PwC Study Confirms and Dispels Myths About Millennial Workers

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PwC study confirms and dispels myths about millennial workers

Evolving talent strategies necessary to match the realities of today’s workforce

NEW YORK, April 17, 2013—A new report released today, PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study, reveals that enhancing workplace flexibility and equity between work and home is one of the keys to improving job satisfaction among Millennials.  According to the report, while younger workers are more tech-savvy, globally focused, informal, and willing to share information, they do not feel more entitled or less committed than their non-Millennial counterparts, and are willing to work just as hard. PwC’s NextGen is one of the largest, most comprehensive studies into the attitudes and behaviors of the Millennial generation.

“The Millennial generation is pushing organizations to the work world many of them want,” said Terri McClements, Vice Chair and US Human Capital Leader at PwC. “Those organizations that pay attention to this seismic change and adapt accordingly should find themselves at a competitive advantage and better positioned to retain the talent they work so hard to attract. We have always paid close attention to the needs of our people, but this study gives us better insight to deliver on our strategy of engaging them.”

PwC predicts that by 2016, almost 80 percent of its workforce will be composed of Millennials. The study sought to measure factors relating to workplace retention, loyalty, and job satisfaction and compared responses among Millennials to non-Millennials at the same stage of their careers so that generational differences would be the primary differentiator between the two sets of employees.  In addition to assisting the firm in better understanding the needs of its own workforce, PwC’s NextGen study has the potential to help organizations across a wide range of industries create an exceptional experience for their customers, employees and other stakeholders by identifying the elements that drive satisfaction among Millennials.

The research, which was conducted in conjunction with the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and the London Business School, represents some of the most ambitious research into the generation born between 1980 and 1995, commonly referred to as the Millennial generation or “Generation Y.”  The study included responses from 44,000 employees throughout PwC’s global network of professional services firms, with almost one quarter of the responses coming from Millennials. The research, compilation, and analysis of its findings took place over a two-year timeframe.

Among the major findings of PwC’s NextGen study:

  • Millennial and non-Millennial employees alike want greater options in their work hours and location.
    Millennials and non-Millennials alike want the option to shift their work hours to accommodate their own schedule and are interested in working in locations outside the office where they can stay connected by way of technology. Employees across all generations say they would be willing to forego some pay and delay promotions in exchange for reducing their hours.

–       Given the opportunity, 64% of Millennials (and 66% of non-Millennials) would like to occasionally work from home, and 66% of Millennials (and 64% of non-Millennials) would like the option to occasionally shift their work hours.

–       Across the board, 15% of male employees and 21% of female employees say they would give up some of their pay and slow the pace of promotion in exchange for working fewer hours.


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  • Millennials put a premium on work/life flexibility.

Unlike past generations who put an emphasis on their careers and worked well beyond a 40-hour work week in the hope of rising to the well-compensated ranks of a company later on, Millennial employees are not convinced that such early-career sacrifices are worth the potential rewards. A balance between their personal and work lives is what is most important to them.

“The compelling nature of this research supports PwC’s mission to create value for our stakeholders, including one of the most critical — our people. By understanding their motivations and preferences, we can continue to enhance our communications, culture and their experience working at PwC, which better enables them to deliver quality service to the stakeholders we serve,” said Bob Moritz, PwC’s US Chairman and Senior Partner.

About PwC’s NextGen Study

Working with researchers at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and London Business School, PwC conducted a comprehensive study of its global workforce, one of the largest undertakings of its kind. Some 44,000 online surveys were completed anonymously by PwC employees in 18 global territories, across all of the firm’s business lines and by employees from all generations. Researchers also completed more than 300 interviews, both one-on-one and in focus groups, and more than 1,000 Millennials participated in an online social media “jam” in which they shared their perspectives and opinions on a range of workplace and career issues. To pinpoint and compare findings between Millennials and non-Millennials, a sub-set of employees at the same career stage (9,120 Millennials and 4,030 non-Millennials at the senior associate and manager levels) was culled from the larger research for subsequent analysis. The news release specifically compares those results.

About PwC US

PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they’re looking for.  We’re a member of the PwC network of firms in 158 countries with more than 180,000 people.  We’re committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.  Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com/US.

Learn more about PwC by following us online: @PwC_LLP, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google +.

© 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

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