Why You Need To Accept Employee Attrition, Particularly For Younger Workers

Employee retention - especially in industries facing skills shortages like IT - is a huge priority for organisations across Australia. There are a number of reasons for this. For one, competent employees are worth keeping and training a new person up for a role can be a pain in the neck. But the reality is younger workers generally don't stay in their current jobs for long and it is high-time businesses start accepting that and changing up their management styles to make the most of the situation, according to a report.

Young professionals walking back to work image from Shutterstock

For the Motivating Millennials report, workforce management software company Kronos commissioned Galaxy Research to look at the work history of 600 Australian professionals between the ages of 18 and 64. The objective was to see how long people in different age groups tend to stay in a job. Here is a snippet of the results:

  • 18-34 (referred to by the study as Millennials): 3.4 years
  • 35-49 (Generation X): 5.8 years
  • 50-64 (Baby Boomers): 7.3 years
  • Overall, one in seven people spend less than two years in a job on average.

As you can see, the younger age group tends to change jobs more frequently and it's naïve for employers to think they can make "Millennials" stay indefinitely. However, there are ways to make them stay just a little bit longer, according to Kronos managing director for Australia Peter Harte.

"When you recruit, you really have to have an attitude of motivating them," he told Lifehacker Australia. "A lot of recruiters look at the hire to retire mindset. You really can’t change the behaviour of Millennials - these types of workers are going into a position with a view to leave, unlike most Gen X folks who are looking for long-term careers.

"But there are ways you can extend their tenure at your company."

You can't just throw money at the problem. While the research suggests that Millennials extend their stay at a company if they are paid more, it's not by much. On average, they'll only stay 1.5 years longer. The silver lining is that only one-fifth of those aged between 18 and 35 said there was nothing an employer could do to keep them.

"From a social perspective, Millennials value open collaboration and conversation and it's important for companies to have a framework that support those two things," Harte said. "They also value personal development; 65 per cent of respondents said that if employers developed a personal plan with them or showed interest in them as an individual, they would have stayed in a position much longer."

What motivates you to stay in your current job? Is it money or the culture? Let us know in the comments.


    So clearly, if longevity, experience and worth to the company is what you are after, older employees are definitely better value. So why will no one employ us?

      They want to pay you like a millennial. Have the "driven" mentality of Gen X and the service length of baby boomers.

    34 year olds are Millenials now?
    What happened to Gen-Y?
    I'd always assumed Millenials referred to anyone born in this millenium.

      I thought they were people who came of age this millennium. Which would land them at the magical 34.

    Gen Y has been skipped in the panic to backfill the Baby Boomers, we're now the forgotten generation in a lot of corporations.

    To get this problem framed, managers are judged on two things, results and retention. Until HR departments and company boards work out that there's nothing that can keep a segment of Gen Y's at their company, the quicker they'll stop flogging front line managers and actually deal with the issue

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