Millennials and the 2 Year Itch, Blog by Fuel50

Millennials and the ‘2 Year Itch’

Written by Anne Fulton, CEO of Fuel50 and Author of The Career Engagement Game

Okay, so we know about the ‘7 year itch’ long talked of for marriage, but what is happening with millennials and their commitment to their work right now? I had a great conversation with one of our career coaches, Michael Strong of SGEi, in Las Vegas at a Fuel50 training event last week, and she said she had been astounded and shocked by the short-term thinking of millennials today who thought a 6 month tenure in a job showed great career stability!  So unquestionably some attitudes are changing for millennials about their “psychological work contract” and commitment to their employees.  There are both risks and benefits to these millennials with this transient kind of attitude which is a result both of the buoyant job-market today and their experiences watching the career derailment of their parents as many, if not most, were exposed to redundancies and retrenchments, often more than once in their lifetime.

So, if they are so motivated, why aren’t employers able to keep them?

Despite this cavalier attitude to employer-commitment by millennials, our Career Agility research shows us that this generation are the most aspirational in their career drive of any and are actually prepared to work harder, contribute more and even use their own personal time for career growth and learning if you provide them with the right tools.

Generational differences and their needs, Research by Fuel50

So, if they are so motivated, why aren’t employers able to keep them? Forbes recently shared that the  average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that. So 91% of  Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for about two years, which means they would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!

We are great proponents and advocates for the benefits of career agility with workforce agility being required for businesses to compete in the 2020 business arena, with people ready, willing and able to demonstrate an array of skills. And employees need to continually add to their career assets and personal career marketability by ensuring they continually add new experiences and skills to their Career Assets.  Organizations need a new “talent exchange” model that facilitates employees marketing their skills, wants and aspirations to the business, and leaders being able to search and leverage the talents that are available to them across the entire organization.

91% of  millennials expect to stay in a job for about two years, which means they would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!

This is clearly becoming an imperative for businesses that employ millennials, who are the hungriest of any generation for career growth and development and you risk losing them, if your leaders don’t talk to them and become career-champions for the talent sitting within their teams. We are very conscious that many leaders feel unprepared for these conversations and have little clue as to the career needs of their millennial employees.  As part of our passion for making a difference to the career experiences of all employees, millennials through to boomers, you can pick up a sample coaching conversation guide for a millennial which is part of the Fuel50 Coaching Toolkit, and please contact us for a demo of Fuel50’s Leader Coaching Edition which supports a great experience for millennials, and the rest of us too!


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