Young Workers Demand More from Employers

London (UK), July 2024 - A new Workforce Readiness report from Cornerstone, in partnership with Lighthouse Research, has uncovered a concerning lack of confidence among UK employees. Nearly half (45%) of those queried said they do not think they have the right support and resources to adapt to changing work conditions.

Millennial employees are the most likely to quit their jobs within the next three to six months, and seven out of ten feel their employer does not support employee growth and development. In fact, the report clearly indicates that Millennials feel disconnected from the people for whom they work.

Interestingly, employee confidence in the training they receive appears to differ by age group - significantly in some cases. For instance, Millennials are 20% less likely than their Gen Z counterparts to feel they receive the right types of training to do their jobs well. This, however, was not the only stark contrast between these two adjacent demographics. In fact, despite being so close in age, Millennials appear more likely to harbour negative feelings towards their employers.

The pace of change in recent years is undeniable, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that three-quarters of UK employees strive to keep their skills up to date. There seems, though, to be a sense that employers are not matching this energy.

The vast majority (69%) of Millennials feel their employer does not support the growth and development of their employees. By comparison, less than half (47%) of Gen Z employees agree. UK Millennials also appear to feel more misaligned with their employers, with 60% feeling that when their company changes priorities, they’re the last to know about it. Notably, this is twice as many as Gen Z.

However, despite appearing to feel somewhat overlooked, Millennials have the most communication with their managers, with nearly half (42%) having spoken to their manager in the past three months. Here, it is Boomers who lag behind, and this cohort is three times more likely than UK Millennials and Gen Z to say that their manager hasn’t talked with them about their work skills in the past year. This begs the questions of whether employers are failing to tap into the potential of the older generations of workers and whether Boomers actually want to be tapped into.

The research found that, whilst the overwhelming majority of Gen Zs (93%) and Millennials (80%) think about the future when they do their jobs, the same can be said for only 44% of Boomers, who appear relatively disinterested in the future.

However, this doesn’t necessarily equate with discontentment. In fact, Boomers are least likely to be considering quitting and are most likely to be content in their roles. By comparison, Millennials are the most likely to quit their jobs in the next three to six months: at 59%, this is compared with 50% of Gen Z, 43% of Gen X.

There seems to be more restlessness among the younger generations of employees. Many factors could be driving this, such as higher expectations of employers and the developmental opportunities they should be offering.

Being at earlier stages in their careers, Gen Zs and Millennials may also just have different ambitions, perhaps being more interested in climbing the ladder than Boomers, who have likely already climbed it. As such, leaders will need to offer the right training and growth opportunities to combat the job-hopping culture to which many younger workers seem attracted.

Securing employee buy-in for their own professional development is key, and keeping things fresh and exciting will be a huge part of this. Employers can explore new, future ways of learning such as AI, AR and VR. The good news is, many employees seem eager and curious about this:

  • 60% of UK workers in the Baby Boomer generation are interested in learning enhanced by AI or virtual reality.
  • 67% of UK Millennials would be interested in using either AI or VR for learning purposes, the highest of any generation.
  • Gen X workers are the generation most interested in AI-enabled learning (about 33% higher than Millennials).

Encouraging employees to continue to learn and develop themselves will be crucial in closing the workforce readiness gap. In fact, the research found that UK employees who receive the right types of training are three times more likely to be able to adapt to changing workplace conditions; twice as likely to rate themselves as highly adaptable to change; and three times more likely to express satisfaction with their jobs - with no plans to quit.