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What Workers Want in 2012: Millennials, GenerationXers, Baby Boomers, and Current College Students

A study published at the end of May, 2012 is called Net Impact’s Talent Report; What Workers Want in 2012 is a national study of college educated workers spanning three generations:

  1. Baby Boomers
  2. Generationxers
  3. Millennials
  4. Current College Student

Impact Jobs

65 percent of those surveyed shared that “the potential to contribute to society” or “a job that will make the world a better place” is highly important to them.  About 25 percent of survey respondents said that this was essential.

The majorities of university students, 65 percent, believe their career choice will allow them to make a positive social change or improved environmental difference.

Seven in ten undergraduate and graduate students report that working in a field where they can make an impact on current issues and causes is very important to them.  Impact jobs and job satisfaction are closely linked. Twice the percentage of employees who have such opportunities at work to foster positive changes in social issues or influence a positive impact on the world’s environment say they are very satisfied with their jobs as compared to folks who do not have such opportunities through the work place.

Said Net Impact CEO Liz Maw when the study was released:

“Employees today don’t want to check their values at the door when they arrive at their jobs, and the ability to live and work with strong social meaning is clearly important to them.”

Five Job Attributes Sought By Workers

Survey respondents appear to be realistic about employment prospects, 59 percent believe finding a job after graduation will be difficult or very difficult while 33 percent believe their job search will be either easy or very easy. When probed more deeply as to the ease of finding a job they want numbers dropped to only 25 percent with 11 saying they will have many job choices when the graduate college.

Debt is expected by two-thirds of undergraduates and three-quarters of graduate students when the complete their education. The median debt according to the survey is $25,000.

Money Means Less to the Future Leaders

  • Fifty-eight percent would accept a 15 percent pay cut in order to “work for an organization whose values are like my own.”
  • Forty-five percent would accept the same cut in order to with an organization that “makes social or environmental impact on the world.”
  • Over a third is willing to accept a 15 per cent pay cut to “work for a company committed to corporate and environmental stability.

A majority of survey takers (65 percent) believe that they have an individual responsibility for becoming involved in organizations and projects to make things better for society.  Seeing clearly what workers want helps explain changes that we’re already seeing in society today.  Hope springs eternal.