Sunday, July 13, 2014
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Millennial workers: Where's the loyalty?

More than eight in ten young workers (Millennials, aged 19-26) say they are loyal to their employers. But only one in 100 human resource professionals believe that these young workers are loyal. Quite the disconnect!

Millennial workers: Where's the loyalty?

Just how loyal are millennial workers?
Just how loyal are millennial workers?

More than eight in ten young workers (Millennials, aged 19-26) say they are loyal to their employers. But only one in 100 human resource professionals believe that these young workers are loyal. Quite the disconnect!

This outstanding disparity is drawn from a survey of 6,000 young jobseekers and veteran HR professionals conducted by Beyond.com, the King of Prussia operator of job boards. 

The survey goes on to note other differences: 86 percent of Millennials say they are hard workers, while only 11 percent of HR professionals have the same opinion. By contrast, 86 percent of HR professionals view the young crowd as tech-savvy. Barely one in three Millennials describe themselves as tech-savvy. (Interesting! Why?) Two-thirds of Millennials say they relate well to others, but only 14 percent of HR folks describe the young workers as strong communicators. 

"Until Millennials are able to overcome existing stereotypes, they'll have to work extra hard just to get noticed," said Rich Milgram, Beyond.com's founder and chief executive in a statement. "Younger job seekers don't have it easy in the current economy and they've been put in a hole by the generations that have gone before them.

"Millennials need to match their vision of success with the work ethic that it will take to get there. With their sense of optimism and ability to innovate, I am confident that their generation will surprise us all," he wrote.

Some comments on loyalty. These young people haven't had an opportunity to be loyal.

From the age of 19 until about 22, Millennials are going back and forth between college and work, so they aren't in any one place long enough to be loyal. Secondly, they are too young to have had enough years in the workforce to demonstrate loyalty. In the life of a 24-year-old, a year is a long time, enough, perhaps in their eyes, to constitute loyalty. It's a matter of proportionality, as those of us who are older know when we see the years fly by.

Thirdly, many young people have been laid off multiple times. The whole notion of workplace loyalty has been completely torn apart by this last recession. Is it really reasonable for companies to expect loyalty from anyone, including among young people who have seen their parents lose their careers in downsizings and rightsizings? This generation is known for its particularly strong ties to parents.

Given all this, the fact that 82 percent identify themselves as loyal is telling -- and what it's telling us is that these young people yearn for the opportunity to be loyal.

Click here to read the series that Al Lubrano, Rita Giordano and I wrote last year about the struggles of this generation to find work. Here's the article I wrote within the series about what happened to jobs for the young.    

Later this week: Another viewpoint on millennial workers.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer