Twenty-eight year old Margaret Davis was making nice money as a writer in the legal department of a big pharmaceutical company in New York.
She liked her coworkers and enjoyed the job on a day-to-day basis—except it was not going anywhere.
The company promised Davis an international assignment, but obtaining the right working papers was a problem. Amid management shuffles, Davis felt lost in the system after four years.
As she approached 30, Davis said, "I didn't really know there were careers in things that were interesting like interior design ... It was never a lucrative career choice. But here in New York I realized it can be."
A few months ago, Davis left her job with plans to study design. In the meantime, she is working at an art gallery, which she finds much more fulfilling.
Davis is not alone. Sixty percent of millennials, ages 22-32, have changed jobs between one and four times in the last five years, according to State Street Global Advisors.
"While pay is important, it's clear that millennials won't stay with companies for money alone," said David Cruickshank, global chairman of consulting firm Deloitte.
Indeed, despite a rocky job market, 44% of millennials would leave their current employer in the next two years, if given the choice, according to a new survey from Deloitte. When asked to look four years into the future, 66% of millennials said they expect to have switched employers.
Like many members of her generation, Davis has the requisite side hustles, in her case buying furniture on Craig's List, fixing it up and reselling it. She also walks dogs for extra cash, and is always looking for new income streams.
According to job website Indeed, millennials ages 18-34 make up the largest percentage of working people who look at other job opportunities. In fact, the younger and more educated workers are, the more likely they are actively exploring new opportunities.
"Personal values have the greatest influence on millennials' decision-making on the job," Cruickshank said, while also noting that 61% of "senior millennials"—those with higher-ranking job titles—have chosen not to undertake a task at work because it conflicted with their values.
Davis does not have to look far for support. Her 27-year-old boyfriend recently left his job at a private equity firm to take a senior role at a startup coffee company in which his former employer invested. While it is still a finance position, he is also building a broad-based skill set as the company rapidly expands, she says.
Davis has no regrets on taking her own leap of faith: "I want my strengths to add value," she says. "Before I was just lost in a big mix of a big company."