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Most Millennials Would Throw Work Friends Under the Bus for a Promotion

Navigating a career is always tough, and millennials—now the single largest age group in the U.S.—face an especially crowded and competitive environment. But admit defeat they will not. A new survey of 11,500 people worldwide conducted by LinkedIn (LNKD) shows millennials in particular aren’t letting anyone stand in the way of their ascent, especially not their work buddies.

Anyone who has befriended one of these young workers—ages 18 to 24 in the study—should beware: Sixty-eight percent of millennials said they would sacrifice a friendship with a colleague if it meant getting a promotion. Baby boomers ages 55 to 65, on the other hand, claim to be more virtuous: Sixty-two percent said they would never even consider it.

First, job-hopping millennials proved disloyal to employers, and now apparently they’re also disloyal to each other. LinkedIn’s survey further suggests many millennials see friendships at work as purely functional: One-third said they “think socializing with colleagues helps them move up the career ladder,” compared with only 5 percent of boomers. Workplace friendships not only made millennials happy—half of those surveyed said such relationships motivate them, and 30 percent said these friendships make them productive.

It might be tempting to denounce such change, but millennials are inheriting the world, and this might just be the new way. As Bloomberg Businessweek’s Matthew Philips pointed out, without this bulge of young people to offset graying populations, the future would be dire. “They will mitigate what would otherwise be a much greater strain on the economy,” Milton Ezrati, senior economic strategist at the investment management firm Lord Abbett, told Philips.

Here are some other highlights from LinkedIn’s report:

Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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