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Millennials and the Year Ahead

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Happy 2017! It’s new year, a time for goal setting, habit dropping and trend predictions. So what can we expect from the ever-evolving Millennial generation this year?

Earlier this January in a survey entitled, How Millennials Will Challenge the Status Quo, the Levo Institute asked over 2,000 individuals in 65 countries their thoughts on career (aspirations and concerns), finances (assets and expenditures) and digital habits. Over the course of the 80-question survey, Millennials asserted independence and shared day-to-day points of view that once again dispelled some of the myths that often surround the much-researched generation.

In this newsletter, we share some of the topline findings from the survey to provide a broad outlook for 2017. Our next several newsletters will provide deeper dives into these focus areas and beyond. Stay tuned! 


1. Career Advancement

Millennials are doubling down on their career advancement, with 73 percent of respondents reporting career growth as a top priority for 2017. Beyond simply seeking employment, Millennials desire opportunities that will help them grow and advance in their fields, seeking employer environments that support a healthy work culture for learning, mentorship and growth. Most notably, 80 percent of respondents felt that cultivating emotional intelligence was an important part of their career growth.

2. Health

As Millennials age and mature into adulthood past 30, health is becoming a top concern with 63 percent of respondents reporting health as a top priority for 2017. Our perspective is that companies that provide wellness programs and incentives for health work/life balance in addition to traditional healthcare benefits will appeal strongly to this cohort.

3. The Economy

Certainly the economy is an ever-present concern for workforce participants, and 52 percent of respondents placed the economy as their top concern for 2017. We believe that for Millennials, factors such as becoming parents and managing student debt, will continue to factor into their career and employer choices. Purposeful and meaningful work are still high priority in this equation, but understanding the economic drivers affecting this workforce is of key importance to employers.


It’s understood that millennials will be 75 percent of the US workforce by 2025, but contrary to popular belief, our survey found that only 5 percent self-identified as entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. It is worth noting, however, that 46 percent of respondents reported having a “side hustle,” defined as an extra job or a passion project they work on in their spare time.

Additionally, 47 percent of respondents reported they anticipated staying with their current employers for more than 3 years, with 30 percent anticipating remaining with their current employers for more than 5 years. Our perspective is that employers who offer clear paths for advancement and learning opportunities for employees will fare well in retaining Millennial talent.


Perhaps one of the most disappointing, if not regrettable facts about our workforce experience, is that about 60 percent of Millennials make $55,000 or less a year in salary.

A force to be reckoned with, Millennials’ 600 billion dollars in annual buying power will likely go to everyday living expenses (housing and groceries), and paying off the mounds of student loan and credit card debt they’ve quickly accrued, as indicated by survey respondents listing these two expenditures as top fiscal priorities for 2017. Despite these financial responsibilities, 88 percent of Millennials are preparing for the future with either a savings or a retirement plan.


As has been noted many times, Millennials desire to feel valued by employers, work with purpose and make a measureable impact through their work and career advancement. 88 percent of Millennials report a strong motivation to see the companies they work for succeed. In interviews with Millennial talent and employers, one key area for improving perception of value and how their work contributes to their company’s success is through clear, consistent communication and fostering transparency in how the work that they do aligns to the company’s mission and purpose.

Given that Millennials desire a clear path for advancement, it is worth noting 44 percent of respondents reported that they do not feel they currently have a clear path for growth.

A key issue facing Millennial talent is workplace harassment. A whopping 45 percent of us have observed some sort of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Up-to-date training, communication and fostering healthy workplace dynamics must be a key focus for employers, particularly as the Millennial workforce is the most diverse workforce in U.S. history.


We believe that in order to fully understand Millennials in the work force, we must understand the broader picture of their consumer habits. These insights can help us understand the “life” part of the “work / life” equation that can drive their career decisions.

Two key drivers of Millennial spending are customer reviews (peer-to-peer information) and best prices (price and quality), which overrides brand loyalty. Our initial research suggests these behaviors – seeking peer insights and looking for the right balance of economic sense and quality – dovetail with how Millennials make career and employer choices.

Congruent with the Millennial growth mindset, information seeking is important to this cohort. When it comes to the information we consume, we unlike any cohort before us, have a myriad of choices. For the 87 percent of us who say keeping up with the news is important, we search for diverse information first via search engines and digital properties, with just a few (12 percent) preferring to go to 24-hour news networks or to our ready-made network of admirers on Twitter. 


As we approach 2017, we Millennials looked ahead with steady optimism and proud vigilance with where our careers will lead, how our health will fair and what happens next for our economy and the world at large. One thing is clear: Millennials feel increasingly empowered that our  matter, and therefore we are take the responsibility of our choices as workforce talent and as consumers seriously.

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