Millennial Hiring Part 2: Money IS Important

What makes Millennials tick? In last week’s article, we discussed the fact that Millennials do more job hopping than previous generations, but it’s not because they are non-committal, it’s because they refuse to forgo happiness in order to stay in a position. They will leave once their needs are no longer being met.

With Millennials quickly becoming the majority in the world of the working, it’s not an issue of whether or not to hire those from Gen Y, it’s how to attract and keep them. If they need to have their needs met in order to stay, the first thing to do is figure out what those needs are. A common misconception is that because happiness is high on the list, money is not.

Salary is IMPORTANT to Millennials.

Fortune Magazine editor Alan Murray cites a Pew Research Center study claiming that “millennials put a ‘high-paying job’ near the bottom of their list of work priorities – but so do other generations, in roughly equal numbers.” This is what we have thought for a while now. Millennials prioritize salary at the bottom when it comes to their job. An often-quoted statistic from an Intelligence Group Cassandra Report states that 64% of Millennials would rather make $40k per year at a job that they love rather than $100k per year at a job they consider boring. And that is the key. It’s not that money isn’t important, it’s that it isn’t as important as happiness and fulfillment.

Recruiting software resource Software Advice recently asked in a report “What is most important to you in a job?” Of that particular group of 1,355 Millennials, “Salary and Benefits” was listed as the most important (at 34%), though it didn’t take the stop slot by much – only 3% separated it from the next highest factor. Notable is the fact that this report found many of the subjects that ranked Salary and Benefits lower were found to have previously held a high-paying job. One respondent stated, “I’ve realized that a good salary is not worth it if it means sacrificing your happiness or doing something that truly interests you,” leading Software Advice to infer that as Millennials progress in their careers, they realize that money is not as important as they once thought.

Millennials are still young – many of the real trials and tribulations of life (i.e. marriage, children, unexpected career changes) have yet to affect them. Once Gen Yers realize that $40k per year does little to help pay for organic cloth baby diapers, the results of these studies may change. The point is still that Millennials think different than generations before them and the same old song and dance from employers is going to do no good to retain them. They want satisfaction out of their jobs and companies will have to figure out how to provide it or watch them leave.

Here is a closing thought from Forbe’s Alan Murray: “Millennials…are slower to get married than earlier generations and less likely to belong to a political party—which may make their employer, by default, the most important institutional affiliation in their lives…So pay attention. The Millennials…are harbingers of our connected future.”

Traci Kingery, PHR is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in immigration and talent management. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.

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