Discuss as:

College-educated millennials seek a work-life balance, study says

David Lees / Getty Images

Millennials surveyed said they seek work-life balance and value feeling appreciated at work.

College-educated millennials have a slightly different set of expectations about the workplace, and employers need to make changes or risk losing the best new workers, according to a new study conducted by PwC, the University of Southern California and the London Business School.

Primary among their concerns is a better work-life balance.

Among millennials, 71 percent said work demands interfere with their personal lives. By contrast, 63 percent of their older colleagues made that complaint.    

“Every generation would like a better work/life balance and I think the millennials are helping us see that, and maybe pulling us along,” said Terri McClements, PwC’s U.S. Human Capital Leader.

PwC initiated the study after it noticed an increasing number of its new hires were jumping ship after a short time. Since two-thirds of its workforce was born in the millennial bracket, (1980 to 1995 for this study), the professional services firm realized it might have a problem.

Chief among the complaints was the long-accepted practice of working like a dog right out of college in the hopes that one day translates into making partner at the firm. Millennials aren't convinced such a sacrifice would be worth the potential payoff later, the survey found.

That does not mean they are a new slacker generation.

“That perception is not correct,” McClements said. “They are equally committed.”

What the millennials want at work is to be judged on their impact, have fun, have a flexible schedule and get rewards for a job well done. They want an emotional connection to their work and to be part of a team focused on a goal. And while they are a wired generation, they want face-to-face contact when it comes to personal topics.

“Their experience is different,” McClements said.

The survey, PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study, included responses from 44,000 PwC employees globally, with nearly a quarter of responses coming from millennials.