For my AL colleagues – Nothing different here. However, you knew that.

Posted On February 13, 2017

I’ve written a lot in this space about what millennials are looking for in a workplace as they start their careers. Since millennials are now the largest segment of the American workforce, employers would be wise to listen to what they value in a workplace.

Flexible work hours, a stimulating work environment, a healthy work-life balance, and the opportunity to make a difference in the world are all important attributes to millennials, as countless studies and surveys have shown.

But when asked which benefits are most important when searching for a job, respondents to a recent survey of Alabama millennials commissioned by were decidedly old-school in their answer.

The No. 1 response, listed by just over 81 percent of the more than 3,000 millennials who responded to the survey, was competitive pay.

Respondents in the survey, which was conducted by University of Alabama professor Susan Fant, were allowed to give more than one answer. So a positive work environment (74 percent), healthy work-life balance (72 percent) and flexible work hours (65 percent) were all listed by a strong majority of respondents, along with good healthcare benefits (64 percent) and career advancement opportunities (60 percent).

Fant’s white paper also included specific responses of workplace desires that adhered more closely to what we might expect to hear from millennials: avoiding micromanagement; the presence of caring, intelligent superiors; and work that gives one a sense of accomplishment. The words “community” and “passionate” were present in many responses.

Pointing to these responses, Fant noted that employers would be wise to highlight their community involvement and stewardship when recruiting employees. They should strive to develop good relationships with their employees and create and advertise a positive work environment.

With 21 percent of the respondents saying they only planned to stay in their current job for a year, employee retention remains a concern.

All of these things are important, of course – and not just to millennials. Strong managers, a positive work environment, flexible hours, a sense of accomplishment and the opportunity for advancement are things that are important to just about everyone, no matter the job and no matter their age.

But the big takeaway from this survey is that money still talks. All of those other things are important, desirable, maybe even deal-breakers. But no matter how flexible the hours are, how great the boss is, how passionate an employee may feel about the work, nobody’s working for free. And nobody wants to work for less than they’re worth, either.

Categories: Generation Y / Millennials, Work, Workplace