The Millennial Report: Relocation is Key for Millennials
Ask any millennial what some of their top job priorities are and I can guarantee you that travel is somewhere near the top of their list. Unlike previous generations, millennials not only yearn for the chance to live and work in a different location, they often expect it.
Ask any millennial what some of their top job priorities are and I can guarantee you that travel is somewhere near the top of their list. Unlike previous generations, millennials not only yearn for the chance to live and work in a different location, they often expect it. And companies who wish to retain millennial talent are hard-pressed to oblige if they want to keep their workforce happy.
The birth and growth of the digital age has created an unspoken expectation among many millennials that they can, and should, have the opportunity to work and live in different places throughout their careers. This expectation of mobility is a direct result of how technology has made the world a smaller and more connected place, according to Brynne Herbert, the CEO of Move Guides, a company that provides employee mobility software for companies who need to relocate their workers.
While employee relocation has typically been reserved for senior-level employees who have “earned” the right to move away from home for their jobs, relocation is now a key factor in keeping millennials happy and focused in their current work environments. With the average millennial staying at his/her job for just two years, creating “tours of duty” in different corporate offices are a way for organizations to keep workers from jumping ship, according to Herbert.
“Historically, global mobility or travel mobility has been based on this idea of the “expatriot man” with his trailing spouse and two children,” said Herbert, in an interview with The VAR Guy. “Over the last five years as millennials have become a larger share of the workforce, we’ve seen the industry really shift … and that’s absolutely driven by millennials looking for jobs all over the country and all over the world.”
This trend among millennials is part of the generational yearning to find meaning separate from one’s financial well being, according to Herbert. While millennials certainly expect to be paid fairly for their work, they are also concerned with gathering life experience and in contributing to the community in which they work. This is due in part to the prevalence of social media and the perceived notion that global travel is not a reward, but a right of the 21st century worker.
“What we see is that millennials really want that experience of moving to a different location, sometimes a different culture, and acclimating to that,” said Herbert. “And they find that experience really rewarding.”
Unlike employees from Generation X and beyond, millennials are more concerned with gathering work experience early in their careers before they settle down, causing them to prioritize travel over starting a family. And because Baby Boomers and members of Generation X tended to live in much “smaller” worlds than millennials, they generally lacked the perception of creating a global network of coworkers and clients.
“In today’s day and age people know that having international connections or networks and cross cultural capabilities… does very much accelerate career development,” said Herbert. “I think that is another piece that factors into millennials’ decisions and desire to work in other offices within their own company or look for internships in other places.”
Even though millennials should be allowed to move to new locations to gain work experience, they also need to understand that relocation is not a given right for all workers. Being entrusted to live and work in a new location is a privilege, and millennials should treat it as such if they hope to be successful in their careers.
The Millennial Report is a weekly column by associate editor Michael Cusanelli, who graduated from Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism in 2013. He is an avid gamer and movie buff who spends nearly as much time concocting the perfect mix tape as he does writing. You can find him on Twitter @MCusanelliSB.