Understanding Millennials in government Debunking myths about our youngest public servants

09 November 2015

Explore the data underlying the view that Millennials may not be as averse to government jobs as many may think.

Millennials have lower turnover rates than other generations did

Popular wisdom has it that Millennials hop from job to job. But the data tell a different story. Millennials actually have lower age-specific turnover rates than did Gen Xers of similar ages. (Federal turnover data only available 2006–2010.)


Source: US Census Bureau, Quarterly Workforce Indicators


Government hiring grew from 2000 to 2007, then dropped as property tax revenues fell and political infighting increased. Overall government hiring has dipped below 300,000 hires per month for several extended periods since the Great Recession.


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)


Millennials and hiring times

Duration of job openings, also known as “time-to-hire,” is one measure of how hard it is to find qualified candidates for open positions. Hiring times dropped during the Great Recession of 2007 as more layoffs meant more candidates competing for the same jobs. Hiring times have risen slightly since for all sectors, and the rise for government positions is lower than for other sectors. (No data available for 2007.)


Source: Dice Hiring Indicators, Report 8.


Millennials and employer recruitment

Conventional wisdom says Millennials are more difficult to recruit into government jobs. But the data show the jury is still out on this point. One thing that is clear is that the intensity of government recruiting efforts fell during the Great Recession of 2007 and has not yet recovered to pre-recession levels. (No data available for 2007.)


Source: Dice Hiring Indicators, Report 8


Millennials choosing public administration majors

The number of Millennials choosing to major in public administration and social service has increased sharply over previous generations. In line with other studies that paint Millennials as the most socially committed generation, these figures show there is no shortage of Millennial students wishing to use their talents to contribute to the public good.


Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics