7 Out Of 10 Millennials Are "Disengaged" From Meaningful Employment

Tyler Durden's picture

Gallup recently released what it described as the "most robust and comprehensive study of the millennial generation" combining more that 30 separate studies involving more than 1 million respondents.  In summary, the report found Millennials to be disengaged, aloof and completely incapable of prioritizing their own workload all while requiring constant pats on the back from management.  Well, we could have told you that (and we have on many occasions) without doing any research at all.



The study, conducted by Brandon Rigoni and Bailey Nelson, found only 29% of millennials to be "engaged" at work with 60% being open to alternative employment. 

The report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, revealed that only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, with the remaining 71% either not engaged or actively disengaged. What's more, six in 10 millennials say they're open to different job opportunities, and only 50% plan to be with their company one year from now.


This low engagement is troubling, as Gallup's latest meta-analysis shows that business units in the top quartile of employee engagement are 17% more productive, suffer 70% fewer safety incidents, experience 41% less absenteeism, have 10% better customer ratings and are 21% more profitable compared with business units in the bottom quartile.

Apparently millennials are also incapable of prioritizing tasks at work.  Only 54% of millennials felt they knew how to prioritize work responsibilities versus 71% from other generations. 

Regardless of generation, for example, employees need to know what's expected of them in the workplace. It's extremely stressful for any worker to lack an understanding or awareness of job responsibilities. In fact, Gallup finds that 72% of millennials who strongly agree that their manager helps them set performance goals are engaged.


Setting performance goals is one major necessity; of similar importance is knowing how to prioritize work responsibilities. Employees require job clarity so they have an understanding of what to do. They also require direction in establishing priorities -- knowing the order in which tasks should get done.


Prioritizing is a distinct need for millennial employees: Just 54% of millennials strongly agree that they know how to prioritize responsibilities at work, compared with 71% of those from older generations.

And finally, the report found that millennials were much more engaged at work if their bosses held their hand and provided constant feedback

In reality, millennials want to be held accountable for their performance. In fact, nearly six in 10 millennials (56%) who report that their manager holds them accountable are engaged in their work.


To put this in context, if only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, then these findings suggest that managers can double the likelihood of engaging millennial employees by doing something many would consider simple and intuitive: holding them accountable. Millennials, like all employees, seek and desire accountability. When leaders and managers consistently hold employees accountable, they get the most out of employees' performance and make them happier and more likely to stay.

And just to add icing to the cake, Gallup points out that while millennials only represent 38% of the workforce today they should account for roughly 75% by 2025.  We assume the 75% incorporates the many "cheerleading departments" that will have to be added to corporations around the country.

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LetThemEatRand's picture

Bob: Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.

Peter: I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.

Jim Sampson's picture

As a Millenial I would just like to say something.  The "adults" that are running and managing these companies are absolute morons incapable of getting the most out of their employees.  Us Millenials are not pushed, we are not used to our full potentials.  THAT is the problem.  I do just enough to get by, probably an 1-1.5 hours per day.  BUT I get done in 1-1.5 hours what my bosses/managers take 8 hours+ to do.  Do I get a yearly raise?  No.  What about Bi-yearly?  Nope.  We're looked at as kids, even at 33 fucking years old!  There is something seriously wrong with the Boomers mentally.


End of rant.

demi urge's picture

Solidarity brotha.


::fist bump::

bleu's picture
bleu (not verified) demi urge Aug 31, 2016 8:49 PM

Millennials are feeling the heaviness of the American CURSE.

roxyNL's picture

Dear boomers, genx;  

like it or not millenials will soon takeover the worplace !

The american ship will sail much slower than during the post ww2 and 90s booms.

Millenials have a much better life-work balance, which is not the optimal state for the economy and money creation (debt).

The majority of us were raised during the so called great recession and we realized that while money is very important it should not be the ultimate goal.

Worst case senario; The economy crashes, living standard go back to the 60s / 80s levels and what ? people were not happy back then ?

The best thing a learned from my trips to africa and asia is that you don't need a lot to of money be happy ! I have seen a lot a families living with less than 200$ per month and having a better work-life balance than those in america wtith 100k$ salaries.

duo's picture

I've had the opportunity to work with millenials in engineering. It's quite different now than it was a generation ago.  Back then, a young engineer was expected to learn the ropes from the old guys.  This generation thinks they know everything, and will plagerize older engineers work, and most disturbingly, would rather do a project incorrectly with other millenials than ask for the help of an older engineer and do it correctly.

If we're going to put a man on the moon again, we had better do it soon.

demi urge's picture

I've seen far more olds plagiarize other engineers work with zero appreciation for reapplying the concepts to the context of the situation they're wokring on than youngs.

The other side of that coin is engineering is largely a copycat business... no use reinventing the wheel... well, unless you're an old looking to ride out their should-have-been-retired days looking to nickel-and-dime clients for every penny you can get out of 'em.



Escrava Isaura's picture

It’s pretty much the same with every generation. Even Aristotle and Plato were said to have expressed similar feelings about the slacker youth of their times.


However, as you get older, it reverses. Tom Brokaw’s grandchildren will be writing  a book saying how great you were young.


LetThemEatRand's picture

There is truth in both views.  I'm now middle aged, and I see wisdom in my elder peers but also an inability to see their own shortcomings because they think they know everything due to their experience (they don't).  By the same token, I see value in my younger peers because they have a fresh perspective and energy, but also inability to see their own shortcomings due to lack of experience.   And then I see that the world as we know it is probably going to end soon anyway due to the fucking Fed, neo-cons, IMF, Soros, Rothschilds, etc, so who gives a shit.  Buy gold.

willwork4food's picture

Rand, you seriously need a cold beer and chill. It will work out.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Got both, and it's working out fine (so far).

edotabin's picture

The truth usually is somewhere in the middle anyway. If only someone could find a way for us to stop aging at 40.

LetThemEatRand's picture

If we're going to wish, I'd vote for 25.  That was a good age.  40 was okay, but 25 was better.

RyeWhiskey's picture

Yeah... but their fresh perspective is full of shit.

Vlad Tepid's picture

So you can imagine just how far we've fallen with 65 intervening generations.

SirBarksAlot's picture

Demi - I have to agree with him.  I had part of a several hundred million dollar project that had to be done quickly.  I hired experienced millenials who were told that time was o the essence.  One showed up a day late.  Another one took off half the week to go home for his birthday.  All of them, except one, refused to do what I asked them to do and told me I didn't know what I was doing and I should do it their way.  I have 45 years experience in my field.   A couple years ago I worked with a couple of millenials.  One of them just copied one of the documents for all the files and turned it in, instead of preparing an individual document for each file, with the correct information.  The other one spent the entire day on their cell phone, holding it under their desk.  This isn't picking on people.  This is a serious issue we're talking about.

CheapBastard's picture

Become a college professor an dlick ass and become a multi-millionaire with full health benefits and retirment package!


The higher the level of professorship, the higher the wages tend to be. For example, "The Chronicle of Higher Education" reports the average salary for full professors at Harvard University at $198,400, while associate professors earned $120,900 and assistant professors made $109,800.


University deans and presidents make at least $500k base salary and when yu throw in "the benefit package and bonuses" you are looking at well over $1 million.

demi urge's picture

Sounds like your hiring skills need work.

crazzziecanuck's picture

Very, very true.

Then again, the HR departments aren't worth squat either so that's probably the biggest crippling feature of modern corporate bureaucracy after all those absentee mercenaries that form most directorships.

The West, and humanity in general, is doomed.  We're run by idiots.

Umh's picture

I always felt like I was in handcuffs and leg irons when it came to hiring people. When it came down to the final ten or twenty I could pick and choose as long as I had valid reasons. The gotcha was in HR picking the final ten or twenty. I am convinced we passed up some good candidates that HR cut which is why everyone should have someone proofread their resume and application. You have to assume that the first cut is being done by an idiot. You can tell me you know X and I will check off d & g while the HR person does not see d & g and throws your stuff in the reject pile. I had a few favorite questions over the years that were mostly to catch bluffers. Some as stupid as (assuming COBOL for reference) if you MOVE field XYZ to field dlajsk what is in field XYZ. You would be shocked at how many experienced programmers stumble around thinking about the answer. And that is just a sample, I programmed in several other languages. I wanted people that knew the answer in their gut.

BarkingCat's picture

I hate HR departments. They are useless tools and should have zero to say about who the candidate is.

I had a consulting company and our rep called an IT manager looking for business. The company didn't need any Consulting but did express the need for a permanent employee (programmer). We decided to try to find them one.

Found a near perfect candidate and HR refused to pass him to the IT manager. Something stupid like they wanted SQL Server experience. He has Sybase and Oracle. The blockheads at HR could not correlate those facts.

I told our rep to call the IT manager directly. He did and once the guy saw the resume he was pissed at HR. He hired our candidate.



Ballin D's picture

There's two patterns here and you've only identified one (millennial age bracket). You missed the other common factor that you are hiring/training terrible employees.


I've worked with terrible millennials who slipped by the idiot hiring manager and I've worked with incredible millennials who could be doing their boss's job. The hiring managers only like to take credit for the latter.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"I've worked with terrible millennials who slipped by the idiot hiring manager and I've worked with incredible millennials who could be doing their boss's job"

Same here, and same as it ever was in terms of younger people entering the real world. 

Condition 1SQ's picture

There are probably two things happening here 1) lack of ambition and 2) person / job mismatch.  The truth is, most people are not correctly matched to their job.  Furthermore, there are a lot of important jobs that match very few people.  Combine this with cushy living conditions (government support, family support, etc) and you've got a recipe for a lot of young folks who don't give a flying fuck about editing a word document to your specifications.  Their life doesn't depend on it and probably never will.

Condition 1SQ's picture

Yup, it is quite repeititive, which is the way it should be for maximum efficiency .. and unfortunately maximum boredom!

Barney Fife's picture

I had to log in for this. 

AMEN brother AMEN. I manage and recruit them and this guy above sounds just like one of them. 

Here is a novel concept. How about TAKING THE INITATIVE??? How about showing people that you are self motivated, motivated by more than just $$ and pats on the head, and actually take pride in your productivity and your work ethic for your own sake, for your own personal sense of accomplishment, and not for the sake of pats on the head, do this to the point that you are using all this alleged free time to innovate new concepts and ideas?

PS. I dont believe for one second that he gets done more in 1.5 hours then the older guys get done in a day. I HAVE heard that one before from millenials then when I push them to defend such a bold accusation and dig deeper into their claim I always find it lacking. 

You're right about their claim to know everything. The truth is the exact opposite. Another one of my favorite whines " I went to University of Blah blah blah". 


Crap. Someone start passing out pacifiers. 

Umh's picture

Why exactly should they be motivated by not getting compensated?

Condition 1SQ's picture

I'm on the tail end of the millenial generation.  I am self-employed and provide engineering services to customers.  I make a lot more than your run of the mill engineer, but I also accept much more responsibility.  I don't plan on doing it more than another year or two.  Why?  It's stupid fucking work.  It may pay handsomely, but it is quite routine and boring.  Today, I had to look up paint standards for stainless steel, then try to explain to a paint shop how to implement the standard.  The other day, I had to convert electrical equipment settings files from one format to another.  Another day, I had to determine whether some equipment had been ripped out of a substation, which required driving all day.  When I do have to break out mathematical skills, it generally involves repeating a calculation out of a standards book.  I'm not interested enough in my profession to make love with theortical books after work.  Sorry, but this is the reality of engineering.  For the guys who struggled to get good grades, this might be right up their alley.  Me, I'm too smart for the work, and I suspect that many engineers are in the same boat.  I don't blame millenials for being jaded.  I'm in the 1% of my generation and even I'm fed up with this stupid crap.  Go pay some other monkey to do it, I'll live off my investments in a foreign country and figure out something a little more meaningful.  To all those who think this is the wimpy way out, well, just ask yourself how proud you'll be of serving a cog in a gigantic machine when you're on your deathbed.  The truth is, there are a ton of dumb jobs out there that have to get done.  Some pay well, some don't.  But they're still dumb jobs.  I'd prefer to be a bit poorer and do something I love rather than wealthy and have a life of boring work to look back on.

crazzziecanuck's picture

In the same boat, but totally f**kin' broke.  I'm just tired of the idea of making the millionaire sons and daughters of billionaire familes even richer while they pay squat and squeeze more and more for less and less money.

Looking at small-scale quasi-organic farming in the middle of nowhere using pooled family resources.

bonderøven-farm ass's picture

CC, you haven't tasted 'totally fucking broke' until you've tried your hand at small-scale, organic farming. You'll never go hungry, but it's damned hard work. "Broke and broken" as we say on our little swath of terra....

Solosides's picture

Im involved with elevator interiors. You have to stand in COMPLETE AWE of the absolute stupidity of our customers. These are fully grown adults with college degrees. You have to explain everything to them like a child, and they act like children too.


They ignore the email for 2 weeks and then come back and say "has our order shipped yet?".


I have no college education and have only been doing my jobs for 1 year. It terrifying to see idiocracy come alive.

Condition 1SQ's picture

That's another thing - I think that there are very, very, very few jobs that require college degrees.  Specialized training, sure, but college is overkill, even for most technical professions.  But you're fighting an uphill battle if you don't have that check box checked off.

Umh's picture

Welcome to the world of check boxes. I know and you know that an intelligent person can to +-90% of the jobs that exist, but try telling that to most people and you get grudging acceptance at best. I do not know where to lay the blame.

Duc888's picture



You nailed it.


I lived that exact situation a few years back at Electric Boat.

JuliaS's picture

There's an issue of margins and deadlines. They're shrinking. Modern workplace in itself is like a stereotypical Millenial. It's distracting, it's immature, it's unprofessional.

The article says few Millenials plant to stick around at one gig for longer then a year. Well, most gigs nowdays last less than a year anyway. I work in engineering, in film and television and the average contract duration is 6 months. 1 out of 30 employees is actually offered long term positions - typically the guy or gal entrusted with bringing new hires up to speed and maintaining some illusion of production consistency.'

In reality everything's changing too rapidly.

Another point - management of priorities.

Again, management is as bad as the workforce. 2008 crisis never passed. When companies were cutting the workforce in 2, remaining staffers were expected to double up on work. Meanwhile they were expected to stay current on their deadlines. When you're given 2 jobs and only enough time for 1 they tell you: "Figure it out yourself! Prioritize." Or: "Don't work too late! Go home!" What it means in reality is - do stay late. Don't go home. Get the job done, but don't expect the budget to cover it.

Standards change, expectations change. Change. Change. Change.

How can you expect an employee to show old-fashion dedication, when you cannot commit to your employees either with all the economic uncertainty, government regulation and the nature of business in itself.

Investing in startups used imply confidence in the business model. Nowdays everything's pump-n-dump. So employees who see work as a "hitch-n-ditch" propositions actually fit perfectly into the modern crazy world.

exi1ed0ne's picture

Concur 100%. There IS no interesting, creative, or passion that can be grown around a profession because you are always dodging the closest bullet.

I learned in the 90's during the dot bomb era that companies have zero loyalty to their employees, and it's only gotten worse since the 2008 crisis. EVERYTHING not nailed down goes to Kraplocistan, or you better have a good fucking reason to tell the SVP why not.

No training, no mentoring. Just endless spreadsheets in a fucking powerpoint on how returns were this quarter for the investors, and how much harder we have to work next quarters to meet the imbecilic CEOs financial targets. Oh, and here is your 0-1% raise for busting your ass to pay for golden parachutes. Don't like it? There are 100 other peasants in line because unemployment statistics are as real as unicorns and the WWE.

This isn't the 50s, where the direction was up, Up, UP!. The US is on fire and going down hard, with everyone in power throwing gas on the thing. Just look how insanely hard they are working to piss off the Chinese and Russians to kick off a good ole war like in the old days.

I really don't blame millennials for shitty attitudes and poor work ethics. Why the fuck should they give a fuck about helping to prop up an economy they will never see the benefits from?

JuliaS's picture

Terminated employees used to get an advanced notice and severance. New employees used to get relocation benefits. Grace period for training.

Now everybody pays for themselves. They're expected to know what's going on right away. Half guess wrong and are dismissed immediately. Half guess right and get to stay a bit longer. Termination notices are handed out within minutes, not weeks. Grab your stuff and go. All your accumulated vacation time and sick days you were too scared to claim - say good-bye to those. You work as if every day is your last.

Promotional prospects are negligible. There are no incentives to work hard.

Oh, and the proverbial pat on the back Millenials are so eager to receive - that used to mean something. Material compensation, vacation time, better cubicle at least, closer to the window. Now all it implies is a verbal encouragement. "Great work, Julia! Keep it up! Your buddy there's having trouble sticking to his schedule. You're so good at what you do - why don't you help him out. Oh, and could you host a Friday seminar for our new hires and explain the pipeline to them? By the way, I'll be taking this Friday off, so you'll be in charge. You like being in charge, don't you?!" (An actual conversation).

Employment used to imply positive progression, or at least a promise of greater return. Now all you do is work backwards. Your best day is your first day on the job, when you still have the youthful energy to put up with everything, to work long hours, to sleep 2 hours a day and be fresh for your next shift. Well, as we get older, that energy goes away and the employer - he or she don't give a damn. There's plenty of candidates waiting in line. Jobs are in short supply. Workers are in abundance.

So there - that's the nature of things.

I have a stable job. Love my career, but I'm simply burned out. Burned out to the point where vacations don't make a difference. I watch people come and go. I conduct interviews on behalf of my employers. Yes, I do see abundance of arrogant and spoiled youth who believe the snowflake lies fed into their head by the educational monopoly. Yet at the same time I also see perfectly good workers getting fired left and right, because of unprofessionalism, lack of planning and immaturity of the management - because of people who don't want to accept responsibility for their own decisions, so they take it out on the work force. A good responsible manager is as hard to find as a good employee.

... how does the old saying go? Birds on the upper branch look down and all they see is shit. Birds on the lower branch look up and all they see is assholes.

demi urge's picture

What wonderful post Julia. :)


I've been doing a fair bit of pipeline work lately... want to change scenery? 




just the tip's picture

not only that, but the engineers coming out now are waaay tech savy.  they have no problem using new engineering apps for all sorts of calculations.  structural analysis of tall towers.  process design of distillation columns.  yes sir, they can do it all.  except for one thing.  they don't have a fucking clue about what the numbers are telling them.

i have a buddy who is a VP for CH2MHill.  he's over 68.  the youngest engineer on staff is 57.  he says he interviews at least 12 young engineers a year.  hasn't hired anyone in a decade.

buzzsaw99's picture

what you are describing is straight out of Office Space and has been going on since before you were born.


demi urge's picture

" There is something seriously wrong with the Boomers mentally."


(They all quite literally huffed leaded gasoline for decades, particularly in their youth.  This is also reflected in their fear of being called out and compulsive need to downvote anyone that's obviously under 40.)

[No but really, part of my role is as a human health risk assessor and toxicologist... they all huffed leaded gasoline, willingly and unwillingly.]

demi urge's picture

Sorry downvoters... just the simple truth.  ><  

Solosides's picture

Silly goyim. Abiotic petroluem is necessary for all life on this planet. Bioplastics, biofuels, and ultra-high efficiency engines are all impossible and completely uneconomical. That is why the hemp plant must remain illegal for all eternity.

demi urge's picture

Lulz... all of that's well and good (even tongue in cheek), but has nothing to do with lead.  :)



Solosides's picture

Lead is just one little ingredient in a huge ever-changing chemical soup you take in every day.