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Millennial Myth-Busters Part 2: They’re Not Career-Entitled Job-Hoppers, They’re Cautious About Unemployment

Millennials are a dominant force in the labor market, and recent CBRE research estimates those born between 1980 and 2000 will make up half of the global workforce by 2020. It’s because of this that employers work so hard to attract young professionals by keeping up with Millennial trends and preferences. The important question is, what are those preferences?


It’s been speculated that those between the ages of 19 and 34 feel entitled to rapid career progression and salary increases—without necessarily putting in the time—and that Millennials job-hop and aren’t loyal to employers. It’s assumed that Millennials favor co-working and often blur the lines between work and leisure. But are these stereotypes true?

According to CBRE's recent Millennials “Live, Work, Play” global overview report in which the firm surveyed 13,000 Millennials from around the globe in their 20s, the idea that Millennials feel entitled to their jobs is far from the truth. 


Most Millennials feel lucky to even have a job, according to more than 50% of those surveyed in the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, India, the US and elsewhere. In America, Millennials first entered the workforce with a great deal of student debt, and following the 2008 financial crisis, low wage growth and high unemployment rates created the “new normal.” These factors left most Millennials uncertain and insecure, with most feeling lucky to even have a job.


“Millennials want job security as much as anybody else does, and they are not job-hoppers—they just haven’t been able to find good jobs. Also, (the idea that) Millennials are subscribing to urban environments because they want a hipper, cooler place to work isn’t true. They go there because that’s where the jobs are,” CBRE head of research in the Americas Spencer Levy (below) told Bisnow.


As for job-hopping, 62% of the Millennials surveyed put that myth to shame, saying they believe their ideal career is with their current employer. Most want to work for a limited number of companies before settling into their careers, though CBRE found that differed geographically. Millennials in Mexico, for example, favor frequent change in the workforce and like to hold a portfolio of roles within the span of their careers. Still, most Millennials are open to pursuing personal change and skill enhancement in the workplace; should that be through an employment change, so be it.

As for workplace preferences, it can’t be denied that Millennials are a generation of digital natives and use technology in almost every facet of their lives. That said, 19- through 34-year-olds understand the importance of separating work from leisure time, and 56% of those surveyed believe the two should remain separate. 


CBRE research also revealed that though Millennials do favor open-plan, creative office environments—like those of most tech companies—many still favor more traditional office environments, with 42% of those surveyed saying they want a private office. It’s about which offices they were introduced to first. Research shows current work environment has a huge impact on perceived ideals.

“I think that there is clearly a growing preference for some of the new office formats, notably open-office and the like,” Spencer said. “Interestingly, if someone is in the office format they like it more than people who are not in it. I think once you get used to it and experience it your preference for it goes up. Just saying, ‘Do you want an open office format?’ is a misleading question unless it's adjusted by the format you’re currently in.”