Millennials Want Happiness More Than Money at Work

This generation prefers a more meaningful workplace than better pay.

April 15, 2016

NEW YORK CITY – Millennials value happiness at work more than a higher paycheck, USA Today reports. A new survey from Fidelity finds that 25- to 35-year-olds would give up $7,600 in pay on average for a better experience at the office, such as a good work-life balance or a focus on career development.

Most millennials are currently happy at work—86%—but close to 50% are either looking for a different position or open to changing jobs. “The fact that today’s millennial wants more control over their work/life balance shouldn’t be surprising to us given that these people have grown up in an era of somewhat instant answers,” said John Sweeney, executive vice president of retirement and investing strategies at Fidelity. “They’re used to being able to find what they want fairly quickly.”

If a job isn’t meeting their needs beyond a paycheck, millennials have proven they will leave for a position that does, even if it means a cut in salary. “I look for a role where work actually gets done and I’m challenged,” said Laura Arnold, a 31-year-old who left a law firm for an advertising position. “Getting new skills and things you can take with you if things go south or you wanted to leave is really more valuable than an extra couple thousand dollars.”

Millennials also look for professional development opportunities in a job, as well as flexible work schedules and paid time off. “It’s a cultural shift,” said Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor spokesman. “If they do not see work/life balance where they can go out and learn about the world, [a better salary] does not interest them enough. They want to go and work somewhere where they are going to feel valued.”