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  • Understanding Millennials' Workplace Preferences

    A Study on Choosing and Becoming Loyal Towards an Employer

    Elin Forsslund & Julia Halin

    International Business and Economic, bachelor's level 2018

    Luleå University of Technology Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences

  • Acknowledgement

    This thesis is connected to a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Economics at

    Luleå University of Technology. During the spring of 2018, we have spent ten weeks writing

    the thesis and both fun, interesting and challenging times have passed.

    We are proud of presenting this thesis and would like to address a special thank you to our

    supervisor Seyedeh Fatemeh Mostafavi Shirazi (Mahboobeh) for all the support, feedback

    and guidance she has provided us with. We would also like to thank all the interviewees for

    taking their time to participate in this thesis, and for giving us a lot of good thoughts and

    reflections on the subject. Lastly, we would like to thank each other for helping and supporting

    one another during these ten weeks of writing.

    Luleå, May 2018

    _________________________ _________________________

    Elin Forsslund Julia Halin

  • Abstract

    Employees choosing their employer rather than the employer choosing their employees have

    resulted in an increased interest of understanding what is requested among today's workforce.

    The growing generation of the labour market, Millennials, have been shown to create

    difficulties for organisations, in form of an increased turnover rate among them. In order to

    decrease the turnover rate, the purpose of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of

    Millennials’ preferences when choosing a company, and factors that would make them loyal.

    Previous theory state important factors that are affecting Millennials, but these are studies

    conducted in countries such as Canada, the USA, and India. Therefore, this thesis focuses on

    Millennials in Sweden.

    To gain a deeper understanding of Millennials’ preferences, semi-structured interviews, with

    non-standardised questions were held. To analyse the empirical data a thematic method was

    used. This made it easier to compare the data with previous literature. Findings suggest that

    relations with colleagues and managers are an important factor that affects both the choice of

    employer and the loyalty towards them. Moreover, psychological work environment, values,

    progress, and salary were mentioned as essential factors. Depending on the research

    question, the outcome differed.

    Keywords: Millennials, Workplace, Recruitment, Turnover Rate, Preferences, Loyalty

  • Sammanfattning

    På dagens arbetsmarknad har det visat sig att anställda väljer sin arbetsgivare, istället för att

    arbetsgivaren väljer sina anställda, vilket har resulterat i ett ökat intresse i vad som efterfrågas

    bland dagens arbetskraft. Den växande generationen på arbetsmarknaden,

    millenniegenerationen, har visat sig skapa svårigheter för organisationer, däribland genom

    ökad personalomsättning. Syftet med uppsatsen är att öka förståelsen för hur denna

    generation väljer en arbetsgivare och vilka faktorer som skulle bidra till deras lojalitet. Tidigare

    forskning har påvisat viktiga faktorer som påverkar millenniegenerationen, men denna

    forskning är främst utförd i Kanada, USA och Indien. Därför fokuserar detta arbete på

    millenniegenerationen i Sverige.

    För att få en djupare förståelse för generationens preferenser för en arbetsgivare utfördes

    semistrukturerade intervjuer med icke-standardiserade frågor och analyserades med hjälp av

    tematisk analys. Detta underlättade arbetet i jämförelsen mellan data och tidigare forskning.

    Slutsatserna av analysen var att relationer med kollegor och chefer är en viktig faktor som

    påverkar både valet av företag, samt lojaliteten mot dessa. Utöver det var den psykologiska

    arbetsmiljön, värderingar, utvecklingsmöjligheter och lön viktiga faktorer. Beroende på

    forskningsfrågan blev innebörden olika.

    Nyckelord: Millenniegenerationen, Arbetsplats, Personalomsättning, Preferenser,

    Rekrytering, Lojalitet

  • Table of Content 1. Introduction 1

    1.1 Background 1

    1.2 Problem Discussion 3

    1.3 Purpose and Research Questions 4

    1.4 Delimitations 4

    1.5 Overview of the Entire Thesis 5

    2. Literature Review 6

    2.1 Organisational Attraction and Individual Preference 6

    2.1.1. Factors Millennials Look for When Choosing an Employer 7 Questions to Ask Oneself When Choosing an Organisation 9

    2.1.2 Millennials’ Loyalty Towards Employers 12

    2.2 Frame of Reference 15

    2.2.1 Millennials Choosing an Employer 16

    2.2.2 Millennials’ Loyalty Towards an Employer 18

    2.2.3 Employee’s Preconditions of Choosing Employer and Becoming Loyal 19

    3. Methodology 21

    3.1 Purpose of Research 21

    3.2 Research Approach 21

    3.3 Research Strategy 22

    3.4 Collecting Empirical Data 23

    3.5 Sample Selection 24

    3.6 Data Analysis 26

    3.7 Validity & Reliability 27

    3.7.1 Validity 27

    3.7.2 Reliability 28

    4. Data Presentation 29

    4.1 Millennials’ Criteria When Choosing Employer 29

    4.2 Factors for Becoming a Loyal Employee 30

    5. Data Analysis 32

    5.1 Analysis of Millennials Choosing an Employer 34

    5.1.1 Relations 34

    5.1.2 Values 35

    5.1.3 Psychological Work Environment 36

    5.1.4 Progress 37

    5.1.5 Salary 38

  • 5.2 Analysis of Millennials Becoming Loyal 39

    5.2.1 Relations 39

    5.2.2 Values 40

    5.2.3 Psychological Work Environment 42

    5.2.4 Progress 43

    5.2.5 Salary 44

    6. Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations 45

    6.1 Findings 45

    6.1.1 Choosing an Employer 45

    6.1.2 Loyalty 46

    6.2 Conclusions 47

    6.3 Implications for Practitioners 48

    6.4 Recommendations 49

    6.5 Limitations and Further Research 50

    References 51

    APPENDIX A: Interview Guide in English 57

    APPENDIX B: Interview Guide in Swedish 58

    APPENDIX C: Quotes 59

  • List of Figures

    Figure 1: Thesis Outline 5

    Figure 2: The Connection Between Research Question One and Two 20

    Figure 3: Overview of the Population and Sampling for This Thesis 25

    Figure 4: Themes Found from the Collected Data 33

    List of Tables

    Table 1: Overview of the Frame of Reference 15

    Table 2: Criteria for Choosing an Employer

    Table 3: Questions to Ask Oneself Before Making the Choice of Employer



    Table 4: Factors Motivating Millennials 18

    Table 5: Sample Group 25

    Table 6: Questions Connected to RQ1 29

    Table 7: Questions Connected to RQ2 30

    Table 8: Themes Found for RQ1 34

    Table 9: Themes Found for RQ2 39

  • 1

    1. Introduction

    This chapter introduces the different generations in today’s labour market and focuses on

    Millennials. Because of this generation, the labour market is changing and therefore, it is

    important to be aware of these changes. In the problem discussion, a deeper focus on the

    outcome of the differences between the generations is presented. This ends up with the

    purpose of the thesis and the research questions.

    1.1 Background

    Humans are always striving for more and have a hard time being satisfied with what they have

    (Kaliprasad, 2006), which have made the organisations actively work with attracting and

    retaining highly skilled personnel to their companies (Mahroum, 2000). Nowadays, employers

    need to fight for the talent, and employees have more power in choosing where to work

    (Klimkiewicz & Oltra, 2017). This creates a demand for organisations to understand the fit

    between organisational and personal characteristics to attract potential employees (Rani &

    Samuel, 2016), which also helps organisations to retain their current workers (Schneider,

    Goldstein & Smith, 1995). To understand what the working force is striving for it is important

    to first look at it from their perspective and try to understand their preferences.

    The current working force consists of different generations which are: Baby Boomers,

    Generation X, and Millennials, also called Generation Y. Several sources provide different

    years the generations are born in (Graybill, 2013; Smith & Galbraith, 2012; Wieck, 2008).

    Following are the definitions this thesis will use. Baby Boomers are born between 1944 and

    1964, Generation X is born between 1965 and 1979 (Stewart, Goad Oliver, Cravens & Oishi,

    2017) and the Millennials are born between 1980 and 1995 (Rabasca Roepe, 2017). Baby

    Boomers distinct their generation with work ethic, respect, and care about morals and values,

    while Generation X see themselves as good users of technology, having a work ethic and

    being conservative or traditio


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