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We decided to tackle some of the stereotypes associated with the millennial generation, which is the population between 22 and 37 years old. It’s likely you’ve heard that this generation is immature, technology-obsessed, self-centered, and job hoppers. But is this assumption true or a myth? If it’s true, could the job-hopping be less about self-centeredness and more about trying to find themselves?

What’s Going on With Millennials, Anyway?

Gallup calls Millennials “The job-hopping generation.” That’s because about 21 percent of the Millennial workforce have switched jobs in the last year. All this changing is costing the U.S. about $30 billion a year.

Gallup suggests the problem is engagement, reporting that 29 percent are fully behaviorally and emotionally into their jobs. Although, frankly, the rest of the population is just as disengaged; with 34 percent of the entire American workforce engaged in their job today. So is the issue really that Millennials are job jumping, or are they just less willing to settle for a job they don’t find fulfilling?

Is It Youth or Is It Something Else?

While it’s generally a bad idea to apply stereotypes to any particular class of people, it is true that current data shows millennials don’t tend to stay in jobs long. But is that characteristic because they are millennials, or simply because they’re young people still trying to find their place in the world? Didn’t other populations like the Gen Xers have multiple short-term jobs as they sought the perfect career path? Even baby boomers were young once, right?

The millennial population is less likely to own a home or have the kind of responsibilities that older populations have. So, if they’re unhappy in their work, why not leave for a better job?

Forbes says millennials are, in fact, not job hoppers at all, just simply trying to find themselves. They report:

“There’s strong evidence millennials are job hoppers, but here’s the thing — all these data don’t account for the age of their generational groups. That is to say, the young people of the millennial generation are being compared to the older people of non-millennial generations. The reality is, millennials may not be job-hopping any more than the generations that came before them.”

The same article looked at a recent Gallup poll that sought to compare prior generational activity to current millennial trends. What they found was that millennials left their jobs at around the same rate as Gen Xers and baby boomers when they were the same age.

So, the truth about millennials is that employers need to work harder to keep them engaged. If we can do that, there is clear evidence millennials are actually staying in jobs longer than GenXers when they were in the same age bracket!

So, for employers that are concerned the gig is up for their millennial workers, take note. These talented young employees are actually willing to stick around a while.

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