Making an Impact' Tops the List of What Matters Most to Millennial Talent, Income Comes in Last


Second Annual Korn Ferry Millennial Survey Highlights This Generation's Workplace Preferences, Including Need for Feedback and Willingness to Work Long Hours

Infographic Available Here

LOS ANGELES July 14, 2016 – A newly released survey by the Korn Ferry division of Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, highlights what matters most to millennial workers and offers insight into how best to manage people in this generation.

In the survey of nearly 1,000 executives from around the globe, the largest percentage of respondents (28 percent) said the “ability to make an impact on the business” matters most to millennial employees. At only 3 percent, income came in last on the list.

When asked what will make a millennial choose one job over another, 38 percent said “visibility and buy-in to the mission and vision of the organization.”

The survey also found that consistent feedback is key to managing millennials, with three quarters of respondents saying this generation needs more feedback than other generations. However, only 13 percent of respondents said they offered more feedback sessions to this group, and less than half offered mentorship opportunities.

“It’s clear that millennials want to know what their organization stands for and how they can impact the company’s mission” said Jeanne MacDonald, Korn Ferry President of Global Talent Acquisition Solutions. “It is often difficult for older managers to find or take the time to offer the feedback that millennials crave, but it is critical in helping them understand how their role fits into the greater organizational strategy.”

The survey also revealed differences in work styles, with nearly two-thirds of respondents saying millennials are less likely to work longer hours than other generations. It also found that more than half of respondents said it is equally or more important for millennials to find a job near family than other generations.

“It’s important to note that as an archetype, millennials will stay engaged and productive if they feel they are valued,” said MacDonald. “Bosses of other generations who feel they show their own worth by working long hours need to understand this is not the case for millennials and respect their time on and off the job.”

When asked with which generation millennials work best, Gen X (those born in the early 1960s to the early 1980s) and Gen Z (those born in the mid-1990s on) tied for the top spot at 44 percent each. Baby Boomers came in a distant third at 12 percent.

“Organizational leaders who understand the differences in the workstyles and preferences of employees in different generations can uncover unconscious biases to foster greater collaboration and success,” said MacDonald.

About the survey

Korn Ferry Survey: Millennials in the Workplace
Note: The online survey of executives was fielded from June 7-June 20, 2016, and had nearly 900 responses. Due to rounding, not all percentages add up to 100 percent.

What matters most to your millennial employees?

Ability to make an impact on the business  28 percent
Work/life balance  26 percent
Development/ongoing feedback  15 percent
Values of your organization  10 percent
Clear path for advancement  9 percent
Fun friendly workplace  9 percent
Income 3 percent

Compared to other generations, how willing are millennials to work longer / hours weekends?

Much more willing  10 percent
Somewhat more willing  9 percent
Equally willing  19 percent
Somewhat less willing  40 percent
Much less willing 22 percent

What’s the top reason a millennial will choose one job over another?

Visibility and buy-in into the mission / vision of the organization  38 percent
Clear path for advancement  29 percent
Title and pay  18 percent

Location / ability to stay near family  7 percent
Location/ability to get away from family  1 percent
Reputation of the company  6 percent

Compared to other generations, how much feedback do millennials need?

A lot more feedback  44 Percent
Somewhat more feedback  33 percent
About the same amount of feedback  10 percent
Somewhat less feedback  9 percent
A lot less feedback  3 percent

What is the top way your company develops your millennial employees differently than older employees?

More feedback sessions  13 percent
More internal training programs  17 percent
Mentorships  47 percent
We don’t develop millennials differently  24 percent

With which generation do millennials work best?

Boomers (those born between 1946 and the early 1960s)  12 percent
Gen X (those born in the early 1960s to the early 1980s)  44 percent
Gen Z (those born in the mid-90s onwards)  44 percent

Compared to other generations, how important is it for millennials to find a job near family?

Much more important  19 percent
Somewhat more important  20 percent
Equally important  17 percent
Somewhat less important  27 percent
Not as important  18 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm. We help leaders, organizations, and societies succeed by releasing the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues deliver services through our Executive Search, Korn Ferry and Korn Ferry divisions.More information on Korn Ferry can be found at www.Korn

For media enquiries please contact:
Tracy Kurschner

Sign up for Korn Ferry updates


Dan Gugler
+1 310 552-1834

Asia Pacific:
Malte Weyhe
+61 2 9667 2604

Michele Lally
+44 7387 092650