NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Next year, Millennials will comprise nearly half (45%) of the U.S. workforce – the largest generation of American workers. With them come new attitudes to employment, job satisfaction, and career goals. Where Baby Boomers believe five years at the same employer is practically just getting started, Gen Y is looking for their next opportunity after the first year.

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According to a new report, issued by PayScale and Millennial Branding, 26% of Millennials surveyed said that workers should only be expected to stay in a job a year or less before looking for a new position. Most Baby Boomers (41%) said workers should stay with an employer at least five years before looking for a new job -- only 13% of Millennials agreed.

"From previous studies, we found that Millennials switch jobs every two years," Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, told MainStreet. "This study shows that one in four think one year or less is acceptable. You can't gain true work experience in under a year because it usually takes six months to learn your job. This amount of job hopping can be detrimental to their long term career because managers don't want to hire someone for six months."

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As hard as it is for young adults to find suitable work, you would think they might cling tight to the opportunities they have. Highly-educated Gen Y-ers especially. Millennials surveyed who hold a Ph.D. reported being underemployed at a rate of 34%, compared to 27% for Gen Xers and 25% for Boomers. And, Millennial M.D.s who participated in the research were underemployed at a rate of 30%, compared to 22% of Gen Xers and 21% of Boomers. That means they are not being paid for the education, skills and training they possess.

"Highly educated Millennials are underemployed because there aren't job openings, companies might feel like they are too expensive and they are carrying much more student loan debt for staying in school longer," Schawbel says. "They don't have the work experience, which is much more important than education when searching for a job."

“While it’s easy to assume Millennials are willing to job hop because they’re less loyal to their employers than previous generations, you have to really look at the current economic climate to understand why that attitude has shifted over time,” said Lydia Frank, editorial director of PayScale. “Millennials are often facing higher rates of underemployment, not to mention higher student loan debts, they’re struggling financially when they first enter the job market, so their first job might not be the one they were hoping for. Languishing in a job that doesn’t utilize your education or isn’t paying you what you’re worth isn’t a savvy career decision either. The job market looks different than it did when Gen X and Boomers were first entering it.”

And because of this underemployment, it's widely known that Millennials have had a rough go of it financially, with many having to move back home to make ends meet. Even though the most educated generation in history, nearly one-quarter (24%) of young adults surveyed admitted having to move home – including 7% of Millennial Ph.D.s and 16% of Millennial M.D.s.

--Hal M. Bundrick is a Certified Financial Planner and contributor to MainStreet. Follow him on Twitter: @HalMBundrick

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