When a hiring manager or
recruitment agency thinks of millennial workers, one of the stereotypes that come into mind is that they probably won’t stay in the company for long. Perhaps this assumption is correct, as 75% of people ages 18-34 believe that job-hopping will have a positive effect on their careers.

On the other hand, for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, job-hopping is a foreign concept. Their office culture promotes staying in a company for years before transferring elsewhere; some even last in the same organization for decades. This is one of the primary reasons why millennials are criticized for not being able to stay in the same job for a long time. It’s seen as unprofessional, and some people believe it can hurt their professional image.

Compared to millennials, only 59% of those ages 35-54 (Gen X) are willing to change jobs frequently. That’s a significantly lesser figure, but still the majority. So why are millennials pegged with this kind of behavior? The younger generation is thought to be more experimental and fearless when it comes to seeking opportunities that can level up their career, which can be seen in a lot of industries.

Here’s a closer look at why millennials feel the need to explore new jobs more frequently than the traditional workforce.

1. Quality of work vs. length of stay

For a lot of millennials, the significance of their contribution to a company is far greater than the length of their stay. A recent survey revealed that millennials are chasing purpose and passion over big paychecks or stability in their careers.

Since millennials want to feel like the work they are doing matters, if they don’t feel fulfilled in their current company, they’ll most likely be on the hunt for another place to work. They crave for environments that are socially involved, and a place where they can nurture their talents.

2. The gig economy

The gig economy right now is booming. Forbes claims that freelancers will make up a considerable chunk of the workforce in 2027. Having a flexible job is enticing to many, and several industries like the arts and media are thriving in this type of setup.

In the past, it was expected for workers to have stable 9-5 jobs; whereas now, it’s attractive to take on part-time work and freelance gigs on the side or make a living out of all of those combined. Job-hopping, in turn, exposes millennials to different opportunities and broadens their professional network at a faster rate. This allows them to get closer to other types of work they might feel more interested in.

3. Faster skills diversification

Every company has something new to offer to an employee. Getting to experience different work cultures and systems can sharpen and beef up one’s skillset. In a survey done by The Ladders, gaining new skills was said to be the second top reason why millennials switched jobs.

The more skills a person has, the wider their options will be when hunting for new opportunities, and the more desirable they would be as a candidate for hiring managers.

Keeping Millennials in the Workplace

Recognizing the reasons why millennials prefer to change jobs quickly can be the key to making them stay at your company longer. Naturally, you’d want a team that you can nurture and grow for a long time. Think of it as an investment for your company and a way for you to better your management styles to encourage your employees to stay.

  • Set up a challenge

    Millennials don’t like being stagnant. A lot of them feel trapped in repetitive or dull work, and they’ll think of looking elsewhere once they experience that. Make things challenging at work by allowing them to set their own goals, whip up new initiatives, and introduce new projects for them to work on.

  • Give them flexibility

    Millennials value work-life balance. This can easily be solved by offering flexible working hours for your employees. Flexible hours will make them feel less constricted and allow them to pursue their other goals and hobbies.

  • Offer unique benefits

    From having an in-house chef in the office to the option of working remotely, millennials like having modern perks in the workplace. These benefits make them feel that they are part of a progressive company with forward-thinking management and social work culture.

  • Focus on their growth

    Regularly ask for their opinions on things they want to learn outside of their job description. For instance, if you run a media company, try holding video editing workshops for your scriptwriters should they express an interest in it. This will allow them to feel like the company is supporting them in other areas of their career.

Conclusion

Overall, job-hopping isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has been happening at a much faster rate. For this reason, it’s important for recruiters and managers to know the logic behind why millennials do it so that it can be appropriately addressed. Understanding why millennials frequently switch jobs will help you come up with strategies for keeping the company an exciting place for your employees.

TJ Pestano