HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

Generational Hiring: 5 Common Millennial Stereotypes Debunked

The media has dubbed the Millennial generation lazy and entitled, but these stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. Additionally, many forget that the oldest Millennial will be 37 this year, which means that the way you attract and retain this generation should be different from how you recruit and hire younger, Gen Z talent.


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Millennials are often seen as differing substantially from their older counterparts in what they value and expect from work. The common stereotypes suggest Millennials care most about the pursuit of mission, varied experience, continuous learning, entrepreneurial opportunity, and work relationships, and that they are less concerned about the traditional extrinsic rewards of pay and hierarchical position.
But are these perceptions accurate? Specifically, do they reflect the actual behaviors of Millennials at work? It’s an important question, as many organizations are responding to the perceived wisdom by trying to tailor their employee value propositions (EVPs) to the supposed unique needs and values of this generation.
“Organizations should not let stereotypes guide their decision-making as they can be highly misleading,” says Haig Nalbantian, Founder of Mercer’s Workforce Sciences Institute—in an e-mail to Recruiting Daily Advisor. “For example, the idea that high turnover is simply a fact of life when employing Millennials is unfounded; we find that the employee value proposition offered by employers matters a lot and can strongly influence the choices Millennials make at work.”
Mercer tapped a large proprietary data set to empirically test Millennial values and the assumption that they differ from older workers. Many of the common stereotypes around Millennials are not supported by Mercer’s results. Five lessons from Mercer’s predictive modeling analysis include:
  1. Base pay matters: The higher that base pay is as a percentage of total compensation, the stronger the retention effect on Millennials.
  2. Hierarchical advancement does matter: Certain models show that recently promoted Millennials are substantially more likely to leave their employer, suggesting they may leverage promotions to secure other opportunities.
  3. Ambivalence toward performance ratings: Millennials are less sensitive to ratings than their older peers. High ratings are associated with higher turnover probability, suggesting a tendency to leverage positive internal signals of value to secure new opportunities in the labor market.
  4. The relative importance of flexibility is unclear: While all employees are more likely to leave if they are on a part-time basis, the turnover differential for part-time Millennials is about twice as high as it is for non-Millennials, suggesting that offering part-time employment does less to retain Millennials than older workers.
  5. Supervisor characteristics do matter: Millennials are far less likely to leave when they report to highly-rated supervisors or to female supervisors. And they are substantially more likely to quit if their supervisor quits.

“This research carries a number of hiring and workforce implications,” said Tauseef Rahman, Principal in Mercer’s Workforce Strategy & Analytics practice. “Stereotypes can cloud even basic economics and mislead decision-makers. Hard dollars, predictable (over variable) pay, and effective supervisors may be what it takes to improve employee experience, and motivate the Millennial workforce to stay.”
To learn more about the research, click here.

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