Recent College Grads Have Super-High Expectations When It Comes To Work

Do you consider the ability to make personal calls at work a deal-breaker when it comes to accepting a job? A new study finds that 23% of recent college grads would reject a job where they couldn’t make and take personal phone calls, and almost as many would turn down a job where personal email was banned. Maybe they need those phone calls and emails to chat with their next employer: 91% said they would leave a job within a year if they didn’t like it. But don’t worry, the study was more than just another reason for Millennial-bashing.

“With social media, this generation can see everything their peers are doing. So they feel like they have to move more often to keep up with where their friends and classmates are,” Janette Marx, senior VP of the staffing firm Adecco Group North America, which conducted the survey of more than 500 recent four-year college grads, told the Wall Street Journal. The study found only 3% said they expected to stay at any single job for more than five years.

I really do want to avoid Millennial-bashing here. For one, I was born in 1980, so I only have one toe out that generation myself. But also because, as The Grindstone’s Lindsay Cross pointed out earlier this week, it’s not a monolithic generation, and plenty of Millennials are hard-working, serious career types who don’t need personal phone-call time in order to work.

However, I will just neutrally observe that this new research comports with a recent MTV survey of Millennials that found this generation requires an unusual amount of special privileges on the job, even if they’re a the bottom of the totem pole: 70% say they require “me time” at work, compared to just 39% of Baby Boomers, for example.

These are extremely high expectations to have in a job market in which more than 13% of 20- to 24-year-olds are unemployed. But when it comes to what they do want in a job, recent college grads have their feet on the ground: Their top priority is health benefits, followed by job security. Surprisingly, earning a high salary was way down at #5, after “opportunities for growth and development” and “work/life flexibility.” In other words, this is an ambitious generation that values stability and growth over money. And that doesn’t sound so bad at all.

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