Millennials Face 18-Month Job Switch Itch, Says PWC Chief Purpose Officer

Guest blog by Dave Armon

Despite warnings that millennials are only interested in saving the world, recent college graduates are actually focused almost exclusively on getting their first job, says the chief purpose officer of accounting giant Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The urge by Generation Y to do more than earning a paycheck does not manifest itself in dramatic fashion until 18 months into a new position, when they get itchy to change jobs, Shannon Schuyler told attendees at the GreenBiz sustainability conference in Phoenix.

“Is sitting in this cube all that my life will be about?” is the question asked after a year and a half, said Schuyler. Seventy percent of PwC’s 224,000-person workforce are Millennials.

Millennials with tenure of three years are another distinct group, said Schuyler.  It’s at that point when workers begin to “make their role purposeful and start to have an idea of what the organization is really trying to do.” Causes that have resonated deeply with employees include the Syrian refugee and ebola epidemic.

Regarding communicating to all three segments of Millennials—new hires, those contemplating a move after 18 months, and those in their role for three years—Schuyler admitted to failures in relying on social media over other mediums.  

“The problem is, we’ve been communicating with one message, saying, ‘Oh, you guys want to save the world. We’ll help you figure out how to save the world,’” she said. “They’re not listening.”

A hybrid approach to Millennial communications has worked better.  

They want important discussions about their career progression and performance feedback in-person rather than online, said Schuyler, adding that other content needs to be online so Millennials can access it 24/7.

“They’re technology savvy, but they don’t use that as a means to not have personal interaction.  They use that as means to have personal interaction with people who are sitting further away,” said Schuyler, adding the findings are the same for Millennials across the world, including minorities.

In addition to her focus on the Millennials segment of PwC’s workforce, Schuyler and her Purpose team are working alongside senior management building new services and practice areas, ensuring that “responsible business leadership” is emphasized at all levels of work and delivery.  She cited the firm’s work in food safety and crisis management as examples.

Dave Armon is Chief Marketing Officer, 3BL Media

Photo: Jay Mantri, CreativeCommons