The Millennial – What is More Important Than Money?

Jan 25, 2021

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

There are fundamental differences that shape each generation. Pronounced differences can be observed in every generation’s political views, life-shaping behaviours like what age one is likely to get married, values, and even what is deemed as necessary in life and at work. Like all generations before and after them, the millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) too exhibit certain workplace traits – they are ambitious, possess professional confidence, and are achievement-oriented. Also, they are a generation that values and prioritizes fulfilment and purpose at work over money.

Is money not important to millennials?

Money has been necessary to every generation – even to the millennials, but the attitude toward money changes with each generation.

Every generation has a unique approach to savings, investments, and money. For example, the traditionalists (those born until 1946) watched every penny they spent and detested waste. Baby boomers (1946 to 1964) grew up watching their parents being thrifty and therefore had a “make do or mend” attitude. Generation X, on the other hand, is known to be the biggest spenders.

For millennials, being sociable and having fun are more important than money.

What does the millennial want from the workplace?

Millennials were brought up believing that they could achieve anything they wanted. They are a motivated generation but ambitious as well. So, working merely for the sake of taking home a pay packet is not enough for them.

Millennials are the first generation to believe in a work-life balance. A healthy lifestyle and family are as important as work. Social priorities are as important as professional ones. Here are some qualities that are far more important than money to a millennial at the workplace.

  1. A job that satisfies a purpose

Unlike previous generations that were satisfied with merely punching in from 9 to 5, Millennials want to work at a job that fulfills a higher purpose.  They are driven to invent new things, provide community service, and even help those in need as long as they can make a positive difference in the world. They are willing to take on a job that offers less pay if that job gives them a sense of purpose and meaning.

  1. Freedom at the workplace

Millennials do not want to be held accountable for every move that they make at the workplace. They need flexibility and freedom – like the freedom to work from home some of the time. They do well when they are given the freedom to work the way they prefer to work – as long as the job gets done. In short, they want trust and respect in the workplace.

  1. A work-life balance

Millennials are very conscious about maintaining a strict work-life balance. No longer is work seen as just a career – it is their life as well. To have a fulfilling life, the millennial looks for a job position that seamlessly integrates with their schedule.

Chat tools and social media – essential parts of the millennial’s life means that this generation is always connected, talking, and on the go. This switched-on attitude that is a prominent feature of millennials overlaps with work too. So, they seek out jobs that don’t categorize personal life separate from professional life but instead offer a true work-life balance. That is one of the top priorities when searching for a job.

Millennials also want to be able to prioritize family and adjust schedules to account for their family.

  1. An alignment of personal and organizational goals

It’s critical to the millennial that an organization’s goals are aligned with or in tune with their personal goals. No amount of money can make the millennial submit or yield to an organization’s goals if they don’t honestly believe in them.

A LinkedIn study found that over 85% of millennials were ready to take a pay cut if they could work in a company that held the same values as their own.

Every generation is unique – some characteristics overlap generations.  For millennials is not all about the money. Companies recognize this need. With millennials making up most of the workforce, companies understand that they must adjust their policies to ensure their employees are satisfied. With Gen Z making up over 20% of the global workforce, companies are now considering this generation’s needs.


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