Workforce Demographics: New Research on Twentysomethings in the Workplace

Ever wonder why younger workers seem less than enthused about teamwork?  That’s easy.  They know that teamwork makes no difference to business success.  As one 27-year old said, “If I had dropped out of college I’d be a billionaire now!”  Indeed, when we ask workers with fewer than five years’ experience what their goals were they said:

  • Pay off school debts.
  • Start an on-line business.
  • Get control of  all aspects of life.
  • Start investing in mutual funds — usually after school loans are paid off.
  • Find the one thing I love to do.

Did you notice there was no mention of succeeding in corporate America?  Even not-for-profits have lost the luster they had between 2000 and 2005.  We’re seeing more organizations writing off the twentysomethings on the theory maybe they’ll change their attitudes by the time they’re 30.

Organizations will change before the twentysomethings do.  Here are the changes likely to occur within five years:

  • Telecommuting two or three days a week.  The young really don’t want to be there!
  • Recapture is the new retention.  You can get two of five back if you wait six months and then call the ones you want who left.
  • One twentysomething will sink.  Five in a group will help each other.
  • A steep learning curve is a bigger turn on than a raise.  Are those skills portable?  That’s huge.

Finally, don’t assume that “out there” you will find dozens of young people who don’t share these views.  There’s no research to support that.

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Filed under Current Research, Millennials and GenX, Workforce Demographics