For Younger Workers, Old-School Pay and Perks Are Not Enough

September 4, 2019 | 3 minute read
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By Emily He, SVP Product Marketing, HCM Cloud

Millennial and Gen-Z employees want to do well by doing good.

When it came to job hunting, people of my parents’ generation—as well as a good chunk of those my own age—saw a competitive salary and medical benefits as the ultimate career package. What else could you possibly want?

But for today’s younger job applicants, the mindset is shifting dramatically. More and more Millennials (those born in the early '80s to mid '90s) or Gen-Z prospects (born after 1996) want to feel a sense of value and meaning in their work.

The desire to succeed not just for oneself but to contribute back to the greater good is the underlying theme of the“purpose economy,” a term coined by entrepreneur and author Aaron Hurst in a book of the same name.

Increasingly, I see this desire for a “purpose career” as a key motivator for the post-baby-boom generations. To learn more about this concept and why younger workers have such shifting workplace priorities, I recently had a chance to talk with John Jersin, vice president of product management for LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions and Careers unit. Here’s what we discussed:

Wanted: A Purpose Career

Given LinkedIn’s expertise on the job market and candidate experience, Jersin had a wealth of data and knowledge to share on this purpose economy evolution, noting he agrees with the theory and sees considerable relevant data on hiring trends to support.

“We see that 64% of Millennials define a good job as one that they’re proud to talk about,” he said in a recent chat. Additionally, 75% of those surveyed said they would work even if they didn’t have to and 40% said they want to “feel passionate” about what they do.

I attribute part of this mind shift to the way children have been raised over the past few decades. Many parents tell their kids to pursue their dreams and that they can be whatever they want to be. It’s no longer: “Get a job so you can pay your bills.” The message is now something more like: “Find a situation that fulfills you and makes you feel like a productive member of society.”

For younger workers, old-school pay and perks no longer interest them. What do millennials and Gen Z employees want?

Jersin and I both agree that one very real effect of that self-empowerment movement is that younger workers aren’t afraid to ask their managers, maybe even their managers’ managers, for what they want. And what they want may very well be to combat global warming, clean up the oceans, or save endangered species, making room for dedicated sustainability and social impact teams within organizations.

Another profound generational change that we discussed is that Millennials and Gen-Zs know that they’re not going to stick with the same job or company for 30 or even 10 years. That’s a far cry from the early baby boomers, who may themselves have been raised by Great Depression-era parents and who aspired to a 40- or 50-year stint at a company like Procter & Gamble or Ford.

For that reason, post Baby-Boomer generations want to be able to learn new skills continually so they can take on new challenges over time.

What else do workers want from their employment experiences? Read more here.

Learn More 

Are you looking to engage a younger workforce to attract more talent? Discover how Oracle HCM Cloud can help you and download our latest eBook, Becoming a Talent Magnet Manager

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