“With the arrival of each new generation,” says Simón, “the concept of loyalty has been steadily losing ground.” She attributes this trend to the fact that companies just aren’t able to offer their employees job security, so that, in turn, leads Gen Xers and Gen Yers to be skeptical of their employers and keep moving around to protect their interests. A 2009 survey for Deloitte Consulting LLP found that nearly two-thirds of executives at large companies were concerned about losing Gen Y employees, whom they considered the least loyal and most mobile, and less than half of the executives surveyed were concerned with losing Gen Xers, according to Robin Erickson, manager of Deloitte’s human capital division. Erickson also cites a companion survey of employees that found that only about 37 percent of Gen Xers said they planned to stay in their current jobs after the current recession ends, compared with 44 percent of Gen Yers, 50 percent of Baby Boomers, and 52 percent of Silent Generation workers. Very few of us, it seems, are committing to any employer for life.
And the Next Generation?
Will the trend of eroding job loyalty continue? At what cost? Whether or not job security is a fair price for job mobility, we’ve come a long way from Grandpa Milt and his Electra-craft shop.