Millennials do appear to put a higher priority than older co-workers on advancement and flexible work hours.
Every generation likes to think of themselves as some kind of different, and each does have unique characteristics forged in the times in which they come of age.
Take Millennials; they came of age during 9-11 and America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and have never known a day in their lives without the Internet and succeeding generations of mobile devices that diminish in size as they operate with ever-increasing speed
They are, by many accounts, a coddled, self-absorbed and entitled generation with unrealistic expectations when it comes to their jobs and the workplace..
But a new CNBC All-America Economic Survey focusing on the Millennials that perception is not reality, and that “young people today in some critical areas are more similar to the rest of the population than they are different.”
When it comes to considering the importance of six traits in a potential employer, Millennial preferences are about the same on all six as older generations, CNBC reports For example, 18 percent of Millennials consider work-life balance as the most important trait in a company, compared with 19 percent of the population.
One-fourth of Millennials consider “ethical practices” as the most important company trait, compared with 29 percent for all adults. This is within the CNBC poll’s margin of error for employed adults. A good salary and a good boss are also about as important to Millennials as they are to their older colleagues.
The CNBC survey finds a slight preference among Millennials for companies with strong environmental sustainability practices and for reputations for "hiring the best and the brightest."
Contrary to stereotype, Millennials indicate they are more satisfied with specific aspects of the workplace than the average worker. Nearly nine-in-ten (87 percent) 87 express satisfaction with the training and skills development they receive at work, compared with 76 percent of the rest of the population; while roughly three-fourths (76 percent) say they are satisfied with their opportunities for promotion and advancement. This is 10 points higher than the rest of the population.
Millennials do appear to put a higher priority than older generations on advancement and flexible work hours. They are also more likely to be concerned about opportunities to advance in their careers and about flexible work hours. They also care less about an employer's retirement benefits. But it's difficult to know if these are the differences of a unique generation, or if they are simply the expected results from a younger generation.
Millennials, with youth on their side, are more optimistic about the economy than other age groups, but not by very much, the CNBC survey finds. They don't rate the current state of the economy any better than the overall population, but their expectations for it to improve is marginally brighter. Just over one-fourth (26 percent) believe the economy will get better in the next year, vs. 22 percent of all adults.
Conversely, 26 percent of surveyed Millennials forecast a grim economic landscape, compared with one-third of the public.
Millennial optimism does not fully extend to investments. Just one-third third thinks this is a good time to invest in stocks, which is comparable to the overall population. Almost half (46 percent) of Millennials and all adults concur that it's a bad time to invest. Fewer millennials, however, say it's a "very bad time" to invest, the survey finds.
Roughly one-in-five risk-averse Millennials chose savings account and cash as their top investment choice, compared with 14 percent for all adults. They are also saving more. When asked what they are doing with extra money from lower gas prices, almost three-in-ten (27 percent) say they are not spending, compared with 19 percent of all adults.
Not surprisingly, Millennials are less likely than older generations to be “not confident at all” in the viability of Social Security (51 percent vs. 43 percent of all adults). Analysts project that the system could run out of funds in 2037.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.