60% Of Millennials are Comfortable Talking Politics at Work

Maria Correa Profile
By Maria Correa 3 minute read

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There are three things most millennials have in common: a deep nostalgia for their childhood, a love for early 2000s playlists and the willingness to talk about politics with their coworkers.

While politics don’t tend to mix well with work (and Sunday family dinners), our survey, Politics in the Workplace, found that:

  • 60% of respondents aged 35-44 are most likely to talk about politics at work, followed by 58% of people between the ages of 25-34.
  • Older workers are more likely to feel that political discussions create discomfort in the workplace.
  • Millennials and older Gen Zers feel “comfortable” or “very comfortable” talking about their political views with coworkers.
  • 23% of millennials and Gen Zer respondents have chosen not to apply for a job because of the company’s political stance.

From our keyboards to the workplace

When it comes to U.S. politics, generational differences are nothing new — they have just been magnified. Between immigration, climate change, abortion laws and foreign policies, discussions over political matters have expanded outside the inner circle and extended to other areas of our lives, especially for millennials and Gen Zers who are active online.

The Internet landscape has changed drastically in just twenty years. Between a handful of new social media platforms and the globalization of (mis)information, it’s hard not to be inundated with news from all corners of the world. TikTok alone has over 150 million active users in the United States, with 25.2% between the ages of 25 and 34 and 17.1% between the ages of 35 and 44.

It makes sense for the freedom that comes with being able to discuss political issues online to go beyond what we type with our fingertips. From sharing important information with our coworkers to talking about the next presidential election, younger generations reinforce the idea that politics matter and that being able to say otherwise is a privilege.

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Corporate values

Having access to the Internet allows people to learn more about companies than ever before. Millennials and Gen Zers wear their principles on their sleeves. While it’s true that at the end of the day, many people do what they must to earn a living, there’s a tendency in these two generations to care about the values of what and who they support.

As Jeff Fromm states in his Forbes article, “If a member of Gen Z doesn’t agree with the morals of a company, many of them will boycott the products completely and get their friends to do so as well.”

This desire to work and support a company that aligns with your personal beliefs is a trend that has been developing among millennials for well over a decade. This PWC survey from 2011 found that 59% of the millennials who participated had or would seek out an employer whose corporate values matched their own, while 56% said they would consider leaving a company that no longer met their expectations.

These decade-old findings match our own, as 23% of the people who participated in our survey have chosen not to apply to a company because they don’t agree with their political stance. The majority of these participants were millennials and Gen Zers.

Comfort in politics

Only time will tell how politics will continue affecting the workplace. One thing’s for sure though: millennials and Gen Zers are not afraid to speak up, state their opinions and talk about politics at work. Respectively, 60% and 58% of the professionals who participated in our survey said they felt comfortable discussing “taboo” topics, while 62% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers find that it creates tension and discomfort among coworkers.

The need to talk about what’s happening in the country arises as more young adults lack trust in local, state and federal government. This disconnect is especially relevant among Black, Asian and Latinx communities, which for decades have been overlooked and forgotten.

The truth of the matter is that politics are unavoidable. The decisions made by a few trickle down into our everyday lives one way or another. Words and the communities we build — including at work — are our most powerful tools in a society that thrives on individuals believing that those decisions don’t affect them.

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