Millennial Job-Hopping Myth Busted by New Research

GettyImages-498941586-compressorThough many questionnaires suggest younger people like to play it loose with employers, new British research indicates a continuing hangover left by the financial crisis is forcing many to stay put. And they’re loyalty isn’t even earning them extra money.

Millennials in the UK have been about 30% less likely to move jobs in their 20s than generation X before them, according to a study by The Resolution Foundation, an independent research and policy organization.

The results appear to be at odds with various other polls that suggest millennials like to job hop. A survey conducted last year in the U.S. by Gallup, for example, found 21% of millennials said they’d changed jobs in the past year—three times more than the number of non-millennials.

“The finding that millennials who have entered work so far have made no earnings progress on generation X before them is a cause for concern.

Importantly, however, the survey didn’t compare how often millennials had changed jobs compared to young people in previous decades.

Other polls have shown that a great number of millennials intend to change jobs, without following up to check if they’d actually taken the plunge.

U.S. census data appears to back up the British research. An analysis of it conducted in 2014 by The Washington Post indicated that millennials were indeed sticking with their jobs longer than their counterparts did a decade before.

This tendency to avoid jumping ship is bad news for pay progression, given that the typical raise for someone moving jobs in their mid-20s is around 15%, according to The Resolution Foundation.

And for those staying at the same company for many years, it appears annual pay rises have fallen dramatically, too. British workers born between 1981 and 1985 who had been with their firms for five years or more experienced annual pay rises of next to nothing, compared with around 4% for peers 10 years younger.

Young British men are now earning £12,500 less in their 20s than the generation before them, partly as a result of taking on low-paid jobs previously done by women, the foundation found.

“Jobs and pay clearly play a central and interconnected role in this wider question of intergenerational living standards,” the foundation said. “On this basis, the finding that millennials who have entered work so far have made no earnings progress on generation X before them is a cause for concern.”

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Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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