Millennials will take a happier workplace over better pay

April 19, 2016

Millennials aren't necessarily working for the money.

When it comes to looking for a new job, a majority of young adults say a better quality of life at work is more important than a fatter salary, according to a survey out this month from Fidelity. In fact, 25- to 35-year-olds said they'd be willing to give up an average of $7,600 in pay for a better situation at the office, such as more career development and a healthier work/life balance.

And employers, take heed: Even though most Millennial employees are happy at work — 86% — nearly half are actively looking for a new job, or at least open to new opportunities.

The data point out just how far the country's largest workforce is willing to go in pursuit of a meaningful career over a cozy paycheck.

"The fact that today’s Millennial wants more control over their work/life balance shouldn’t be surprising to us given that these people have grown up in an era of somewhat instant answers," says John Sweeney, executive vice president of retirement and investing strategies at Fidelity. "They’re used to being able to find what they want fairly quickly."

Which means that if one job doesn't have what Millennial employees are looking for, they'll move on. That's what Laura Arnold did in 2011 after growing tired of the "soul-crushing" environment she experienced working as a paralegal at a real estate foreclosure law firm. The 31-year-old ended up leaving for a job in advertising and marketing that paid her the same salary as her paralegal gig, but offered a more positive workplace.

"I look for a role where work actually gets done and I’m challenged," says Arnold, who lives in Cincinnati. "Getting new skills and things you can take with you if things go south or you wanted to leave is really more valuable than an extra couple thousand dollars."

Other Millennials can relate. Chris Loos, 25, starts a new job Monday at a Santa Monica, Calif.,  tech company that will pay him up to $7,000 less a year than his previous job as a commission-based sales representative for Tyco Integrated Securityin Oakbrook, Ill. Yet he says, "I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited in my life about anything."

Loos took a job at Ring, a home security start-up, because it offered more opportunities for career growth, a younger office and a start-up culture.

"I wanted to be at a company that I can grow within and enjoy doing my work," he says.

Professional development is one of the key factors this age group looks for in evaluating job offers, the Fidelity data show. Paid time off and flexibility in work schedule are also top non-financial considerations.

"It’s a cultural shift," says Scott Dobroski, a spokesman for workplace review site Glassdoor. "If they do not see work/life balance where they can go out and learn about the world, (a better salary) does not interest them enough. They want to go and work somewhere where they are going to feel valued."

By: , USA TODAY

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