It’s a little counter-intuitive, but it generally tends to be true that the more employees work, the less they earn. For example, take two equally skilled people who receive the same annual salary without the opportunity to collect overtime pay. If one puts in more hours than the other, then he makes less money per hour than his colleague. 

But recent research suggests that there’s an exception: when employees work significantly more hours early in their career, it pays off in the long-run, Dr. Dora Gicheva, an assistant professor at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, found. 

Gicheva’s research showed that for employees who worked more than 47 hours per week, every five additional hours were associated with a one percent increase in annual wage growth. In other words, employees had to go way above and beyond the 40-hour work week, as the finding wasn’t true for people who worked 47 hours or less per week. 

Gicheva conducted the study using GMAT Registrant Survey results, which were collected over the course of seven years from almost 2,000 U.S. workers. She emphasized that the findings were especially true for young professionals. 

Many millennials today, maybe even the ones that work for you, put in these kinds of long hours. But more money isn’t necessarily their primary motivation. If you want to retain your millennials in the long-run but can’t necessary promise a set amount of annual wage growth, there are a few things you can do. 

First, discourage your employees from burning themselves out. Many studies have shown that long hours can be counter-productive. And second, remember that any rewards offered in addition to a fair wage can be non-monetary. 

A new study found that when you bring up the topic of pay, it becomes your employee’s primary concern. Rather than go there, first emphasize all of the non-monetary rewards you can offer like invaluable experience, schedule flexibility, and the opportunity to move up the company ladder.