There were a record 4.3 million U.S. workers who quit their jobs in August. And it’s likely younger people made up the bulk of that group.
Millennials and Gen Zers spend a significantly shorter amount of time in their jobs than older generations, according to a survey by CareerBuilder. Gen Z’s (age 6-24) average length of time spent at a job is 2 years and 3 months. For millennials (25-40) that figure is 2 years and 9 months, while Gen Xers (41-56) were at a job for an average of 5 years and 2 months, and baby boomers (57-75) spent 8 years and 3 months at a job, according to CareerBuilder.
CareerBuilder analyzed internal resume data from job seekers to determine their age and the length of time users spent in a job.
“In the wake of the pandemic and months of uncertainty, young workers are taking advantage of the fact that they are in demand as mid-level employees [and] driving a country-wide quitting spree,” the authors of CareerBuilder's report wrote.
While CareerBuilder compared all the different generations’ time spent in a role, it’s important to note that many Gen Zers are still too young to even have had the opportunity to spend any time in a workplace.
The reason Gen Z and millennials spend less than three years in a job is simple, says Sara Skirboll, vice president of communications at CareerBuilder.
“They’re looking for the same things that everyone’s talking about – better pay, better benefits, more flexibility and frankly, a lot of these millennials and younger generations are really just evaluating what’s most important to them,” said Skirboll. The experience of living through the pandemic has led many millennials to quit their jobs in search of new experiences as the YOLO “you only live once” movement has taken hold.
“Baby boomers are spending a little bit over eight years in one role and the difference with this generation is that they value stability,” said Skirboll. “They have a strong work ethic.”
A 2016 Gallup report on millennials also found that generation to job-hop more than other groups: 21% of millennials said they've changed jobs within the past year – more than three times the number of non-millennials who reported the same, according to Gallup.
Millennials value flexibility and work-life balance, while baby boomers “like to be loyal and they like to devote their time, and their energy, and their resources to one employer which is why they get to that stage in their career where they’re almost at the same company for close to 10 years,” said Skirboll.
CareerBuilder also shared data on jobs where workers have spent the longest amount of time: software developers (an average of 11 years and 1.5 months), truck drivers (an average of 8 years and 7 months), website managers (8 years and 4.5 months), and building superintendents (8 years).
“These are really stable jobs,” said Skirboll. “People who get in them tend to really like them. They like the flexibility.”
Employers focused on retaining workers should pay attention to their employees’ circumstances, says Skirboll.
“I’m always recommending that employers are polling their employees on a pretty consistent basis,” said Skirboll. “We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. [They should be] checking in and understanding how [employees are] feeling, what they’re thinking, what’s going on at home is really, really important to make sure that you’re providing the best atmosphere for them to come, learn, do a great job and feel good about what they’re doing.”
More from Sibile: