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Millennials are driving higher employee expectations

According to new research from Benefex, 77% of workers expect more of their employer now than before the pandemic. However, expectations have risen significantly more among millennials who are far more demanding and discerning, particularly when it comes to technology, flexible working, wellbeing, benefits and operating in a way that aligns with their own personal values.

There is no denying that perceptions of the workplace have changed dramatically over the last two years. Gone are the days when arrangements to work flexibly were a rarity and working from home something to be done only if it couldn’t be avoided.

At the same time, workers are continuing to re-evaluate their relationships with their jobs as well as their priorities and ambitions at work and in their personal lives, and this is giving rise to renewed perspectives and ever-increasing expectations about the overall employee experience.

According to new research* the leading employee experience platform, three quarters (77%) of workers admit they expect more of their employer now than since the start of the pandemic, and eight in 10 state that their employee experience at work is more important than a year ago.

However, expectations have risen significantly more among employees under the age of 40, compared with those aged 40 and above. Eight in ten of the under 40s said both their expectations of their employer and their employee experience at work had increased since the coronavirus compared to 67 percent and 70 percent of the over 40s respectively.

While expectations have increased across a range of employee experiences among both cohorts, the research confirmed it was millennial workers who are far more demanding and discerning, particularly when it came to the quality and suitability of the technology and systems provided by their employers. Almost two-thirds (64%) criticise their workplace technology saying it lagged behind the tech used at home compared to 43 percent of the over 40s.

Beyond this, younger workers are also increasingly looking to their employers to support their wellbeing, provide a considerable benefits package, operate in a way that aligns with their own personal values and to offer higher levels of flexibility in their working practices.

Commenting on the research, Matt Macri-Waller, Benefex founder and CEO said: “Many of the heightened demands placed on employers are stemming from younger workers. The onus is very much on employers to recognise these rising expectations are unlikely to fade away over time. New generations of workers have very different ideas about what employers should be doing to support them, both in and outside work, and the likelihood is that their needs will continue to evolve over time.”

Over half (51%) of the millennial workers admitted to expecting more from their employers in relation to wellbeing compared to over a third of the over 40s. Similarly, around four in ten had heightened expectations around their benefits package and working for an employer that aligns with their personal values versus just a quarter (23%) of the over 40s.

On the whole, millennial workers are more invested in the benefits offered by their employers with around a third (30%) saying they are interested and engaged compared to 18 percent for the over 40s. And almost 1 in 4 (23%) had negotiated a better package for themselves since joining their firms versus just 14 percent of the over 40s.

Unsurprisingly, millennials were also more pointed when it came to expressing opinions around flexible working arrangements. Four in ten admitted to seeing flexible working in terms of where (37%) and how (40%) they work as a right not a privilege. These figures dropped to a quarter for their over 40 counterparts.

The research showed it’s not just existing employees that have higher expectations post pandemic – prospective employees also expect more from their future employers. When asked what was important in a potential employer, the Benefex research exposed a range of factors including: a commitment to wellbeing (92%), benefits provision (90%), high ethical standards (89%), and flexible working provision (83%).

Matt Macri-Waller, concluded: “The pressure on employers to respond to rising employee expectations is showing no sign of easing up. Workers are giving far more consideration to the entire employee experience they have at work with very clear views on what they want and how it can be improved. Employees must act now to develop robust, future-focused strategies to give their people the employee experience they are looking for now and tomorrow, in order to stay relevant and compete in an ever more dynamic and competitive labour market.”

The full research findings download here

Research from Benefex

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    15 July 2024

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