Survey: Millennials want passion more than money

New research on millennials at work shows that when they get a new job, the most popular top priority is being in a role they’re passionate about.

Research on millennial workers from strategy firm Department26 shows that when they get a new job, the most popular top priority is “being in a role you’re passionate about,” at 44%, just beating out money at 42%. Loving your position also bested the other options: “paid learning/development opportunities” at 6%, health insurance at 5%, and paid time off and vacation at 2%.

“The millennials we surveyed and interviewed rated ‘passion’ as a top priority because purpose is more important to this generation than the previous two,” Miki Reilly-Howe, Managing Director of Department26, told Ladders. “Boomers were mostly concerned with being ‘good providers’ … In contrast, Millennials want to make an impact.”

Here’s how long millennials plan to stick around at work

The research makes it clear that not all millennials plan to change jobs as much as you might think. When accepting a new position, 50% of millennials plan to be there for five or more years, compared to 30% who say three to five years, 16% who say one to two years, and 4% who say one year.

“Though millennials have a reputation for job-hopping, it’s clear that’s not their intention,” Reilly-Howe told Ladders. “They want nothing more than to find the right place and stay put for a few years. They leave when they feel they aren’t valued.”

This can manifest in a number of ways, she said: “If they aren’t offered some freedom and flexibility after clearly performing in their role, they can feel slighted. If leadership doesn’t communicate a larger vision, millennial workers feel like they don’t have purpose. If their expectations aren’t met, like for a promotion, they lose steam.”

Looking for a promotion? These young workers are

The research found that when becoming part of an organization, 51% of millennials expect to get a promotion within one to two years.

A survey Ladders did with SurveyMonkey last year similarly showed that  80% of millennials desired to move up the ladder during their first two years at a company.

3 ways managers and employers can support millennials

They can take these steps.

Take them seriously

Don’t write these young people off.

“As millennials find their foothold in the workplace, the companies that stand to benefit most from this generation will be those that both acknowledge and embrace their unique challenges, expectations, and values. Retaining younger employees means taking a look in the mirror in order to understand the real meaning behind the business. Thoughtful transparency and a well-articulated vision of the future will not only quiet millennial anxiety, but also ensure they’re aligned and enrolled in the work at hand,” the report says.

Provide training opportunities

You should give young workers chances to prove their talent on their own, but that doesn’t mean a little bit of training can’t go a long way.

In fact, training them in advances in their field and exposing them to the latest technology as part of their work can benefit them both now and in the future.

Building in opportunities for professional growth could also make it easier for young workers to get the work experience they need down the line.

Mentor them and hear them out

Take some time out of your schedule to listen to and mentor millennials. Instead of treating each young person as a number, or jumping to conclusions about how entitled you think they act, evaluate their perspectives and goals first.

You might be surprised by how they see or do things, but the new energy can help move your team in a new direction.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.