Millennials Fed Up With Lack of Flexibility

millennial parentAs millennial-age employees move into the managerial ranks and begin having children, they are becoming more frustrated with a lack of flexibility on the part of their employers that impedes their chances at work/life balance, according to a major new survey from EY (Ernst & Young).

Achieving balance between work and family has gotten tougher for all generations, not just millennials: The survey of nearly 10,000 employees from eight different countries, conducted for EY by Harris Poll, finds that one-third of all employees say managing work/life balance has become more difficult in the last five years. Younger generations and parents are hit harder than others–particularly in certain countries, such as the United States.

One particularly interesting finding is that more U.S. men than women are more likely to change jobs or give up a promotion for the sake of work/life management. And, 38 percent of U.S. millennials say they would “move to another country with better parental leave benefits.” The United States is the only major industrialized country that does not mandate paid parental leave.

Nearly one in six millennials say they’ve suffered a backlash for having a flexible work schedule. About 26 percent of millennials say they are working more after having a child versus 13 percent for Gen X and 16 percent for baby boomers. In addition, the partners/spouses of millennials was also more likely to have increased the amount of time they work.

Millennials are the generation most likely to say they would change jobs or careers, give up a promotion opportunity, “move my family to another location to better manage work/family,” move closer to family and “take a pay cut to have flexibility.

One of the most sobering statistics of the survey is this: Nearly two-thirds of U.S. full-time employees who are parents did not take paid parental leave and over three quarters of women indicate their spouse/partner is not eligible for paid parental leave. Given the importance of parents’ spending time with their young children, it’s disturbing that the hurdles standing in the way of U.S. parents’ ability to do this are so high.