It probably doesn't come as any shock to you that millennials lack loyalty -- the generation of workers aged 18-35 are infamous for being a bunch of job hoppers. But the extent of the problem as revealed by a recent survey might surprise you.
When Deloitte spoke to 7,700 young workers across the world about their career plans recently, millennial talent kept telling the consultancy the same thing over and over again -- I'm going to quit. An incredible 44 percent plan to leave in the next two years. Two-out-of three millennial employees hope to be out of the door by 2020.
With small variations (millennial parents are a bit more loyal, young folks in the developing world are even more apt to leave, etc.) this held true across countries and subgroups of the generation (sorry, even millennials in senior roles are prone to quitting).
Why young people want to leave your company
If you're an employer who relies on young talent, those could be some pretty scary statistics. At least they are if you feel powerless to do anything but throw up your hands in the face of millennial disloyalty (which is exactly what some experts recommend, though more on that later). But thankfully, the Deloitte report actually offers some actionable insight into why many millennials move on, which might help you keep your talent.
One top complaint of millennials with itchy feet is that their leadership talents aren't being developed by their employer. A full 63 percent who spoke to Deloitte felt this way. Plus, there was a massive gap in this area between those hoping to leave in the next two years and those planning to stay past 2020 -- 71 percent of those eyeing the exit reported they were unhappy with how their leadership skills were being developed, while just 54 percent of millennials planning to stick around said the same.
And as the executive summary of the research notes, this isn't something employers are getting markedly better at. "Little progress is being made in this area," it says.
The takeaway is pretty obvious: if you want the best possible shot at keeping your top young employees, you need to offer them a visible ladder to reach the next step up in their careers, with all the training and mentorship that entails. If they can't see a way to keep climbing, they're highly likely to bail.
Or maybe don't bother?
Of course, putting in the effort to keep your young talent is contingent on you judging that's a worthy goal. Not everyone feels that way. Superbosses author and Dartmouth professor Sydney Finkelstein insists in his book that focusing too much on retention isn't the smart play.
The best leaders still do all they can to development talent, he insists, but they waste little energy trying to convince their best employees to stick around. Instead, confident that they can attract more top caliber talent, so-called "superbosses" see these departures as inevitable and feel company alumni can benefit the organization as ambassadors and perhaps future collaborators.
So ponder that before you panic -- you can try to keep your team together, but that's not your only option if you think it's a losing battle. You can also go "superboss" and simply smile and ask your young employees to stay in touch when they head for the door.
Do you think companies are doing enough to develop millennial talent or are young employees expecting too much?