At work, millennials want healthcare benefits, not adorable office perks

What do millennials want at work? This is the question that marketers and employers alike are dying to know as millennials dominate the workforce.

The assumption of many thinkpieces is that millennials are young and frivolous, looking for fun perks at the office. But when Fit Small Business asked 600 millennials this past March, Fit Small Business sought to question stereotypes around work ethic about this demographic. “what benefits are most important to you?” millennials were not as attracted to the wild perks as Silicon Valley startups think they are.

The reality is that millennials are more practical and grounded in what they want from jobs. They want two major things from a job: healthcare benefits and more feedback that can lead to a higher salary.

Millennials want healthcare and feedback

Like every other demographic surveyed, the majority of millennials —34%— answered that healthcare was the most important benefit. Only 5% of millennials thought that an equity stake in a company was an important factor when choosing a job. They are more likely to leave than other groups if they feel like they’re being overworked.

In fact, quality of life seems to be a strong concern for millennials: around 13% of millennials cited a boss being too demanding as a reason for changing jobs, compared with 6% of respondents over age 35 who cites that as a factor in jumping ship.

But millennials have thicker skin than their older counterparts when it comes to criticism. 19.3% of people over age 35 said having a mean boss was the top reason that they would leave their job, while only 17.6% of millennials chose this. This may because millennials love feedback, criticism included.

A 2012 MTV poll on millennials at work found that 80% of them wanted frequent feedback in real time from their managers, and that 75% craved mentors.

The idea that millennials are job hoppers who are less likely than older workers to stay at one company does hold up, however. 42% of the millennials ages 18-34 said they were consider a new job, while only 20% of people over age 35 identified as job hoppers.

Why this matters: people ages 18-65 make up the majority of the workforce, and millennials at ages 18 to 35 are the largest part of that. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that the estimated 53.5 million working millennials to be the largest generation in the workforce, comprising a third of all American workers.

Millennials have long been a misunderstood and maligned demographic that have sprung a thousand thinkpieces putting down younger workers. In 2013, Time called them the “me me me generation” for their narcissism and entitlement. Blueboard is a business that is designed around the idea that companies need to create elaborate experiential rewards like massages, sky-diving, and martini lessons to keep their millennial population engaged. But, like many generational assumptions, it bears looking a little bit more closely at this influential generation.