10 Steps to Engage the 49% of Millennials Who Would Quit their Job within Two Years

Key Takeaways:

  • 49% of Millennials surveyed reported they would quit their job within two years.
  • Nurse turnover is estimated to cost organizations between $4.4-$7 million annually.
  • Nurses may be influenced to stay in positions by different factors depending on their age group or seniority.

According to the recent 2019 Deloitte Millennial survey, 49% of Millennials would quit their job within the next two years. While this may seem alarming for hiring managers who are already faced with nursing shortages nationwide, it is crucial for managers to understand the underlying factors that contribute to the generational attitudes behind Millennial employment preferences in order to best engage them.

1. Lack of trust: Of those surveyed, only 22% expect the socio-political climate in their country to improve in the coming year.

  • 73% believe that political leaders don’t have a positive impact on the world1

2. Turnover: 49% of Millennials surveyed reported they would quit their job within two years.

  • 25% of the same respondents reported leaving an employer within the past two years.
  • Only 28% of respondents said they would remain with their employer for at least five years.
  • The top reasons cited to leave their current job unsurprisingly include unhappiness with compensation, lack of career advancement and lack of professional development opportunities, among others1.

3. Work environment. It probably comes as no surprise that the most recent Press Ganey study identified work environment as the most influential factor in nurse turnover. According to the survey, “42% of the 250,000 nurses surveyed said the work environment was the main reason they planned to leave their job within the next year”2.

  • However, the study also found that work environment affects different generations of nurses differently. Younger nurses were found to be slightly less concerned with work environment than their older counterparts.
  • “Of respondents under 30 years old, 39.7% said they intended to leave their jobs within the next year due to the work environment compared to 45.4% of nurses aged 40 to 49”2.

4. Younger nurses experience higher turnover rates. Nurses who have been in practice between 2-4 years were found to have the highest risk for attrition.

  • Another important finding identified that nurses under 30 were more likely to express a desire to leave the unit while staying with the facility than other age groups. This indicates that younger nurses may change units in an effort to identify their career path while remaining loyal to their organizations. 
  • Additionally, nurses in the same age group expressed a similar desire to leave patient care while remaining in nursing2.

5. Job recognition. Younger nurses were found to place value on job recognition while more tenured nurses place more value on leadership.

  • For nurses that had been practicing for two years or less “the predictors of intent to stay were things like praise, recognition, nurse manager support, certification, and joy in work”2.
  • However, “for those who’ve been practicing for more than 20 years, [intent to stay] was about leadership, influence over their schedule, and quality of care”1.

6. At-risk specialties. Nurses in more demanding specialties like critical care and step-down units were found to be at higher risk of turnover.

  • According to Press Ganey, nurses in higher acuity units were more likely to express a desire to leave their units within the next 1-3 years2.

Reducing Turnover by Building Trust:

Of course, the correlation between turnover trends and different nursing groups does not mean causation. After all, not every nurse working in a supportive work environment can be expected to stay forever, nor should every new nurse be expected to leave within two years. Nevertheless, in an effort to minimize turnover through supportive leadership, the following 10 steps have been attributed to competent leaders who are more likely to retain nurses:

10 Steps to Retain Nurses

  1. Promote diversity and inclusion.
  2. Balance profits with helping to make the world a better place.
  3. Connect with younger employees and listen to what issues and concerns rank among their top priorities.
  4. Help employees understand what loyalty means from their employer’s perspective.
  5. Provide concrete training and tools for employees to further their career goals and professional development.
  6. Create a positive workplace culture.
  7. Provide opportunities for continuous learning and workplace flexibility, which includes social mobility.
  8. Understand the importance of the environment and the overall societal impact of the business.
  9. Show clearly how your business safeguards personal data from both physical and digital threats.
  10. Millennials are less trusting of their employers – so demonstrate how you are trustworthy and why employees should believe you1.

To learn more about leadership strategies and opportunities, visit our website to speak with a recruiter today. Or, follow us on LinkedIn to receive updates about our hot jobs. 

In case you missed it:


1Thew, J. (February 15th, 2019). 4 Reasons You Are Losing Nurses

2Friedman, Z. (May 22, 2019) 49% Of Millennials Would Quit Their Job Within 2 Years


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