Millennials at Work

Millennials value personal development and work-life balance over money and status.

However, they are still ambitious and believe in their own ability to steer their careers. These are among the findings uncovered in an independent study on millennials conducted by the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute in Singapore, the HEAD Foundation, and Universum.

Of the more than 16,000 global respondents in 42 countries, 73 percent said they would choose work-life balance over a higher salary, and 82 percent said they valued worklife balance over their position in a company. Forty-two percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they would rather have no job than one they hate; respondents in Chile, Lebanon, and Peru felt particularly strongly on that question.

Even so, they’re ambitious. Forty-one percent of respondents say it’s very important to them to become leaders or managers—35 percent for the money, 31 percent for the influence, and 31 percent for the chance to have strategic roles. As always, there are regional differences. In Nigeria, for instance, 70 percent of millennials want to be managers because they want to lead people.

“In the near future, millennials will occupy every consequential leadership position in the world, be it in business, academia, government, or in the nonprofit sector,” notes Henrik Bresman, the academic director of the HEAD Foundation and associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD. “Will they be ready to lead? If so, how will they lead? How can the preceding generations identify, understand, develop, and prepare them to take on the monumental challenges the world will be facing?” The study, he adds, seeks to answer those questions.