Work ’till I Die? Give Me a Break! Millennials are Training for Career Ultramarathons–They Plan to Retool and Refuel Along the Way

When do American Millennials expect to retire? (PRNewsFoto/ManpowerGroup)

MILWAUKEE — ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) – Millennials are set to run career ultramarathons and anticipate taking breaks along the way, according to a ManpowerGroup report out today. They prioritize job security and the opportunity for new challenges and types of work. Based on a global study of 1,000 Millennials from across the United States, the report provides practical advice to help employers rethink their people practices for attracting, retaining and developing Millennial workers.

  • American Millennials are preparing to run career ultramarathons. Sixty-six percent expect to work past age 65. Thirty-two percent expect to work over the age of 70, and 12% say they will likely work until the day they die.
  • American Millennials are working longer and harder than previous generations. Seventy-six percent of American Millennials foresee taking career breaks longer than four weeks. Though women are likely to plan breaks to care for others — children, older relatives, etc. — men and women prioritize leisure-related breaks for themselves equally.
  • Globally, Millennials are happy to disrupt and be disrupted by new ways of working. While almost three-quarters of working Millennials are in full-time jobs today, over half say they’re open to new ways of working in the future – freelance, gig work or portfolio careers with multiple jobs. Thirty-four percent globally are considering self-employment.
  • Ninety-five percent of American Millennials are willing to spend their own time and/or money on further training. The report highlights the positive correlation between people’s career success—being more educated, better prepared for employment and higher paid—and their “learnability,” or ability and desire to learn.

“Employers need to listen up and get creative. They simply cannot afford not to appeal to Millennials,” said Mara Swan, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent, ManpowerGroup and Global Brand Lead for Right Management. “Millennials want progression, but that doesn’t have to mean promotion. We need new ways to motivate and engage employees, like facilitating on-the-job learning and helping people move around the organization to gain experience more easily. And what works for Millennials works for the rest of the workforce too.”

This is the first in ManpowerGroup’s series of reports this year focused on Millennials in the workforce; the next report will cover new strategies for managing Millennials, again offering practical advice for attracting, retaining and developing tomorrow’s talent.



To view the full U.S. version of the report, “Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision,” visit

About the Research
ManpowerGroup commissioned thought leadership consultancy Reputation Leaders to conduct a quantitative global study of 19,000 working Millennials and 1,500 hiring managers across 25 countries to understand what Generation Y wants now and in the future, and help individuals and organizations succeed in this new world of work. Millennials were identified as those born between 1982 and 1996.

The research population included an independent sample of 11,000 working Millennials equally balanced across age ranges and genders from 18 countries representing all regions. We also surveyed more than 8,000 ManpowerGroup Millennial associate employees and 1,500 hiring managers across 25 countries. Speaking to both groups gave us unique perspectives from both the employers and employees.

The fieldwork took place between February and April 2016. Participating countries included: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Singapore, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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