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Next Gen Workers Seek Workplace Sustainability

April 17, 2017

Over two-thirds of Millennials are so committed to sustainability issues they would be willing to give up social media for a week if everyone at their company recycled, according to a new study conducted by Lightspeed, a globally integrated research organization, on behalf of Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP).

In 2015, Millennials officially surpassed Generation X as the largest share of the U.S. workforce, wielding the power to shape today's workplace practices and values. As this next generation continues to enter the job market, employers will need to take notice of what these workers are saying and adapt their sustainability strategies accordingly to attract and maintain new talent.

Nearly one in 10 Millennials would quit their jobs if they found out their current employer was not sustainable. This is particularly risky as Millennials are more likely to move from job to job than older generations. Fifty-one percent of Millennials are planning to leave their company in the next two years, compared to 37 percent of Generation X and 25 percent of Baby Boomers.

"The findings of our recycling study show a tangible commitment to sustainability is a requirement for the next generation of workers," said Anna Whitton, vice president of marketing, Rubbermaid Commercial Products. "Millennials are ready to make a difference and willing to turn down jobs that don't align with their beliefs. RCP will continue working with this emerging generation to promote waste reduction and provide superior recycling solutions in commercial environments."

RCP's new study "Recycling in the Workplace: A Millennial View", examines the latest trends transforming the workplace, focusing on the next generation of workers' attitudes towards the spaces where they work.

Key findings include:

•Sustainability is important to this generation and is a core value they consider in relation to their career. Nine in 10 Millennials (age 18-34) say it is important they work for a sustainable company, compared to 84 percent of Gen Xers (age 35-49) and 77 percent of Baby Boomers (age 50-64).

•Millennials are empowered to inspire change in their work environment. Eighty-two percent of Millennials look for opportunities to help their company become more sustainable and 67 percent feel they have enough influence in their workplace to make an impact on matters such as sustainability.

•They want to do more, and believe recycling should be an obligation for their employer. Over 80 percent of Millennials whose employer does not have a recycling system in place believe employers have a responsibility to encourage recycling in the workplace. Seventy-seven percent of Millennials say they recycle at work, but 83 percent say they recycle at home, suggesting recycling at work is more challenging. If their office provided more recycling points, 62 percent of Millennials say they would recycle more in the workplace, compared to 55 percent of Gen Xers and 58 percent of Baby Boomers.

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