Statsthought: 51.2

This is the percentage of Canadians aged 25 to 34 who expect to leave their jobs in two years or less. Yikes!

This is the percentage of Canadians aged 25 to 34 who expect to leave their jobs in two years or less. Yikes!

So let me get this straight: fully half of the young careerists in any shop are thinking of blowing out of there fairly soon? The answer, dauntingly, is ‘yes.’ In fact, more than a quarter plan to move on within a year.

Many see their early jobs as a series of stepping stones on the way to their dream of making a living on their own terms. The pivotal question is, ‘What can your company do for me?’ rather than, ‘What can I do for your company?’

As a generation, they have taken the clarion call of being in charge of their own destiny to its natural conclusion: a place where one actually lives, and doesn’t just pay lip service to the work/life balance. And if you don’t embrace their attitudes, they won’t work for you – which would be a problem. The good news is that they are ready to work hard and make an impact quickly.

So how do you keep them from jumping ship early?

There’s no silver bullet (duh), but you would do well to:

• recognize that culture plays a bigger role in their lives than in previous generations’ (and let it bleed into the workplace)

• understand that transferable training and skills development are essential to their job satisfaction

• incorporate more diversity into their job experience

• provide them with a more collaborative working environment

• entertain the notion of flexibility in the workplace (including hours, locale and personal customization of work protocol)

Is that all? Just joking.

This ‘statsthought’ is gleaned from Ping, Youthography’s quarterly national study of Canadians aged 9 to 34. It was culled from a fall 2008 survey responded to by 2,097 9- to 34-year-olds and a sub-set of 210 25- to 34-year-olds, regionally represented. Mike Farrell (partner, chief strategic officer) can be reached at mike@youthography.com.