Young Workers More Satisfied with Employers

October 11, 2011 ( – According to the insights from Mercer’s What’s Working survey, young workers worldwide are more likely than the overall workforce to be satisfied with the organizations they work for, yet they are more likely to consider leaving them.  

According to the survey findings, workers ages 34 and younger are more likely than their older colleagues in all 17 markets to be pondering an exit from their employers. In response to the question, “At the present time, I am seriously considering leaving my organization,” the youngest workers (ages 16–24) recorded scores of agreement that average 10 percentage points higher than the overall workforce worldwide, while scores for workers ages 25–34 average five percentage points higher. In the U.S., workers ages 16–24 scored 12 percentage points higher than the total U.S. market score of 32%, while those 25–34 years of age scored eight percentage points higher (44% and 40%, respectively).

Yet despite this propensity to leave, when asked about overall satisfaction with their organizations, younger workers registered satisfaction scores higher than the overall workforce in most markets. Scores for employees ages 16–24 were higher in 14 of the 17 markets worldwide by an average of five percentage points. Scores for employees ages 25–34 were higher in 11 of the 17 markets by an average of two percentage points globally. In the U.S., the percentage of both age groups that were satisfied was 71%, which was four percentage points above the score for the total U.S. market of 67%.

These same two age groups also are more likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work. Scores for employees ages 16–24 were higher than the overall workforce by an average of seven percentage points globally, and their scores were higher in all 17 markets. Meanwhile, scores for workers ages 25–34 are higher in 13 of the 17 markets by an average of three percentage points above the overall workforce scores. In the U.S., 70% of employees ages 16–24 and 68% of employees ages 25–34 would recommend their organization as a good place to work, compared to 64% for the overall U.S. workforce.

“This pattern of higher satisfaction among younger workers held true for many other key issues addressed in our survey, including pay, performance management and careers, making their desire to leave their organizations all the more at odds with traditional views of loyalty, retention and engagement,” said Michael Burniston, US and Canada Leader for Mercer’s Human Capital business, in a press release.

“These findings present a real dilemma for employers,” said Colleen O’Neill, North American Leader for Talent Management consulting. “Do they simply accept that young talent is going to leave no matter what the organization has to offer, or do they invest time and resources in an attempt to change the views and employment habits of their younger workers? Strategies, of course, will vary by organization, but it is essential to first have a clear understanding of an employer’s value proposition and then analyze what steps can or should be taken to increase the tenure of young workers.”

For more information and to download the summary of these survey findings, visit the “Generational findings” section at