It’s better to work to live, rather than live to work. Millennials are taking that sage advice one step farther, according to a new poll: They work to travel.
The ability to travel is nearly as essential a work motivator as food and shelter, millennials told surveyors recently. It’s a result that employers should consider carefully.
In the same online poll, conducted by job search site FlexJobs.com, young workers said they would take steep pay cuts — as high as 20% — in exchange for more flexibility at work. And nearly two-thirds said they’d be more productive working at home than at the office.
Meanwhile, 34% said they’d left a job because it didn’t provide enough flexibility. And another 24% said they are currently looking for a new job with more flexibility.
“Since millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor workforce, it’s critical that companies pay attention to how, where and when they work best,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.
Fully 70% of millennials identified the desire to travel as a primary reason to work, second only to paying for basic necessities (88%), FlexJobs said.
Only 47% of Baby Boomers said travel was a primary reason for work.
Other less-cited reasons that millennials work:
- Passionate about success in my field (60%);
- To have a professional impact on the world (49%);
- To pay for continuing education (36%);
- To pay for child-related costs (29%) or support their parents (21%).
The FlexJobs online poll was self-selected, and included about 3,000 responses: Millennials (678 respondents), Gen Xers (1,358 respondents), and Boomers (845 respondents).
The Boston Consulting Group says that millennials have particular travel habits, too. They want to see the world, clearly. In a survey, far more millennials than non-millennials told BCG they want to visit every continent (70% versus 48%) and to travel abroad as much as possible (75% vs. 52%).
Traveling More, Longer & Smarter
Because millennials are marrying older, they tend to take trips in groups with friends. They also book further in advance, book fewer (but longer) trips, and work hard to find good deals, BCG said.
“(They) tend to see booking as more of a game and respond opportunistically to low prices and interesting packages,” BCG wrote in a recent report.
It makes sense that younger workers with less income would be more deal sensitive … and more inclined to hop on a deeply-discounted, last-minute, four-day Europe trip. It then follows that young workers want the ability to make sudden requests for four-day weekends.
That’s partly why, in the FlexJobs survey, work flexibility was cited by 82% of millennials as important when evaluating a job prospect, well above factors like as health insurance (48%), company reputation (45%), and retirement benefits (36%).
It should also be no surprise that millennials are twice as likely as boomers (11% to 6%) to show strong preference for working at a coffee shop or other place outside the office.
Flexibility = Loyalty
“Millennials said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options and nearly a quarter would be willing to work more hours,” Sutton Fell said. “So offering millennials work flexibility isn’t just a strategy to avoid negative consequences like losing talent — employers have a lot to gain by modifying their strict, traditional, office-based model of working.”
Remember, if you love to travel, the right credit card can make all the difference. If you’re shopping for a new airline credit card or travel rewards card, it’s a good idea to consider how often you travel and whether you tend to patronize a particular carrier. If you do fly a single carrier, or its partners, that company’s mileage card can be the right choice for you. But if you don’t have a hub in your area or your flights are varied, you might to look into general travel rewards credit cards.
You can also consider maximizing rewards by accumulating airline miles via loyalty programs, and complementing that balance by earning credit card rewards that can be transferred to those airlines.
If you’re in the market for a new credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit before you apply, as a good credit score can help you qualify for better terms and rates. You can see where you currently stand by viewing two free credit scores, updated every 30 days, on Credit.com.
Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund