In our Work in Progress series, in partnership with LinkedIn, we take a look at issues facing the American workforce.
Millennials, estimated to make up more than a third of the American workforce, are re-inventing the traditional concept of employment. They are also leaving their lucrative jobs in order to travel.
"This really is a symptom of the job market today. People are voluntarily leaving their jobs at the highest rate since 2000. The hiring market is strong. There are now more open jobs than there are unemployed workers, so people who are thinking about quitting are saying this looks like a really good time to do so," said Chip Cutter, managing editor of LinkedIn. "They have the confidence to do it. They think they'll be able to get another job pretty easily."
A 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey found 43 percent of millennials plan to quit their jobs within two years, and only 28 percent of millennials plan to stay in their current role for more than five years.
Cutter said the big question he had for millennials was how they were able to afford quitting their jobs and traveling for a year.
"They said they really had to plan for this months in advance. And I think it's important to note that there are a lot of people who had to have student loans who just cannot do this, but some said that they saved, for instance, $2,000 a month to be able to travel," Cutter said. "It depends on where you're going, what your plans are. Those who plan to travel throughout Southeast Asia might be able to do it cheaper than those who are going to Europe, for instance."
But there are a lot of varying pathways, he added.
"Not everybody is taking a sabbatical in Bali. Some are quitting their jobs just to take another position somewhere else or take a higher paying job," Cutter said.
LinkedIn found that millennials "are more open to consider multiple careers."
"We see kind of older generations perhaps a little bit more unlikely to do so. Some feel like they feel stuck in their careers, aren't exactly sure where to go next, but quitting could be an option to get out of there," Cutter said.
Millennials are also able to market their travel experiences to their subsequent employers.
"I spoke with someone, she was working in investment banking. She quit her job, traveled throughout Southeast Asia," Cutter said. "Now she's trying to get a job in sustainability and she said that she's now using this travel experience as part of her story, that seeing that part of the world helped her better understand this field."