Millennial & Gen Z job hopping: 7 ways to prevent serial quitters

Job-hopping younger generations will soon make up a majority of the US workforce

6 minutes

July 18, 2022 Adecco

A young worker in a denim button-up, sits at the end of a crowded conference table, and seems to be day-dreaming off into the distrance

Study after study proves that Gen Z and millennials are the employees most likely to jump ship. CareerBuilder found that Gen Z workers spend an average of two years and three months in a job, while millennials stay just six months more. And LinkedIn survey found that 25% of Gen Z and 23% of millennials hope or plan to leave their job within the next six months.

By far the largest generational demographic in the American labor force, millennials are set to make up 75% of it by 2030. And although Gen Z is quite new to the labor market, it will triple its workforce share within the coming decade.

So, employers: As the job-hopping trend looks to intensify, embrace your younger workers with all their differences, quirks, and restlessness. Here are our 7 tips to get you there:

#1: Take the time to understand them

Work-shy snowflakes who'd sooner spend their money on avocado toast than save for an apartment? The media is rife with myths and stereotypes of young workers. However, is job hopping a sign of entitled behavior, or a warning that your business is failing to move with the times? Given their growing importance, employers should get to know their younger workers, including the critical differences between the two generations.

Millennial job hopping

By waiting longer to get married, having fewer children, and rejecting the traditional nuclear family, millennials rewrote the rulebook on how America lives and works, including its traditional career ladder. While millennial job-hopping ways reflect this ambivalence to institutions and traditions, they feel even more empowered by the Great Resignation and a scorching labor market. 

Gen Z job hopping

This generation holds many of the same values as millennials and is the most educated, digitally savvy, and diverse demographic yet. But while some millennials entered the labor market in boom times, Gen Z is bursting onto the job scene against a backdrop of great social and economic upheaval. With childhoods punctuated by a market crash, a racial reckoning, and a pandemic, Gen Zs are hardwired to adapt, challenge, and hold employers to account.

#2: Pay well, and help with rising living costs

Yes, these are the purpose-driven generations, but money matters more than you think. Amid soaring gas prices and recession fears, Deloitte's Global 2002 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found the cost of living to be the most significant concern for Gen Zs (29%) and millennials (36%), while almost half live paycheck to paycheck, with many taking on second jobs to stay afloat. Employers should work to close pay gaps for women and minorities, promote financial literacy, and consider providing paid leave and health care.

#3: Offer flexibility

The same study found that 75% of Gen Zs and 76% of millennials call for hybrid or remote work. Yet, only 49% of Gen Zs and 45% of millennials currently have it, even as the pandemic proved its effectiveness for many roles. The opportunity for employers? Let people choose where and when they work, and make sure hybrid workers are not penalized.

#4: Train, coach, and mentor

Despite all the job-hopping, 38% of millennials and 23% of Gen Z want to stay with their employers beyond five years. What would make them stay the course? Opportunities to expand their skills. The return is worth the investment. The flipside of these generations' penchant for job-hopping is their change-ready mindsets and digital skills, which employers badly need in transformative times. Be sure to teach; don’t preach. They want 'unbossed' cultures and managers who coach them and value them as people. 

#5: Go green

About three-quarters of Gen Z and millennials believe the world has reached a tipping point on climate change – an opportunity for employers to act and inspire. If you're not ready for a total green transformation take small steps to sustainability, starting, for example, by banning single-use plastics and promoting carpooling. Your younger workers will move on if you don't take note: Over a third reported having rejected jobs and assignments for ethical reasons.

#6: Embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

If millennials were the generation to put DEI firmly on the agenda, Gen Z is taking it right off the charts. The first 'minority-majority' generation, Gen Z is more conscious of systemic racism and passionate advocates of non-traditional gender identities, neurodiversity, and accessibility. Even though the America business community tends to be more conservative than the general population, employers who fail to actively – and genuinely – engage with evolving viewpoints risk alienating younger workers.

#7: Make mental health matter

Some 46% of Gen Zs and 45% of millennials reported feeling burned out, with similar numbers taking time off to deal with anxiety and stress. But even as nine in 10 employers claim to focus more on mental health this year, a quarter of millennials and a fifth of Gen Zs don't think their employer takes the issue seriously enough. With roughly a third of Gen Zs and millennials saying they're not comfortable discussing these issues with their manager, it's time to normalize talking about mental health at work.

At Adecco, our vast experience with younger workers tells us they want to work hard – and stay the course – but only for decent pay, respect, and proper work-life balance. More than that, we see their boundless potential to bring much-needed change.

Talk to us about how we can help you craft winning recruitment and retention strategies. And visit our Employer Resources for unique insights on the trends shaping our working world.