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What Job-Hopping Young Professionals Want from Their Next Career Move

Industry Trends and Research

While the Great Resignation may have lost a bit of its novelty, it certainly is not slowing down young professional from evaluating their next career move, including the employer benefits that are most meaningful to them. 

According to Fidelity’s 2022 Career Assessment Survey, 6 in 10 young professionals—defined as those 25-35 years old—have undergone a job change in the last two years or they plan to make a move in the next two years. That breaks down to 37% who have been in their current position for two years or less, and 44% who expect to be at a different company within the next two years, Fidelity notes.  

The survey assesses how working professionals—especially young professionals—are evaluating their next career move, including the employer benefits that are most meaningful to them and the balance between financial benefits and quality of work life.  

While salary is typically the most important factor when a person is assessing a job offer, it may come as no surprise that the other top three financial considerations reported by young professionals include: 

  • medical benefits (54%); 
  • retirement savings (49%); and 
  • bonus (34%). 

When it comes to non-financial benefits that young professionals would prioritize in a job offer, they include paid time off (59%), schedule flexibility/remote work (65%) and professional development (28%). 

Yet, nearly two-thirds (63%) of young professionals say an increased salary, bonus or promotion from their employer would entice them to stay at their current jobs longer. More than a third (34%) also say that increasing financial benefits, such as retirement savings or health care, would help entice them to stay. 

Meanwhile, of the young professionals who had a workplace retirement savings before changing jobs, Fidelity found that 30% opted to cash out, meaning they likely faced a 10% early withdrawal penalty, as well as state and federal taxes, assuming the money was not rolled over into another plan.  

“Young professionals are more diverse than previous generations and their approach to life, work and money is unique, especially as they face external events from market volatility to inflation—many for the first time in their adult lives,” notes Kelly Lannan, Senior Vice President of Emerging Customers at Fidelity Investments. 

“Of course, financial benefits will always be important, but there’s also a heightened expectation from younger professionals to have more paid time off, schedule flexibility and meaningful work—and they’re not afraid to make a change to attain that expectation,” adds Lannan.  

Optimistic College Students 

Among upcoming college graduates, 45% are feeling excited about their approaching graduation and roughly same amount expect to land a job that meets most of their requirements. 

Like their older peers, these college students prioritize the following financial considerations (aside from salary) when evaluating a job:

  • medical benefits/health care (70%); 
  • retirement savings (54%);
  • bonus opportunities (31%); and 
  • student debt assistance (25%). 

That said, a higher percentage of college students (61%) than working professionals (48%) report they value factors improving their overall quality of work life versus financial benefits when evaluating a job offer. 

“The last two years have been a pivotal time for many life decisions, and many young working professionals are still assessing their current job—they are prioritizing increased salary, flexibility at work and financial benefits like retirement savings,” Lannan further emphasizes. “However, current college students are putting a greater emphasis on their quality of work life when they are thinking about their career moves after graduation.”

Additional findings show that 58% of young professionals accepted their current job offer without negotiating, yet for those that did negotiate, 87% got a least some of what they asked. 

In a bit of advice for those who might be assessing a career move, Fidelity suggests that candidates focus on the skills and value they bring to the organization. In addition, the firm encourages professionals to first understand and compare their options to determine what may be the best fit for their individual situation. 

The findings are based on a national online survey conducted March 8-14, 2022, by Engine Insights among a sample of 1,524 U.S. adults ages 25-70 who currently work either full or part time. Additionally, 204 college students graduating in 2022 or 2023 were also surveyed.