Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Myths & Truths about Millennials in the Workplace

Understand the complexities of the millennial workforce to foster better collaboration and leadership in the modern workplace.
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Millennials in the workplace are now the norm, and understanding their motivations and habits is crucial for success.

According to the data collected by the Pew Research Center, in 2016, millennials became the largest and most influential group in the labor market.

One in three workers was a millennial, 35% of the labor force. By 2025, it’s expected that millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.

They no longer influence trends but set them.

However, not all of them are in the same boat. Even though they might have some broad, general characteristics as a group, not all millennials have the same attitude towards work.

In fact, if we segment them further, we get the following subgroups:

  • The Muted Millennials (28%) – focus on rules and are risk-averse. This subgroup tends to work hard, but most haven’t found their dream job.
  • Moralist Middles (23%) – 58% are female, and 53% are religious. They have high respect for the law and are dedicated to repaying their college debt.
  • The Supremes (20%) – are the youngest group, mostly privileged and high achieving. Their focus is on setting trends, tech advancements, and academic achievements.
  • Alt Idealists (18%) – cause-oriented and concentrate on carving their own path in their private and professional life. This subgroup is very creative and likely to open up a small business.
  • Beta Dogs (11%) – skews male and 44% Hispanic. They don’t tend to work hard, but they want to make money.

Moreover, employers need to consider that millennials share their workspace with other generational groups with their own specific interests and motivations.

Are Millennials the Job Hopper Generation?

The first study that gave millenials their nickname “The Job-Hopping Generation” was done in 2016 by Gallup.

It was determined that this age group doesn’t show any particular loyalty to companies, brands, or organizations and that this professional lifestyle is costing the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

However, is the situation the same in 2022? Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and the “Great Resignation” across all industries?

It turns out that millennials are job-hopping at a slower rate than their previous generational counterparts at the same age. And their job-hopping ways might have been just a marker of youth and not a generational characteristic.

Do Millennials Work Hard?

According to Fit Small Business’s study from 2016, millennials were less willing to work hard at their jobs than other generations. Thankfully, it turns out that this is also a common myth.

Because they grew up with the internet and are prone to using technology to their advantage, millennials have many useful skills. They are dedicated to proving their worth in the workplace.

In fact, millennials are skilled at getting the same job done in less time because of their out-of-the-box thinking.

Can Millennials Handle Criticism?

Only 17.6% of millennials would leave their job because of a mean boss, compared to 19.3% of people ages 35+. Thus, as a generation, they’re not too sensitive to criticism or unable to handle tougher work environments.

According to a whitepaper by Namely, 80% of millennials prefer to receive more frequent feedback in real-time that can be delivered on their phones.

They’re willing to put in long hours and hard work, but they want the recognition, praise, and compensation that comes with it. They’re eager to learn, develop, and flexible to change when provided with clear and specific feedback.

Millennials & Startup Culture

The relationship between millennials and startups is a complicated one, and as we said above, this age group tends to be more diverse in their wants and needs.

As you can see from the data displayed on the Rasmussen College infographic, 60% of millennials would choose entrepreneurship instead of a corporate career.

Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise that one in three would recommend joining a startup instead of finishing college, even though millennials are the most educated generation in history.

The reason for this fondness of startups is not always (or only) motivated by financial gain:

  • 69% want more freedom,
  • 66% want to choose their own projects,
  • 62% want to control their work.

However, there is another side to millennials and the workplace: employee benefits. 34% of millennials and 40% of everyone else choose health care as the most important. Second, on the list is vacation time.  

Millennials in the workplace are charting a new course, one that’s focused on more flexibility, transparency, and entrepreneurship.

Written by shortlister editorial team


  • “Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force” by Richard Fry I Pew Research Center
  • Study “Millennials in the Workplace – Which Stereotypes are True?” by Christy Hopkins I Fit Small Businesses
  • “What’s Your Workplace Language? How Millennials Are Reshaping Office Culture?” by Kate Peters | Forbes
  • “The (Millennial) Workplace of the Future Is Almost Here” by Peter Economy | Inc.
  • “Millennial Monday: Generation Y’s Divisions and Subgroups” by Annie Johnson | Atlantic Webworks
  • “Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation” by Amy Adkins | Gallup
  • “Millennials, Gen Z are job-hopping, but contrary to popular belief, maybe not enough” by
    Samantha Subin | CNBC
  • “A Guide to Millennials’ Work Ethic” by Indeed Editorial Team
  • Whitepaper by Namely: “Reinventing the Performance Review: The 5 Forces that are Changing Employee Performance Appraisals”
  • “Why Millennials Are Choosing Startups Over Corporations” by Anna Thorsen | Valuer
  • “Why the Millennial Generation is Choosing Entrepreneurial Freedom” | Miva
  • “The Geography of Millennial Talent” by Richard Florida | Bloomberg

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