Are Millennials Job-Hoppers? Here’s What the Numbers Say

A new survey suggests that employers really need to understand what makes America’s youngest working generation tick.

Millennials are often referred to as job-hoppers. But is their reputation for switching jobs as often as they change socks fair — or just the latest judgment of a younger generation by their elders?

This will likely come as no surprise to millennials — or anyone who’s worked with millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) — but the reputation is earned.

According to a recent Gallup report on the millennial generation, 21 percent of millennials have changed jobs within the past year. That’s more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same. Says Gallup:

Millennials also show less willingness to stay in their current jobs. Half of millennials — compared with 60 percent of non-millennials — strongly agree that they plan to be working at their company one year from now. For businesses, this suggests that half of their millennial workforce doesn’t see a future with them.

The economic impact of a generation of job-hoppers is significant. Gallup estimates that the U.S. economy takes a whopping $30.5 billion hit annually due to millennial turnover.

Here are some other highlights from Gallup’s millennial report:

  • Six in 10 millennials are looking for or open to a new job. That’s 15 percentage points higher than for non-millennial workers.
  • More millennials (36 percent) say they plan to look for a job with a different company in the next year than non-millennial workers (21 percent).
  • Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace. Just 29 percent of America’s young workers report being emotionally or behaviorally connected to their job and employer. while 16 percent of millennials say they’re actively disengaged “meaning they are more or less out to do damage to their company,” Gallup says.

Although millennials’ willingness to switch jobs at the drop of a hat may seem undesirable, according to the Harvard Business Review, it can present an opportunity for some companies.

Ultimately, millennials are consumers of the workplace. They shop around for the jobs that best align with their needs and life goals. More than ever, employers need to know and act on the factors that make their company appealing to these candidates. They have to make it easy for prospects to choose them over their competition.

Jim Harter, chief scientist for workplace management and well-being for Gallup’s workplace management practice told The Washington Post that millennial workers want to know where they stand and where they’re going.

“They want a workplace that helps them progress, but they also want to see their own value,” Harter explained.

Are you a millennial or do you work with millennials? What do you think about millennials’ inclination to job hop? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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