Millennials want to work on their own terms, prefer open-ended leadership giving them agency, are more likely to leave a job for a better opportunity elsewhere, and are strongly driven by compensation.
These are among the findings from Green House Data’s millennial IT worker survey.

“It was the trailblazing computer scientist Grace Hopper who said ‘It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission,’ and we hear this in tech circles all the time,” says Green House Data CEO Shawn Mills. “Millennials, for their part, seem to embody this spirit more fully than any other generation and if that’s what entitlement looks like, I’m all for it.”

Highlights of the survey include:

* Millennials look for the “Why?” and theory behind tasks which can come off as refusal or disobedience to non-millennials, but they just want context so they can think outside of the box.

* Millennials are very task-driven, so they do not care about being at work for eight hours, they care how much they get done, and much like entrepreneurs, they prefer to ask for forgiveness, not permission.

* Millennial entitlement in the workplace actually seems a myth because millennials simply don’t wait on gatekeepers (forgiveness), and they don’t seem to really care about seniority (tech, merit-based work), but they aren’t asking for more benefits or more PTO than older workers.

* Millennials mostly follow the money, whereas Boomers, X, and Y all want more vacation time and more flexible work.

However, boomers, Xers, Gen Y (BCY) workers have plenty in common with millennials: 62% of millennials and 91% of BXYers said they would stay at a job six years or more if they were generally content with the work and culture.

Both BXY and millennials ranked lack of opportunity and advancement as the top two reasons to leave a job they actually liked.

When given a choice between a job that pays $10 000.00 more annually or a job at an altruistic company (defined by strong commitment to sustainability, transparency, and community), millennials go where the money is, in an almost mirror image split with older workers (millennials 62% money, 38% altruistic vs. BXY 39%, 61%).

Millennials described themselves as less motivated by perks. Grappling with heavy debt loads and little to no nest egg, many are not in a position to take less money in order to work at a more socially or environmentally conscious employers.

This point ties back to the need for advancement, which would ostensibly translate into higher salaries.

Asked about job benefits, 43% of millennials identified retirement funds as an essential component. Comparatively, 64% of BXY workers insisted that paid time off (PTO) was the benefit they care about the most.

Asked which kind of manager they preferred, millennials were much more likely to choose attributes like self-direction, leading by example, long-term vision, and clear persuasion and feedback relating to tasks. Older generations, on the other hand, preferred team effort, professional development, and harmony.

Millennials are looking for a manager who is a pacesetter, leading by example with self-driven work and motivation. That doesn’t mean that you can leave them completely to their own devices, but rather that once they understand how their work supports the long-term direction, they are better able to work towards those goals. Specific task feedback is still highly valued.

Older generations tended to prefer a coach type of manager, someone who gives them what they need to succeed. They were more likely to choose a leader who rewarded team efforts rather than individual initiative.

Millennials and BXYers preferred the same leadership style, “coaching,” most often and the same style, “directive,” least often as defined by Daniel Coleman in Leadership That Gets Results: 42% of BXYers and 24% of Millennials chose the “coaching” leadership style which focuses on the long-term development of employees and a “what do you need to succeed?” approach that motivates through opportunities for professional development.

On the flip side, only 2% of BXYers and no millennials chose the “directive” style that focuses on compliance. A “do it the way I tell you,” approach is meant to motivate via discipline and threats and also rewards successfully completing tasks as requested.