Millennials More Likely To Be Replaced By Automation Than Older Generations
According to new research from Gallup, 67% of millennials are likely to lose their jobs due to automation sometime in the future.
Breaking down the numbers: 37% of millennials have a high risk of losing their jobs, while an additional 30% are at medium risk.
This is higher than the employment risk that their parents and grandparents face, as you can see in the chart below.
Of course, this should not come as a surprise given that millennials are at the beginning of their working lives, while boomers are at the tail-end—millennials are simply exposed to much more risk.
These numbers are fairly well-reflected in millenial’s job expectations, or at least their fears. Some 34% of millennials are afraid of their work being offshored or automated.
This is lower than I would have expected, to be frank.
With that data in mind, is the fear warranted? Should millennials worry about their job security due to offshoring and automation?
When it comes to offshoring, yes. Definitely.
As for automation, no—or at least the situation is more complicated.
As we’ve shown in a previous article: automation doesn’t cause job loss. The reason automation gets a bad name is because many in the media spin the numbers without considering all angles: they forget the other side of the equation, namely output growth.
Automation is actually a good thing, it’s how economies grow in the long run. It’s what makes us rich and prosperous.
Also, automation is nothing new: we’ve been automating for the last 1,000 years, and we have yet to experience mass unemployment—even during the Industrial Revolution, when things changed even faster than they are changing now.
History gives us room for optimism.
Millennials Change Jobs 3 Times More Than Older Generations, But Not Because They Hate Their Jobs
The Gallup study also shed some light on millennials’ working habits, and employment trends—this data will become increasingly important, since millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce.
What they do, and how they act, matters.
Interestingly, 21% of millennials changed jobs at least once in the last year. This is three times more than either Generation X or Baby Boomers.
The high rate of job transition can partly be explained by the fact that millennials are young, and are still choosing their careers—they’re not fully settled yet.
However, there’s more to it than that.
Millennials are (as of now) less willing to settle for jobs they’re not passionate about.
Fully half of all working millennials expect to change jobs sometime within the next year. And no, this isn’t because they “hate their jobs” (although I’m sure many of them do)—job satisfaction among millennials is no less than for older generations.
Instead, it seems that millennials are searching for the “right fit” as opposed to stable employment.
Surprisingly, millennials actually report greater satisfaction with their earnings than do gen-Xers or boomers, despite the fact that they make significantly less (and sadly, much less than their parents did at their age).
Overall, they are also more satisfied with their benefits, bosses, and amount of work they’re required to do—this is surprising data.
Check out the rest of the differences below.
Again, much of this ca be explained by the fact that millennials are relatively new to the workforce.
For example, millennials are probably more satisfied with their benefits and retirement plans because retirement’s far away, and they’re still young and healthy.
The main take away is that, according to this research, there isn’t a major difference between millennials and older generations in terms of job satisfaction.
Why Do Millennials Change Jobs So Frequently?
Now let’s deal with the big question: if millennials don’t hate their jobs (relatively), why don’t they stick around?
I argue that it boils down to two main reasons: the fear of outsourcing or automation and work engagement.
As mentioned earlier, millennials are more likely to lose their jobs because of technology (and of course, that’s not to say that new one’s won’t replace said jobs) than their elder counterparts.
Because of this, many millennials are looking for meaningful careers where they’re less likely to be replaced. Those jobs are hard to come by, which explains some of the movement.
The other main reason (according to the data from Gallup) revolves around job engagement—that is, how invested people are in their job.
Unsurprisingly, only 29% of millennials feel they are engaged with their work.
Combining this with the finding that millennials report relative job satisfaction: millennials don’t hate their jobs, but they don’t love them either. Most feel that their jobs are boring and meaningless—they’re replaceable.
This helps explain why millennials float around the job market—they’re looking for meaningful work, and they’re not finding it.
Older generations found meaning in raising families, but millennials aren’t having kids at nearly the same rate their parents did.
This means many millennials are turning to life-experiences, such as traveling, or work to find meaning.
To that I say: good luck.