Millennials have the upper hand at work right now

 Gen Z may get ample attention for their workplace demands, but millennials are the ones betting big on a new era of work. 

Two-thirds of bosses recently surveyed by software company WorkJam said millennials are providing the highest churn rate at their companies. While the survey only polled 72 executives, they oversee firms that employ more than 400,000 workers. 

Companies are primarily losing their millennial workers to “a growing disconnect between head office and their front line,” Mark Williams, a WorkJam managing director, told Bloomberg. “Employees don’t feel heard and appreciated.”

These results dovetail with a recent Axios poll that found millennials wanted to work remotely more than any other generation—84% versus 75% of Gen X, 68% of baby boomers, and 66% of Gen Z.

It’s partly why they’re quitting; more than half of millennials (57%) told Axios they’d likely switch to a job with more flexible remote work options, even if it meant taking a pay cut. That’s more than 40% of workers overall and 49% of Gen Zers who said the same.

Employers desperate for an in-office workforce and employees who have found balance, ease, and productivity in remote work have remained at something of a stalemate for over a year now. But mid-level workers, on the hunt for flexibility and fed up with their workload, seem to have the upper hand. 

Millennials have more work on their plates

This new data backs up last year’s findings from people analytics firm Visier, which found quit rates were consistently the highest among mid-career employees between 30 and 45 years old. 

“While turnover is typically highest among younger employees, over the last year, resignations actually decreased for workers in the 20 to 25 age range, likely due to a combination of their greater financial uncertainty and reduced demand for entry-level workers,” Ian Cook, vice president of people analytics at Visier, said at the time. But, he added, many millennial employees may have “simply reached a breaking point” after so many months of sustained pressure, leading them to rethink their work and life goals. 

That’s likely because millennials, more often than their younger or older counterparts, are left picking up extra work when others head for the door. 

In the past few years, many millennials have reached senior leadership levels at work, which puts them in the unfortunate position of shoring up extra responsibilities and taking on tasks outside of their job description when a company is short-staffed. A UiPath survey from last month found that 83% of workers globally have had to do just that. 

Of course, millennials aren’t the only ones seeking greener pastures. Gen Z has also been credited with the spike in quits as they leave their roles en masse after a rapidly shortening tenure. They’re in search of a better work-life balance, companies that pay greater attention to DEI, and the option to work remotely

Reasons for leaving a job tend to hold steady across generational divides, Fortune reported last month, citing a Deloitte study. Like older generations, Gen Z and millennial workers said the reasons they’d most likely quit a job are low pay, burnout, lack of flexibility, lack of appreciation, mental health concerns, and frustration with slow career progression. 

But all the recent research suggests millennials are slightly edging out Gen Z (and Gen X) in their demands for a changing workplace. That means it’s the middle managers employers need to worry about.

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