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What do millennials want in the workplace?

There are a lot of generalisations around younger people, but a new study by the American Research Institute for Policy Development has yielded some interesting results.

The study was geared towards younger people entering the job market, and sought to identify the particular positions that are attractive to a millennial job seeker.

The study

As part of the study, participants were asked to take a look at an example job posting, with varying conditions depending on the participant, and then rate how attracted they were to the job.

For the purposes of the study, ‘Millennial’ was taken to mean adults born between 1980 and 1995, but focused on those just entering the market, with participants numbering 71 female and 95 male college students.

Previous studies indicated that job advancement and work-life balance were both important to millennials.

The hypothesis was that millennial candidates would typically prefer roles that had better work-life balance and where there were more chances for job advancement.

The findings

Unsurprisingly, results showed that participants who received a job posting that indicated a higher work-life balance were far more likely to be attracted to the role. Job postings with a lower work-life balance were less attractive to applicants.

Interestingly, however, there was virtually no significant difference between job postings indicating high job growth opportunities and those with less chance for growth.

Evidently, the popular idea of the work-life balance being common amongst millennials has been confirmed by the results of the study, and clearly it is more important to participants than the idea of professional progression.

The results could generate significant insight for companies looking to recruit the best millennial talent to their workforce. When posting job openings, promoting a healthy work-life balance is likely to attract the strongest candidates, even above the promise of professional development opportunities.

According to recent figures, millennials are now beginning to become the majority in the workplace, which means that any company looking to strengthen itself for the future should consider adapting their hiring practices in order to attract the best young talent.


Buzza, J.S. (2017). Are you living to work or working to live? What millennials want in the workplace. Journal of Human Resources Management and Labor Studies, 5(2) 15-20. DOI: 10.15640/jhrmls.v5n2a3

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