Young workers care more about job security than their elders do, according to a new survey comparing what millennials, Generation Xers and baby boomers value in a job.
The new survey, part of a larger report on millennials, gender and the workplace released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, defies popular perceptions of millennials as born entrepreneurs who shun the security of a steady job.
Pew found that 40% of millennials (ages 18 to 32) said job security was "extremely important" to them, compared with 38% of Gen Xers (33 to 48) and 31% of baby boomers. (49 to 67).
When it comes to entrepreneurship, "they do it to get into a permanent job. It's not that they like it," said Neil Howe, president of the consulting firm LifeCourse Associates and author of numerous books on millennials. "Millennials are trying to get on a surprisingly conventional lifestyle path."
Millennials put the very highest value on having a job they enjoy, with 50% calling it "extremely important," compared with 44% of Gen Xers and 38% of baby boomers, Pew found.
Millennials and Gen Xers put higher-than-average value on time off for family and child care needs, possibly because they are starting families or anticipating doing so, Pew researchers wrote. Millennials and Gen Xers are also more likely to seek opportunities for advancement, probably because they are earlier in their careers.
However, Pew found no clear differences from generation to generation in terms of whether people valued having good benefits. All three put a high paycheck low on their list, with 19% of millennials, 22% of Gen Xers and 17% of baby boomers calling it "extremely important."
The Pew survey was conducted in October and included more than 2,000 people. The findings about what generations value in a job were based on a smaller sample of 1,750 working adults.