Millenials and the Workforce: Values, Work Ethic and Challenges

By: Amanda Young

Millennial Demographic in the Workforce

A study put together by ManpowerGroup shared predictions for the millennial job market in 2020.   It was predicted that by 2020 millennials will take up about 35% of the global workforce. Millennials are known as “the can do, will do generation”; in other words, millennials are a part of a generation that is getting thrown into job markets that are constantly changing.  Millennials are known to adapt to job market and industry changes. 

When it comes to being optimistic about having a good career path, millennials from China, Germany, India, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States are the most positive. Career paths for millennials are looking longer than generations before them.  In fact, 12% of millennials believe that they are going to work until very old age and some data showed Millenials are harder working than perception suggests. 

 The average number of hours that millennials work in the United States, Brazil and Norway is 45 hours a week. India proves to be producing the longest hours for Millenial workers, with an average of 52 hours per week. 



Gallup recently polled both employers and employees on what Millenials value in the workplace. While Millenials still value money as a driving motivator, there are three main divergences Millenials value that is becoming more and more clear.

1. Millennials don’t just work for a paycheck — they want a purpose.

For millennials, work must have meaning. Their compensation is important and must be fair, but they’re motivated more by mission and purpose than paycheck.

2. Millennials are not pursuing job satisfaction — they are pursuing development.

Purpose and development drive this generation, and they expect opportunities to learn and grow.

5. Millennials don’t want to fix their weaknesses — they want to develop their strengths.

Fixating on their weaknesses won’t inspire millennials to perform. Naming and aiming their strengths will – weaknesses never develop into strengths, but strengths develop infinitely.

Millennials want to contribute to an organization that values their strengths and gives them the chance to do what they do best every day.

With that said, data gathered from ManPower’s study did show that 92% of respondents consider money as still top priority when job seeking.

It’s commonly assumed that millennials are job hoppers, however, that’s not the case.  Millennials find it very important to find a job that will help maintain their standard of living.  When trying to achieve the next job level, millennials believe that it is important to improve their skills, have a strong performance in their position now, gain new experiences by taking on new roles, and make strong connections with other people.  About half of millennials are willing to take on non-traditional forms of employment later in their career.  

Job Market in 2020 for Millennials

This year, the job market has been put in a tough place due to the impacts of COVID-19.  In the United States, unemployment rates have increased greatly.  At the end of March, about 701,000 individuals were out of work mostly related to business closures due to the spread of the Coronavirus.  The leisure and hospitality industry took the greatest loss, they had to let go of about 459,000 employees.  These numbers have since skyrocketed through April with tens of millions of unemployment claims, reaching as high as 25+ million Americans filing for unemployment resulting from shutdowns. With millennials taking up a great part of the workplace, millennials have taken a great hit causing thousands of them to be out of work.  

What is the great issue?

Millennials and Gen Z take up most of entry-level job positions; now with the United States economy in a recession, millennials are losing these positions and are being laid-off.  According to a survey, 52% of its respondents under the age of 45 have lost some sort of work. The current job market situation is leaving millennials with less job openings, only high entry-level jobs available, higher education requirements for jobs, and overall a giant hold on their careers. This should spur to action self starting, freelancing and focusing on massive value add in the workplace to make millenial prospects attractive to employers.