10/26/2016 11:50 EDT

Millennials Think Of Workplace Loyalty In Very Different Ways From Their Parents

But there are lots of ways employers can keep them.

A vast majority of Canadian millennials believe that workplace loyalty will help them in their careers.

But "workplace loyalty" has a different meaning for them than it had for previous generations, says a survey released by job website last week.

Entrepreneurs work together in this stock photo. (Photo: Alvarez/Getty Images)

Just under 60 per cent of millennials feel that six years or less is an "appropriate length of time" to spend at a single job.

That's compared to 51 per cent of people aged 55 to 64, who believe the right amount of time to spend with a single employer is more than a decade.

Almost half of all respondents said the appropriate tenure with one employer is less than a decade, while 39 per cent said it's ideal to stay at one place for longer than 10 years.

A pedestrian crosses a street in Toronto's Financial District at rush hour. (photo: Pictore/Getty Images)

There's also plenty of difference between generations when it comes to how many jobs people hold in their careers.

About 20 per cent of respondents aged 55 and older said they only ever worked for one or two employers, while 30 per cent of Generation Xers said they had toiled at six or more workplaces.

"It appears Gen Xers are paving the way for millennials when it comes to career advancement decisions," Sheryl Boswell, Monster Canada's director of marketing, said in a news release.

"This might be indicative of how employers are now showing loyalty to their employees. Now, employees may not find all that they're looking for with only one employer. Getting the most out of a role and moving on to discover new opportunities may be necessary."

Why won't you stay?

Researchers have identified many reasons why millennials don't stay in jobs as long as previous generations did.

Many of them will only stay with a single employer if it's driven by a distinct social purpose, said a white paper released by Deloitte and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative last month.

Two-thirds of respondents to a survey said they would only stay in one workplace if it was driven by set mission; only 20 per cent were happy staying in a place that didn't have one.

Fewer and fewer millennials also believe businesses should be driven primarily by profit; only 27 per cent felt that way in 2015, compared to 35 per cent three years ago.

Workplaces can also retain millennials more easily if they offer "flexible working conditions and work/life integration," the white paper said.

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