Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre O'Donovan


There has been much commentary in recent years regarding younger people, particularly Millennials, and that discussion has focused on whether they change employment more than previous generations. Additionally there has been debate regarding whether the Millennial generation show less loyalty to employers today. Loyalty, for the purposes of this study, is considered not m terms of dedication, commitment or dependability, but rather in terms of medium to long term allegiance, tenure and faithfulness to the existing employer. The counter argument to this theory is that tenure has more to do with life stage and nothing to do with being Millennial per se. The findings of this study support the latter.

The cost of employee turnover can be high, especially when recruitment, induction, training, lost productivity and the impact on culture are all taken into account. This study investigates whether employers are aware of this cost, and indeed, whether any loyalty challenge exists among the Millennial demographic. This thesis also analyses what employers are doing to attract and retain Millennials today, and what impact this is having on retention.

Seven organisations, from a diverse range of industries, were selected to participate in this study. This represented a sample of approximately 7,000 employees in the Cork area. A semi- structured interview, aimed at senior HR professionals employed by these organisations, was deemed the most effective method to gather primary research. The interviews focused on employee turnover, awareness of costs, and attraction and retention strategies aimed mainly at Millennials.

The most salient finding of this study is that respondents, largely, do not have an awareness of the costs associated with employee turnover, or the cost of the strategies deployed to address it. Whether HR strategy, therefore, is represented as part of the overall corporate strategy is brought into question. Millennials will soon become the largest employment demographic in Ireland. The experience of most of the respondents is that there are not all that many differences, in terms of both employee turnover and expectations, between Millennials and previous generations. There are, however, some nuances in terms of what this generation are looking for from today’s employers in comparison to previous generations.

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