NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Yuling He has worked at Alcoa in Pittsburgh as an engineer for three years. “So far it’s great,” said He. “The leadership values feedback from Millennials.”

The 27-year-old organizes happy hours for young employees of Alcoa, debunking the popular myth that Millennials have low organizational commitment and are more likely to bounce around throughout their careers than other generations. “I am constantly re-evaluating my situation,” He told MainStreet. “But that doesn’t mean I will leave the organization. I would look within the organization first.”

Millennials are projected to make up nearly 50% of the global workforce by 2020, and 89% want to achieve stability and security in the workforce, according to a poll by Catalyst. To ensure that end, Millennials are actively working to change the professional misperceptions about the generation. 

He recently spoke on a panel of millennials organized by Catalyst to bring to light common myths about younger workers. “There’s a lot of stereotypes that exist around Millennials these days which has a lot of companies nervous about how they can most effectively recruit this group and retain them,” said Anna Beninger, director of research with Catalyst, an international non-profit working to advance opportunities for women and business.

“I have had three jobs, because I am looking for the right job and employer,” said Caroline Fairchild, new economy editor with LinkedIn, who was also a panelist at the 2015 Catalyst Award Conference in Manhattan. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Baby Boomers stay on a job an average of five years compared to seven years for Generation X and 18 months for Millennials.

"It’s critical for organizations to invest in Millennials from day one if they hope to keep them over time," said Beninger.

Another myth impacting Millennials is that they are less trusting of hierarchical large corporations, but the truth is that large corporations have more resources to offer.

“The advantages of working for a large corporation is that it offers guidance and mentorship,” said He. “Management gives me an opportunity to go in the direction I want to go.”

What sets Millennials apart from previous generations is that they are digital natives, which means they grew up with technology and bring this advanced skill set to their jobs. “The layers of the technology they grew up with is significant so there are some differences in how they approach the world,” Beninger told MainStreet. “They prefer flexible working arrangements because they have grown up with technology."

Employers most successful at retaining Millennial talent are those that offer competitive pay, international assignments, highly visible projects, leadership development training and sponsorship.

“They constantly want to be challenged, so if you can engage them and show that they are valued, then employers will be able to keep Millennial workers over time,” Beninger said.

Millennials can do their part to reassure their employers of their commitment to the company by communicating with managers and being assertive about asking for development opportunities.

“The more open they can be with their supervisors and potential mentors and sponsors, the more likely they will get what they are looking for,” said Beninger. “If they are too passive or sitting back, that’s where misperceptions have the biggest impact.”

—Written for MainStreet by Juliette Fairley