Young workers seek growth within the company and the freedom to be entrepreneurs outside of their daily work.
This is according to the latest report from Microsoft, which surveyed 20,000 employees from 11 countries.
Earlier this year, Microsoft found that 52% of young people surveyed, namely Gen Z and millennial workers, said they will likely consider changing employers this year.
But for companies hoping to retain these employees, not all hope is lost.
According to Microsoft, 73% of Gen Z and Millennials said they would stay longer in their jobs if it were easier to switch roles internally.
Younger workers are also more likely to stick around if their companies give them the flexibility to pursue “side trades” or businesses for additional income, Microsoft said.
Microsoft defines Gen Z as those between the ages of 18 and 26 and millennials as those between the ages of 27 and 41.
“With the Great Reshuffle, companies have been trying to hold on to the people they have,” Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365 and the future of work, told CNBC Make It in a virtual interview.
The Great Resignations, also known as the “Great Reshuffles”, refer to the exodus of workers during the pandemic. Employees quit their jobs for higher pay or what they perceived to be greener pastures.
“We are now seeing some settling [down]yet it is still a very tight labor market, ”Stallbaumer added.
“Learning requires departure”
One of the reasons employees change jobs is that they believe that “learning requires leaving,” the Microsoft report states.
The survey found that 55% of respondents change companies as they believe it is the “best way” to develop their skills.
“Organizations and business leaders need to think about using learning as a loyalty lever. Because if people are learning and growing, let’s face it: they will stay,” Stallbaumer said.
Two out of three employees have declared themselves available [they were willing] stay if it were easier to make a side shift to a role that offers new skills.
Notably, 73% of Gen Z and millennials said yes, compared to 65% of Gen X (ages 42 to 55).
According to LinkedIn, learning and growth opportunities were also seen as the # 1 engine in 2022. 1 of a great work culture, compared to 2019, when it was at no. 9.
Employee growth was “deprived of priority” during the pandemic, according to Stallbaumer, as companies focused on “trying to keep the doors open.”
“If you think about the experience we have all had collectively in recent years, there is no doubt that people work harder,” he added.
“Now is the time … for organizations to stop, stop and think about how they are helping people grow and learn new skills?”
This requires a mindset shift for companies: start thinking of the internal workforce as a market, Stallbaumer added.
“How do you help people think about internal mobility … [to be] more like a career playground, rather than a career ladder you’re just climbing? “
Make room for aspirations
The pandemic has also changed what employees want from work and life, Stallbaumer said.
“We’ve seen their values change, we’ve seen people prioritize well-being and a sense of purpose … and how work fits into their lives.”
According to Stallbaumer, this is why younger employees are pursuing more and more aspirations outside of work, such as side jobs, the creative economy and entrepreneurship.
Microsoft’s report found that younger generations are more likely to aspire to be their own boss: 76% of Gen Z and millennials said this is a goal, compared to 63% of those who are Gen X and older.
This is why flexibility continues to be an important consideration for young workers.
Of Generation Z and millennial employees surveyed, 77 percent said they are more likely to stay in their current job if given the flexibility to pursue side projects for additional revenue, Microsoft said.