millennial generation – people in the 20s and 30s born between 1980 and 1995 - are less interested in how much a job pays than they are in having workplace flexibility, sensible work-life balance and the opportunity to gain experience working overseas, a new study has found.

Consultants PwC, in conjunction with the London Business School and the University of Southern California, explored the attitudes of over 44,000 workers, comparing the responses of millennials and non-millennials at the same stage of their careers.

They found that millennials are more likely to stay in a job if they feel supported and appreciated, are part of a cohesive team and have greater flexibility over where and how much they work. This contrasts with the non-millennial generation, who place greater importance on pay and development opportunities.

Almost four out of 10 (37 per cent) of millennials would also welcome the opportunity to go on a global assignment

Flexibility is seen as a key priority for both generations of workers, with one in five (21 per cent) of women and almost one in seven men (15 per cent) saying they would give up some of their pay and delay a promotion in exchange for more workplace flexibility.

However, unlike past generations who were willing to work beyond their contracted hours in the hope of rising to higher-paying positions later on, millennials are largely unwilling to give up a good work/life balance. Despite, though, some seven out of 10 millennials and almost two thirds (63 per cent) of non-millennials stiull say that their work significantly interferes with their personal lives.

"Millennials want more from their jobs than just financial reward," said Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC. "A strong and supportive team, flexibility and work/life balance are far more likely to keep this generation motivated at work and many would be willing to forgo pay rises and promotions for greater flexibility."

Millennials view work as a thing, rather than a place, she added, so companies will need to free themselves from the traditional nine to five mentality if they want to attract and retain this generation of workers.

"The Millennial generation will make up 50 per cent of the workforce by 2020 so it is vital employers understand what motivates this generation. Many companies will have to completely re-think how they attract and reward their workers, or risking losing the best talent to companies which adapt to meet their needs."