More than half of Generation Z and Millennials are willing to stay with their employer long-term, study finds

Commuters walk to work in central London in the morning, crossing London Bridge, after research suggest that workers begin to look for a new job after 18 months. London Bridge, London. (23/01/2023)

MORE than half of Gen-Z and Millennials are in it for the long-haul with their current employer – despite many just starting out in their careers. 

A survey of 5,000 working adults has revealed that 35 per cent of those aged between 18-and-34 would be willing to stay with their current company long-term thanks to opportunities to develop new skills.  

A new study has revealed that many Millennials are ‘lifers’, not ‘hoppers’

And 34 per cent believe they have a clear pathway to progress into new roles within their organisation.

Building relationships at work is also helping to create loyalty among younger workers – as 40 per cent can see a future with their employer based on the friends they have made in the workplace. 

In fact, one in three (32 per cent) are content to become a ‘lifer’ at their company -someone who prefers to stay long-term with one business – because they have been treated well and want to repay their employer with loyalty. 

On the other hand, 23 per cent of workers under 34 are more likely to fall into the ‘hopper’ category – a worker who regularly moves companies every one to three years – the research from global recruitment experts Michael Page, part of FTSE 250 PageGroup, revealed. 

Among these ‘hoppers’, 29 per cent value the experience they gain from working at different companies. 

While for a quarter their motive is financial – believing they’ll get the biggest pay increases from moving between organisations.

While a significant number of younger workers identify as ‘lifers’, there are still plenty who are on the ‘hopper’ route.

In fact, this younger age group are far more likely than their older generational counterparts to follow the hopper career approach, with 35 per cent compared to just eight per cent of those aged 45 to 64. 

Doug Rode, managing director UK & Ireland at Michael Page said: “There are a lot of outdated perceptions around moving jobs frequently and indeed, staying in one place for too long.

“Being a ‘lifer’ doesn’t necessarily mean staying in one role for your entire career and becoming outdated – just as being a ‘hopper’ doesn’t necessarily mean being flighty and unreliable. 

“It’s important to remember it’s not a one size fits all approach – individual personality traits and different life circumstances all play a role in why someone might identify as either a ‘hopper’ or a ‘lifer’.

“The modern workplace has space for both. In fact, harnessing the unique attributes of these two mindsets will strengthen any team.

“What’s really interesting about these findings is that we’re able to bust the myth that younger workers wouldn’t consider a long-term future with a company in the early stages of their career.

“Yes, they are more likely to identify as ‘hoppers’ than older workers, but it’s clear from the data that if they find the right employer, they could be willing to stay for a long time.”

The research went on to further canvas opinion regarding the two career approaches, with respondents believing that teamwork (50 per cent) and problem-solving skills (33 per cent) were among the top skills of those with the lifer mindset.

Meanwhile, those who fall into the ‘hopper’ category are more likely to bring a greater sense of adaptability (37 per cent) and fresh thinking (38 per cent) to the workplace.

More than half (57 per cent) believe those who carve out a long career at one company will have deeper industry knowledge, but 44 per cent are concerned they also run the risk of becoming stagnant. 

Interestingly, respondents feel that those who move around more could be less motivated (18 per cent) than a ‘lifer’ (27 per cent) – but are much more likely to be adaptable (37 per cent) and outgoing (38 per cent).

Two in three (66 per cent) said loyalty to one company will create more job stability and 42 per cent believe the ‘lifer’ career approach presents more opportunities for industry awards and recognition. 

On the other hand, the top benefit of being a ‘hopper’ was identified as the opportunity to travel the world (34 per cent) while three in 10 (30 per cent) believe this lifestyle offers potential to climb the corporate ladder more quickly. 

And 46 per cent noted employees will build up a more diverse background of experiences by moving around more – whereas just one in five (20 per cent) believe these opportunities will be the same for someone who is already embedded in their company. 

The research, which was conducted via, went on to speak to those who have been involved with hiring in their workplace. 

In good news for ‘hoppers’, almost half (49 per cent) of those responsible for making hiring decisions recognise the fresh working styles this group can bring to a business. 

And a third (35 per cent) would choose a ‘hopper’ to make an impact in a short space of time. 

But they also look keenly on ‘lifers’ for their strong industry connections (40 per cent) with more than half (52 per cent) recognising these workers as industry experts and a third (32 per cent) noting their ability to build rapport. 

Michael Page’s Doug Rode added: “It’s clear from the data that there are real advantages to hiring either a ‘lifer’ or a ‘hopper’ with both demonstrating the attributes any business would associate with top talent.

“Hiring managers recognise the different skills each can bring to a team, and place ‘lifers’ and ‘hoppers’ almost neck and neck in terms of being motivated and high achieving (44 and 42 per cent respectively).

“The crucial consideration is who is right for your business at the current time.

“Is it the ‘lifer’ with demonstrable loyalty and depth of specialised experience or is it a ‘hopper’ who brings fresh thinking and learnings from other areas? 

“And if a business can cultivate an environment where any type of worker can thrive, who knows, those ‘hoppers’ you hired might just turn into a ‘lifer.’”