Millennial State & Local Government Employee Views on Their Jobs, Compensation & Retirement

In 2016, Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. More than one in three participants in the workforce are Millennials, born between 1980 and 1995. As of 2017, 56 million Millennials in the U.S. were working or seeking employment, surpassing Generation X and Baby Boomers. Millennials are employed in both the public and private sectors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 22.5 million U.S. workers are government employees. As of December 2019, 2.8 million workers serve at the federal level, 5.1 million are at the state level, and 14.6 million work for local government. In 2019, 32 percent of state and local employees were Millennials. Against this backdrop, the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) commissioned a national public opinion survey to develop a deep understanding of the views of state and local public employees regarding their jobs, pay and benefits. Released in November 2019, State and Local Employee Views on Their Jobs, Pay and Benefits found that retirement and healthcare benefits are critically important job features for state and local employees, more so than salary. It also found that these benefits are viewed as a powerful recruitment and retention tool, with nearly all state and local workers (93 percent) saying that pensions incentivize public workers to have long public service careers, and 94 percent agreeing that a pension is a good tool for both attracting and retaining employees. This issue brief provides a deeper analysis of the November 2019 NIRS research, drilling down to examine the views of Millennials working in state and local government.