Millennials, individuals born approximately between 1982 and 2002 (Howe & Strauss, 2000) are on average, quitting their jobs within 3 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Their short job tenure not only impacts organizations negatively (Phillips & Connell, 2003), but it also influences how the Millennials are portrayed in the media. Public perceptions assert (although not supported by substantial evidence) that Millennials quit their jobs because they lack loyalty and have a poor work ethic (Marston, 2013), have extreme confidence in their abilities (Howe and Strauss, 2000), make inappropriate work demands (Erickson, Alsop, Nicholson, & Miller, 2009), and possess high expectations for work (Sujansky & Ferri-Reed, 2009) such as flexibility and rapid career growth. Given these are mere assertions, a qualitative study utilizing a phenomenological approach was undertaken to explore the voluntary turnover of Millennials from the Millennials' perspective. The purpose of the study was to discover the reasons why Millennials chose to quit their former jobs and subsequently, what it means to them when they leave an organization. Interviews were conducted with 25 Millennial college graduates (Bachelors degree or higher) who have quit one or more jobs within 5 years of being hired. A major finding from the study was that Millennials decided to join an organization for many of the same reasons they decided to leave it. Compensation, location, opportunity to learn and pursue a career that corresponds to their college degree, flexible work schedule, work environment, and job responsibilities were among many of the reasons cited by the research participants regarding their decisions to join and/or leave an organization. There was a gap that existed between what they perceived the organization would offer them before they joined the organization and their actual assessment of and experience in the environment after they began working there. This discrepancy is the primary cause of the voluntary turnover amongst the Millennials that participated in the study and speaks to the essence of how Millennials are experiencing their organizations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Generation Y -- Employment; Job satisfaction; Employee retention; Employee motivation

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

DellaNeve, James;