Gen Y Wants 'Balance' More Than An Interesting Job Or Wealth, Study Finds

Young people are often viewed as wide-eyed idealists. But a new survey shows that the youngest generation is as pragmatic as their older counterparts when it comes to job security, ranking that as more important than becoming wealthy or having a prestigious job.

That is in striking contrast to boomers and Generation Xers, when they were in their 20s, and it suggests that young workers are being shaped by having come of age during Great Recession, according to the study, released Wednesday by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Polling 1,700 adults, the survey also found that millennials -- those aged 21 to 32 years old -- also place a high importance on "work/life balance," ranking it as the most important thing they look for in a job.

While it might seem unusual that young people -- many of whom are single, without children -- place a higher priority on balancing the demands of work and home life than, say, finding interesting work, co-author Cliff Zukin says this generation is learning from their parents' experience.

"[Gen Y] grew up with both parents working and has a lot of models for trying to balance things," he told AOL Jobs.

Workers of all ages ranked these five as the most "essential" or "very important" components of their work lives:

  1. good work/life balance
  2. positive work environment
  3. good compensation
  4. interesting work
  5. job security

When asked about what is important in their overall lives, workers of all ages valued "meaningful" work as much as they do having children, and those qualities outranked having a prestigious career or being wealthy. The rankings were:

  1. financial security
  2. having a life partner
  3. having children
  4. having a job where I can make an impact
  5. having a prestigious career
  6. being a leader in my community

Other key findings from the report include:

'Doing Good' Is Important

  • Sixty-five percent of university students expect to be able to make some positive social or environmental difference through their work.
  • "Having a job where they can make an impact causes and issues that are important to them," is something that vast majority of college students want from their work, with 70 percent ranking it as "very important." Of those, 31 percent said it was essential.

Students Face Up To Grim Reality

  • Just 10 percent of undergraduates think it will be "very easy" to find a job, with another 23 percent saying it will be "somewhat easy." Nearly half (46 percent) say finding a job will be "somewhat difficult," while 13 percent believe it will be "very difficult."
  • Among undergrads asked how difficult it will be to find a job that they really want to do, a quarter of them said they believe it will be either "very" or "somewhat" easy.
  • Two-thirds of undergraduates and three quarters of graduate students surveyed said that they expect to owe money for school or other reasons when they finish, with median debt among junior and seniors totaling $25,000.

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Can we all say socialism?

May 25 2012 at 4:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Wendt

The "you owe me generation" are not literate enough to "earn" most jobs. Just review some of their job applications-can barely spell, can't converse about much ie know American History,Geography and so on. Not their fault that their parents are part of the all children are winners mentality and teachers / schools that don't teach these subjects and many times don't know the material that well,either.

May 24 2012 at 11:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

liberal BS. Work sucks and some people are poor. Deal with it, it will never change.

May 24 2012 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to robplanb's comment

No it is most likely true since these college kids were well brainwashed by the LIBERAL teachers. Give them a chance to get out and work and then lets see what their priority is, I would be willing to bet it will soon turn to food, housing, and cars.

May 24 2012 at 11:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While this all sounds nice - who is going to pay for their food, clothing, health insurence, car insurence, a place to live and on and on? Without money you have no life!!!

May 24 2012 at 5:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Gen Y will not always have their parent to pay for everything. They need to get off their ass and start working. They have had everything given to them for to long.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 24 2012 at 5:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Do you mean these new college graduate wont be getting that $100,000 a year job with their liberal arts degree in Old English liturature or How to Party Hardy?

May 24 2012 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pineway259's comment
Bill Wendt

Don't forget about that advanced degree in Underwater Basketweaving!

May 24 2012 at 11:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Then they graduate and find out that most of what they were taught by Liberal professors is bs and become Republicans, go out and get a job and become productive members of society.

May 24 2012 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to oneandgone2012's comment

THEY become repubs WHEN they are TAXED and find out exactly who the free loaders and that some made welfare their career choice.

May 24 2012 at 6:25 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Barry Gomes

I'm 63 yrs old and the perception that boomers were greedy is not reality.We honored hard work and achievemnet more than money and fame.I did atleast and I'm sure I wasn't in a minority.

May 24 2012 at 2:50 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Yes--and the Obama Admin better keep an eye on this.

May 24 2012 at 2:43 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Now they just have to understand the difference between and want and a need. That will bring them the value of work and satisfaction that the preceding generation missed.

May 24 2012 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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