Esteemed Researcher Shares Study on Millennials in the Workplace

May 25, 2016

On May 17, Dr. Brad Harrington, Executive Director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family, shared the findings of his research “How Millennials Navigate their Careers: Young Adult Views on Work, Life and Success” to a Yale audience including young professionals and managers.

The study sample was composed of individuals aged 22-35, with at least two years of professional work experience, and who were employed at five large companies. Research explored a number of questions such as: How do young adults search for jobs? Is there a difference between how young women and young men perceive success? What are employers and HR departments doing that young people see as most helpful to their career success? What organizational characteristics are most likely to increase or decrease employee work-effort, retention and satisfaction?

Some findings of the study include:

  • Gone is the linear career path. Careers are self directed now.

  • Millennials’ priorities are, in order: career growth opportunities, a good salary, and benefits. (Benefits can be worth 30-35% of one’s salary.)

  • Above all, millennials want career satisfaction and work-life balance.

  • When employees believe their manager cares about their holistic well being, they report better job satisfaction.

  • Millennials value support for their professional development: a network of informal mentors, tuition assistance, and support for attending courses conferences and trainings.

  • Life outside of work is more important to millennials’ sense of identity than work.

  • 60% of millennials think that to advance their career, it’s better to stay and grow with one employer.

When an audience member asked “What can managers do with this information?”, Dr. Harrington answered: “Invest in and grow their employees.” And isn’t that what we all want?


Study: How Millennials Navigate their Careers