Half say poor work ethic left them unprepared for first job

Despite their love of mobile devices, Millennials would much prefer talking with a colleague in person over texting or emailing, according to a new Bentley University survey of Millennials' attitude toward work. The survey also found that when Millennials choose between jobs, healthcare benefits are more important than frequent pay raises and promotions.

Millennials' preparedness for the workplace has become a hotly debated issue for the future of the U.S. economy. By 2025, Millennials will make up almost 75% of the global workforce, and by the end of 2014, one of every three employees in the U.S. will be a millennial.

"Millennials aren't just the workforce of the future: more and more, they're the workforce of today," says Gloria Larson, president of Bentley University. "Millennials represent a shift in behavior and attitude: from their comfort with technology to their knowledge of current events: that presents a huge opportunity for our economy. Millennials will change the world, so we in business and higher education need to create an environment in which they can thrive and ultimately succeed."

The Bentley survey found surprising insights into Millennials' work-related mindset. Though Millennials are often dismissed as "job hoppers" with no loyalty to employers, 80% believe they'll work for four or fewer companies in their career. And 95% of Millennials say they'd like to work for an ethical company.

Bentley's "Millennial Mind Goes to Work" survey, which included responses from 1,031 Millennials in the U.S. aged 18 to 34, found:

  • Millennials love their smartphones, but 51% would rather talk with a colleague in person, far outpacing those who prefer texting (14%) or email (19%).
  • Ninety-six percent of Millennials say great healthcare benefits are important in choosing a job, more important than frequent raises (94%) and promotions (82%).
  • The typical 9-to-5 workday doesn't work for many Millennials. Seventy-seven percent say flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age.
  • Millennials view career success differently than their parents. Rather than striving for the CEO spot, 66% would like to start their own business, and 37% would like to work on their own.
  • Fifty percent of Millennials say their poor work ethic left them unprepared for their first job, followed closely by poor time management (47%) and organization (38%) skills.
  • Eighty-nine percent of Millennials regularly check work email after the work day has ended, reinforcing their "always on" reputation.