A tale of two generations: a time-lag study of career expectations

Ayoobzadeh, Mostafa, Schweitzer, Linda, Lyons, Sean, and Ng, Eddy (2024) A tale of two generations: a time-lag study of career expectations. Personnel Review. (In Press)

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Purpose: As young individuals transition from educational settings to embark on their career paths, their expectations for their future careers become of paramount importance. Ng et al. (2010) examined the expectations of young people in post-secondary education in 2007; those colloquially referred to as “Millennials” or “GenY”. The present study replicates Ng et al.'s (2010) study among a sample of post-secondary students in 2019 (referred to as Generation Z or GenZ) and compares the expectations of young adults in GenY and GenZ.

Design/methodology/approach: This study employs a time-lag comparison of GenY and GenZ young career entrants based on data collected in 2007 (n = 23,413) and 2019 (n = 16,146).

Findings: Today's youth seem to have realistic expectations for their first jobs and the analyses suggest that young people continue to seek positive, healthy work environments which make room for work–life balance. Further, young people today are prioritizing job security and are not necessarily mobile due to preference, restlessness or disloyalty, but rather leave employers that are not meeting their current needs or expectations.

Practical implications: Understanding the career expectations of young people allows educators, employers and policymakers to provide vocational guidance that aligns those expectations with the realities of the labor market and the contemporary career context.

Originality/value: While GenY was characterized as optimistic with great expectations, GenZ can be described as cautious and pragmatic. The results suggest a shift away from opportunity, towards security, stability, an employer that reflects one's values and a job that is satisfying in the present.

Item ID: 82097
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-6933
Keywords: Careers expectations, Generation Z, Millennials, Young adults
Copyright Information: © Emerald Publishing Limited.
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2024 01:15
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3505 Human resources and industrial relations > 350503 Human resources management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1503 Management and productivity > 150302 Management @ 100%
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