Isn’t this what millennials really want in the workplace? @locktoninfo


Although Pension PlayPen and First Actuarial do our work for employers and trustees, we rely on our partner- Lockton – to do the heavy lifting on workplace benefits.

Here’s the first of two articles on what they’re research tells them young people want . I’m no expect and I’m certainly no Millennial, but this makes sense to me!

For companies serious about attracting and retaining younger workers, it might be time to re-evaluate their benefits package.

Companies’ recruitment and retention of millennials will only become more important.

In future this group (those born between 1977 and 2000) will become an ever-greater determinant of companies’ overall commercial success. By 2025 75% office workers are projected to be millennials, according to one Deloitte survey.

There is often a vast difference between what millennials value in a workplace and what most employers offer.

So how does an employer provide a workplace and benefits package attractive to millennials? The first step, simple as it sounds, is understanding what this age group actually wants from work.

Times are changing

Decisions-makers within companies and HR departments are usually not millennials. As a result, they may often be well-removed from the trends and circumstances influencing millennials’ lifestyles, working patterns and preferences. So how would they really know what millennials want?

With this in mind, we went back to basics and asked millennials themselves what they wanted in a workplace (running a number of tailored, focused groups using paired comparisons to establish popularity levels).

Our findings suggest there is often a vast difference between what millennials would look for and value in a workplace, and what most employers offer.

In our experience, many company benefits programmes have remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years (and competitor benchmarking only reinforces this position). They tend to be suited (on average) to 35-55 year olds and are heavily weighted towards support/recovery benefits.
Typical benefit plans

Millennial benefits preferences

Many company benefits programmes have remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years.

According to our research, millennials’ preferred benefits package is weighted far more towards ‘engagement’, with much less emphasis on support/recovery benefits.

For instance, our research indicated that, rightly or wrongly, retirement doesn’t feature as major consideration for millennials – with only 4% of 16-24 year olds attracted to an employer because of their pension plan.

On the other hand, lifestyle benefits are a big attraction – with holiday trading, access to retail and travel discounts and agile/flexible working all featuring highly in our pilot studies.

Short and simple

Changing your actual benefits package by itself may not be enough to attract and retain millennials, however, unless these benefits are communicated effectively. There can often be large differences in how older employees and millennials prefer to access and consume information.

There can be large differences in how older employees and millennials access and consume information.

Millennials are more likely to expect information and decisions around benefits to be presented and actionable on multiple channels and devices. They will also tend to respond better to short, crisp and personalised communications.

For instance, more than two thirds of millennials believe there is a place for emoticons in the office, according to a new study from Microsoft and YouGov. This is not to say that information on pensions should be accompanied by smiley faces, but it does indicate broader differences in how many millennials prefer to communicate – something employers should cater for, where appropriate.

Case by case

Of course, not all millennials are the same and we should avoid generalisations about any work group. Many traditional conceptions of millennial employees are being quite routinely questioned and/or refuted by data.

Many traditional conceptions of millennial employees are being questioned.

Our research findings are only an average of the group we looked at. Our research indicates that there is a wider dispersion among millennials than among older age groups. Partly, this may because of the speed of change (most notably technological) that has occurred in the last decade, during which many of millennials have reached adulthood and entered the workplace. There will inevitably be sub-groups within the millennial category. Understanding and factoring in this variability is vital to understanding what millennials may want.

And, naturally, these findings only indicate what millennials have said they would like, not what may reasonably be considered in their best interests. For example, while millennials may not consider pension provisions as a big factor – because retirement seems so far away, of course they are vitally important and something that responsible HR professionals would consider within a broader benefits package.
In part two of our analysis of ‘What millennials want in the workplace,’ we will analyse specific employee benefits that millennials are most attracted to and how, within budgetary restraints, some of these preferences can be reflected in a company’s benefits package.

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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, Financial Education, governance, happiness, pensions. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Isn’t this what millennials really want in the workplace? @locktoninfo

  1. DaveC says:


    ‘Millennials’ at age 40 have a wildly different desire than those at age 18.

    Those near 40 are scrambling to buy a home and a high salary to hopefully support a family and two or three offspring.
    Without that their retirement is a write off. Unless future benefit funding will come from magic fairy dust, and not a tiny working age population.

    Those near 20 years old might like the idea of flexi time and dossing around like students forever at others expense, but it’s expensive to provide. Very expensive.
    So it won’t happen.
    Try find a job in the private sector that is part time and flexi time and pays ok.
    Trust young idealistic liberals to want socialist benefits that get paid with magic pixie dust.
    Try as a man and it’s near impossible to get flexible working. Only huge businesses with lots of duplicate staffing can hope to offer these benefits.
    Public sector might offer it, but who will pay in a world where there are less people working to fuel real economic growth?
    And then when people do opt for that flexi lifestyle by going freelance and ‘buying’ their benefits of flexibility with much higher risks on income, the so called ‘gig’ economy, government just want them to pay more taxes and force pensions at them.

    The issues are not resolved.

    You’re painting over cracks in the wall.

    Offer choice. One size doesn’t fit all.
    Offer higher salaries and then make benefits optional and all transparently costed so people know what they’re getting.

    How hard is that?

  2. henry tapper says:

    Interesting alternative perspective Dave – I love your vehemence and you’ve made me look at the ideas in the article again – thanks

  3. DaveC says:

    I may end up ranting on some issues around pensions and benefits, but it’s become increasingly painful to watch the industry over the last 15 years.

    The wash rinse repeat cycle with every new buzz word innovation that promises to revolutionise the entire industry and get everyone saving for retirement earlier, and understanding complex benefits topics using amazing new technology.

    Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, cloud, AI, big data, apps, fintech… and so on.

    But nothing has changed.

    The sad part though is that huge sums of money are spent and it’s ultimately coming from the pockets of those least able to pay but who put their trust in highly paid professionals to do the right things with it.

    Using a buzz word ‘millennial’ which actually hits half the working age demographic (18-40), and then suggesting because they’re all young and hip in that age range (not really) that they’ll buy into benefits and pensions more because they’re on apps or social media or fintech or whatever else happens to be the thing of the day, seems simplistic and a bit offensive.
    Can that really be the depth, even initially, of a serious analysis into ‘millennial’ engagement?

    Yes engagement is important, but so is a good product, and a good product is absolutely essential in this industry… as you rightly and constantly push for.

    If the marketing budgets backed up amazing products then great, but if they don’t then the marketing budget becomes a waste and offensive to those paying the bills (employees)

    Just look at P&G, and I’m sure maybe Unilever have done the same.
    There are manifold reasons behind the shifting we see, but needless to say the marketing hype train for web advertising may be coming off the rails for good reasons.
    Imagine now if it was your employees money that was funnelled into ineffective marketing like that, designed to target them but just funding layers of snake oil retailers running off buzz words and hype instead.

    The product should come first, then sell it appropriately. A great product might even sell itself without marketing or apps and websites etc!

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