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Millennials value career enjoyment above financial reward

Posted on from Changeboard

Far from the narcissistic, disaffected caricature of millennials, young UK workers are searching for a higher sense of purpose in their career. How can older generations create workplace conditions to accommodate the new breed of employees?

A survey of 16-24 year old has revealed that young people define career success by enjoyment rather than the amount they earn. 

The Institute of Management at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland found that 79% of millennials who have just started or are about to start work in the UK look for satisfaction over salary.

Young people also value working in a role they feel makes a difference (57%) and having opportunities for personal development (55%). The prospect of holding a senior position was lower on their agenda (30%).

While responses between men and women were similar, the biggest difference was the importance of flexible working. Some 51% of female respondents cited it as a key requirement, compared to just 40% of males.

The lead author of the study, and professor of global leadership and strategic management at the Institute of Management at the University of St Gallen, Omid Aschari said: “Despite popular opinion accusing young people today of being narcissistic, with an undue sense of entitlement, our study finds that these early career starters look for a higher sense of purpose and meaning in their jobs, explaining in part why they make such frequent career moves. 

“An astonishing 75% of respondents said they would either attend or volunteer at a charitable organisation they believe in. This highlights that unlike their parents who were content with work just being work, young people are on the lookout for jobs that reflect their values and have a certain level of social merit.”

Millennials are more likely to change company in pursuit of career enjoyment, with 44% saying they couldn’t imagine staying in their current role for longer than three years. This figure decreases further over time, with one in four stating they would commit to a job for more than four years.

Aschari added: “These figures present a clear challenge for companies to retain staff. The interesting question is whether employers can get fired up by the more caring and collaborative mind-set of younger generations to create workplace conditions and values that inspire a greater sense of common loyalty.”

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