The saga of shifting jobs: Why are millennials ditching conventional careers?

21 Oct 2022

Job hopping, as a term is synonymous with the generation of millennials. However, the reasons behind why an increasing number of youngsters are switching workplaces early in their careers remain less talked about.

Millennials, also called Generation Y (born 1980–2000) are those youngsters who grew up in the era of technological revolution and entered the workspace around the millennium years. Millennials (7.4 billion) account for about 27 percent of the global workplace. In India alone, their strength is over a formidable 400 million, accounting up to 34 percent of the country’s overall population. 

Though millennials are often termed as narcissistic, entitled and more likely to swap jobs, they are accounted among the chief wage earners of India, with a share of 47 percent in the working age population, as per the ‘Trend-setting millennials: Redefining the consumer story’ report.

With a nonconformist approach to managing their careers, millennial today are redefining the dynamics of economic marketplace in India. So, what are the reasons that are promoting millennials to look for unconventional job opportunities? 

Diverse marketplace

In comparison to previous generations, millennials entering the workforce today have enormous economic opportunities that are both diverse and flexible. Jobs like web developers, bloggers, social media managers that were created because of the expansion of the internet world are considered to be creative and lucrative. 

The evolving mobile revolution in India has also ensured job creation in artificial intelligence (AI), the application of which is fast catching up in different industries.

In 2016, data collected by Gallup found out that 60 percent of millennials in the USA were open to a new job opportunity, making them the most likely generation to switch jobs. The fact that many millennials are job-hopping frequently is an indicator of their intent to drive their own career narratives. 

Jobs that make a ‘difference’

Empirical research also suggests that more and more millennials today are on the look-out for jobs that suit their capabilities well, help them to do meaningful work and enable them to have a better work-life balance.

In 2005, researcher Carolyn A. Martin who listed the characteristics of millennials categorized them as “independent, entrepreneurial thinkers who relish responsibility, demand immediate feedback, and expect a sense of accomplishment”.

Hence, it would not be wrong to say that millennials today look beyond monetary and materialistic benefits. 

Being social and environmentally aware individuals, millennials are more probable to seek meaning and value in the jobs they do.

Thriving gig economy

According to ‘Insights into the freelancer's ecosystem’ report released by PayPal, India now contributes one in every four freelancers across the globe. With millennials having an opportunity to make an average of Rs 19 lakh a year (through various contract-based work), India is emerging as the biggest market for freelancers to contribute in key sectors such as web development, Internet research, and data entry. 

Gig based jobs today promise good earnings from multiple sources with lesser obligations- a combination that is hard to resist for the generation of go-getters.

Being distinguished as the “most entrepreneurial generation in history,” millennials are also more likely to start up independent, challenging, tech-savvy ventures. 

Sharing is caring

In India, a number of new Internet users are added almost every second. Growing up in the age of revolutionary technological advancements, millennials have also embraced what is called the ‘sharing economy’.

Be it housing, workspaces, commute, fashion or even furniture, millennials are more open to sharing both material goods, services and experiences. This in turn has led to innovation that has redefined jobs in the burgeoning sharing economy.

According to the Morgan Stanley report titled ‘The Millennials Series — The Disruptive Wave in the World’s Seventh Largest Economy,’ the population of India’s millennials is set to grow another 100 million by 2020. With an average age of 29, India is also expected to be the world’s youngest country in the next few years. 

In this context, it will be interesting to see how millennials will take charge to lead one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world.

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