Most millennials and Gen Zs have never experienced a recession during their careers, and an economist says it's changing the way people act at work

Kirill Kolchanov/Strelka Institute/FlickrWorking from home is a given; retirement benefits, maybe not.
  • Labelled by Gallup as “the job-hopping generation,” millennials generally don’t plan on staying with their employer for more than a few years.
  • Gen Zs, the generational cohort born after 1997, will likely be just as restless.
  • Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain said younger workers feel comfortable asking for perks that older generations may not have.
  • But 20-something workers also tend to have low opinions of their employers.

Millennials have been dubbed “the job-hopping generation.” And it looks like Generation Zs, who were born after 1997, are poised to be just as restless.

Glassdoor chief economist AndrewChamberlain told Business Insider that younger millennials and Gen Zs across the board are demanding perks and benefits that older generations may not have felt bold enough to ask for – particularly more paid time off and work-from-home options.

“There are a lot of young millennial and Gen Z workers who have definitely never been through a recession,” Chamberlain said. “They started working since the end of the last recession. I think today priorities are changing in that people are becoming more choosy.”


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Andrew Chamberlain (4)Courtesy of GlassdoorGlassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain.

Workers who entered the job market in the mid-2010s have only experienced a remarkably strong job market. In October, unemployment reached the lowest levels since 1969. That’s pushed employers to resort to everything from creating job titles like “time ninja” to hiring candidates from automated phone calls to fill their many job openings.

“It’s the strongest job market in a generation,” Chamberlain said. “There are 7 million unfilled jobs in the US, and companies are falling over themselves to hire certain kinds of talent.”


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Despite the fact that they have entered an incredibly robust job market, most 20-something workers don’t feel a sense of loyalty to their employers.

According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 43% of millennials and 61% of Gen Zs plan to leave their company in two years. Just 28% of millennials and 12% of Gen Zs say they will stay beyond five years.

And while Chamberlain said younger workers are comfortable demanding benefits like paid time off or work-from-home, they don’t believe that their employers want to provide the essentials, like a pension plan. As Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz recently wrote:

“Results from a Business Insider survey of 1,000 in early December suggest that today’s young workers aren’t operating under any delusions about how much security their employers can provide them. Respondents ages 18 to 29 were 19 percentage points less likely than the average respondent to say a pension is essential to a good job. Respondents over 60, on the other hand, were 13 percentage points more likely.”

The result is an interesting paradox among the workforce’s newest members – they expect to find a job quickly and easily, and feel comfortable asking to work from home in their PJs, but aren’t so certain that their employer will invest in their future.

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