What motivates younger generation to work?

Updated: Oct 24, 2019


A new generation of fresh graduates has started to enter the labour market and take its share in building its own career path, and by 2030’s and 40’s we will see this generation lead organizations, influence culture, and set new priorities. Researchers are trying to understand the unique characteristics of this new generation to help them, and their potential employers, reaching a common ground on how to work together.


While we discussed earlier the reasons for people to refuse taking new tasks, it is important to see why they may fail to fulfill their career potential, lose their career paths, fail to get promoted and even quit their job totally and seek new job or even new careers.


The top work motivators that researchers detected in the feedback of the new generation included 1) career advancement; 2) more money; 3) meaningful work and ability to make a positive impact; 4) possibilities for learning and development; 5) trust and job security; 6) positive and flexible workplace culture. According to research, these are the top factors that newly graduates consider when searching for a new job.On the other hand: the top de-motivators are mainly related to: 1) work-personal fitness, 2) work-based relationships, and 3) work reward vs load.


In one research, participants described work-personal fitness can affect their level of work motivation in several ways: 1) how they enjoy or see the purpose of the work content, 2) how they can use their own assets and skills e.g. creativity, sense of initiation within the work assigned to them, 3) how much are they bound to “cannot like what he does on a daily basis”, “cannot see how this are of work can suit him”, “cannot use his creativity within the job or do it his way, or is forced to follow strict procedures that does not understand or like”. They also described their work-based relationship in several ways, including “general team climate is not good, does not feel good among his colleagues”, “in conflict with one or more co-workers”, “team is not performing well, the team outcome is thus unsatisfactory”, “quality of relationship with his immediate superior is poor, does not feel the manager’s understanding or support”. Workload or low payments were the main factors related to work load and rewards. However, discrepancy between own load / reward and the load / reward of colleagues was one of the major de-motivators to new colleagues as well.


While my book advocates for employees to see their own performance improvement, there is still a big role that leadership needs to fulfill in order to support their organizations. Understanding the unique motives of new generation to be hired, together with their attitudes to work-related issues is one of these big roles. As research proved that it can be crucial for attracting and retaining young talent in the coming years.


Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. XXI, 2/2018


"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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