What millennials expect from the workplace in 2018

Reports show that by 2020 millennials will make up a third of the global workforce. Instant Offices take a look into what members of this digital generation really look for in a career.

Reports show that by 2020 millennials will make up a third of the global workforce. Instant Offices take a look in to what members of this digital generation really look for in a career..

The ManpowerGroup, whose job is to find work for 3.4 million people, about half of whom are millennials, surveyed the careers and working environments of 19,000 millennials to find out. The report aimed to find out how different they are from the rest of the workforce, which development opportunities they are motivated by, and why they choose to stay with employers.

The nature of millennials: They exist in a fast-paced world, and their work expectations aren’t much different – they want a career that offers variety and quick progression.

Millennials are positive about their careers

Does this positivity stem from their generational attributes of being innovative, digitally diverse and entrepreneurial, allowing them to explore any avenue to reach success in the event of unemployment, or are millennials naive about what it means to survive in the workplace?

  • Two out of three are hopeful about their current employment prospects
  • 62 per cent are optimistic that if they lost their main source of income, in three months they could find equally good if not better work

Millennials are an extremely hard-working generation, already working harder than any of the generations before them. With an awareness of the value of growing their skills, strengthening relationships, and exploring opportunities, most millennials don’t mind putting in extra hours:

  • 73 per cent of millennials work more than 40 hours a week
  • Nearly a quarter work over 50 hours

What millennials think it takes to reach the next job level

  • 46 per cent – Skills & qualifications
  • 45 per cent – Performing in current job
  • 35 per cent – More experience through new roles or projects
  • 28 per cent – Good connections
  • 23 per cent – Opportunities
  • 17 per cent – Thriving relationships with a managers and mentors

Since millennials spend so much time dedicated to their jobs already, 84 per cent expect significant breaks during their working lives, supporting the idea that career waves are the new career ladder in earlier generations. And because most millennials know they’ll work longer than previous generations:

Rather than spend their life in one job, millennials opt for careers in waves with changing direction, pace, and regular breaks

  • 27 per cent expect to work until over 70 years old
  • 12 per cent say they’ll work until the day they die

With such a specific outlook on their career-pace, millennials seem to be planning for the long haul, aiming to find work that offers long-term, stable employment.

When it comes to what the ‘right’ amount of time is to remain in one role before moving to another or being promoted:

  • two-thirds said less than two years
  • a quarter said less than 12 months

Overall, what millennials want in the workplace can be summarised in three points:

  • 92 per cent value money and remuneration
  • 87 per cent consider security and stability in the role
  • 86 per cent weigh up holidays/time off

On top of pay, security, and time off:

  • 80 per cent want to work with great people
  • 79 per cent want the option of flexible working

But not all young people are the same – males and females differ in what they want out of life and the workplace:


  • plan to make more time to care for others like children, older relatives, their partners, and even to volunteer


  • mostly chose priorities that focus on themselves

Both genders:

  • Aim to prioritise me-time and time off for holidays
  • 40 per cent of millennials plan to take significant breaks to travel or just relax

Plan to take time off to help a partner in their job

Instead of remaining in one job for the rest of their lives, the generation see the need to gain continuous new skills to highlight employability:

  • 93 per cent value lifelong learning, and will even use their personal time and fork out cash from their own pockets on further training
  • 80 per cent consider learning a new skill a top factor when choosing a new job
  • 22 per cent are even willing to take an extended break from work to gain new skills and qualifications

What the future holds

With millennials redefining how we view job security, businesses can learn from their move toward career security – ensuring millennials, and all other employees, get what they seek from the working journey, not their current job title.

Further reading on millennials

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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