Are U.S. Millennials Really Disengaged at Work? A Review of the Academic and Practitioner Literature

Are U.S. millennials working in a corporate workplace really more
disengaged at work than other generations? This article reviews the

Despite assertions from consulting firms and practitioners that millennials are more disengaged than other generations, the findings attained from the literature review indicate uncertainty about those claims. This article identifies a concerning number of gaps that prevent us from confidently answering the question, “Are U.S. millennials working in a corporate workplace really more disengaged at work than other generations?” The main problems are that consistent definitions of “employee engagement” and “millennials” are not used, no comprehensive picture of the facts on the subject have been achieved, existing methodologies, questionnaires, and data are not accessible, practitioners tend to misunderstand the inconclusive nature of the research, and research solely on the United States, in particular, is lacking.

These findings have an economic impact on companies spending their employee engagement budget specifically on millennial employees. Further, the conclusions of this research may help to prevent unfounded beliefs about millennial employees that could lead to misconceptions and stereotypes. This article explores the academic research, along with actions practitioners and scholars can take to start learning more about millennial engagement in the workplace. To jumpstart research efforts, whether in practice or in academia, it is recommended that the definition of employee engagement being used should be clarified and that qualitative research methods such as employee observations, interviews, and focus groups can be used to gain valuable insights into millennial engagement issues.

Author: Danielle Clark


Cite as: Clark, D. (2019). Are U.S. millennials really disengaged at work? A review of the academic and practitioner literature. Muma Business Review 3(12). 147-156.