NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Millennials Leaving the Government Workforce

December 18, 2014

How do millennials feel about government? J.D. Tuccille, managing editor at, reports that the younger generation's perceptions of government may be changing.

According to a report in the Washington Post, just 7 percent of Americans employed by the federal government were under the age of 30, despite the fact that 25 percent of the American labor force is under the age of 30. Moreover, 9 percent of federal workers who left government employment in 2013 were under 30.

Why are they leaving? Tuccille points to a bureaucratic culture and limited opportunities after hiring. According to a 2014 survey from the government's Office of Personnel Management, millennials do tend to feel less positive about their own work than those in other generations: just 63 percent of government millennial workers said their work gave them "a feeling of personal accomplishment," compared to 71 percent among other generations. Similarly, just 75 percent of millennials said that they liked the work that they did, compared to 83 percent for other generations.

Tuccille says the less favorable view of government extends beyond millennials' own employment experiences. Forty-two percent of millennials in 2009 said the government was "unusually inefficient and wasteful," compared to 60 percent of Americans over 30 who held that view. But this year, 66 percent of millennials agreed with the statement.

Source: J.D. Tuccille, "'Pro-Government' Millennials Take Government Jobs, Discover They Suck, Move to the Private Sector,", December 17, 2014.


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