Throughout my career placing candidates as a Talent Acquisition pro, my experiences has led me to understand that there are a few key reasons why people are always looking for another job.  It’s because some form of security or stability has created a reason for them to pick up the phone or answer an email from a recruiter. The other is the lack of freedom, again, in some form or another.

I’ve spent most of my career explaining this to my HR and IT business partners who are always looking for solutions to solve the retention dilemma or increase the lack of engagement issues they’ve had.  And here’s the thing – it’s not a Gen X or Millennial thing, everybody wants these things – generations are much more similar than we are different.

I was happy to read an article in the Mandarin that reinforces my experiences stating: People care far more about job security than whether a position is well-paid or high status.”  See, I’ve come to understand people generally do not want to constantly move around.  Let’s face it, we all dread having to move, right? The grass is not always greener.  Anything that has to do with fear of change is uneasy and that’s because we like security and familiarity.  Familiar food, entertainment, everything. After all, we are “creatures of habit.”

Another key reason has always been lack of freedom, we like to do things in a way that we are comfortable with and when we get little to no wiggle room or, for example not a lot of people enjoy being micro-managed, yet many companies deploy this type of environment.

That same article, below, explains it like this:A lack of autonomy is one of the drivers of generation Y moving between jobs, he says. It’s not so much that they want to jump around, but that young people often get frustrated at lacking any real autonomy in their work.  Gen X is the same way, I’m sure Boomers are too. Moving around career wise is much more of a culturally accepted thing today than it was when Gen X was getting out of college – twenty-five or thirty years ago. Back then, even if you hated your job, you stayed for the sake of staying because moving due to dissatisfaction was frowned upon. Imagine that.

That said, there are differences, but they are smaller than bigger issues – I think the media blows things a bit out of proportion. For example, I’d say even though both Gen X and Millennial’s enjoy communication, they prefer different forms “slightly”. Gen X prefers using the phone to call and Millennial’s do prefer to text in business. Bottom line is that both generations are indeed very adept at both. 

Rosalie Holian, an expert in organisational psychology and human resource management, agrees the differences are smaller than we tend to assume and stated “When you ask older workers the sort of things they want, they’re similar good working conditions that younger workers want as well.”

One of the biggest issues I see is that companies are not paying enough attention to having a multi-generational workforce makeup. Corporate culture starts with Human Resources and they have helped fuel bias and discrimination, when they should be encouraging more multi generational workforce’s as well as squashing the the false bias’s – not allowing it to grow in their companies. Yet, Ageism is at an all time high.  That alone is a huge factor for their issues with disengagement – and will continue unless better leadership and more attention is paid to long term employee wellness and job security.  66% of people age 40-45 fear for their job security.  That means in your late 30’s you start preparing to worry. This is not a healthy way to live. Companies driven on profits and focusing on a youth workforce population is just as shortsighted as it sounds and is poor way to not only run a company, hence the reason for brutal statistics in employee morale and engagement. People know their company will be looking to put them on the chopping block when the are quite frankly very far from being old, due to manufactured discrimination, all in the name of saving a buck. Turnover hurts companies and even reflects in other areas to, like getting and retaining clients. If you are working with a company and you get a new rep every year, you’re going to start wondering what problems that business partner has. 

That also is reinforced by Donaldson, who wrote the article in the Mandarin stating “Just as with many other issues in the workplace, paying attention to what staff of different generations really need can have significant benefits for the organisation as a whole.

Bottom line: if companies want to attain a winning edge in the future they will need to understand the generational forces of both their company and how to keep a multi-generational workforce. It’s better for they’re employees mental health and their clients who in all likelihood multi-generational.

I address everything above and much more in my new book, YOUR FUTURE IN PIECES – you can sign up for updates and see it here:

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The article I cited:


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