Millennials are Choosing Purpose Over Paycheck

And work culture is shifting to meet them

Thrive Global
Feb 2, 2017 · 3 min read
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It may be no surprise to hear that Millennial consumers and employees are pushing companies to prioritize meaning over profit. A global survey of 26,000 LinkedIn members by Imperative recently found that 74% of candidates want a job where they feel like their work matters, meaning that a sense of purpose may be the biggest job incentive in the current environment. The idealism of today’s younger generations was also investigated by the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, which found that 87% believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance” and 73% believe businesses can have a positive impact on wider society. These numbers — compounded with the statistics that Millennials consider businesses to be underperforming by 10% at improving livelihoods and 12% at providing social/environmental benefit — show that companies need to prioritize purpose to attract the majority of this generation.

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This growing popularity of business-centered social change initiatives is seen in the one-for-one business models of Warby Parker and TOMS, the sustainability focus of The Honest Company, and the grassroots organizing emphasis of By supporting these companies financially, as well as applying to work for them, Millennials are shaping a purpose driven lifestyle and the larger work culture is shifting to meet them.


a.) Little Workplace Loyalty
Deloitte found that two-thirds of Millennials want to leave their organization by 2020. Companies need to figure out how to nurture loyalty amongst these employees in order to stay relevant; The key may be fostering a meaningful internal work culture.

  • 64 percent of Millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love than $100K a year at a job they think is boring — Intelligence Group, 2014
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b.) More Ways than One
Millennials are less impressed by the scale and reputation of a company than generations past, but what do they value? It turns out they want companies to focus on the wellbeing of people, whether through creating jobs, ensuring their goods have a positive impact, and improving the lives of employees by giving them skills, wellbeing, and income.

  • More than 70 percent of Millennials globally expect their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems — “Deloitte, The Millennial Survey 2014: Big Demands and High Expectations, 2014

c.) Women-Run Businesses
A growing number of women-run businesses are an example of the purpose over paycheck trend, as women are attracted to working and supporting each other in the fight against larger gender inequality in the world. According to a report commissioned by American Express OPEN, the number of women-owned firms bringing in $10 million or more annually has increased by 57% just in the past decade.

This is an excerpt from The Female Quotient Modern Guide To Equality. You can download the entire guide here.

Thrive Global

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