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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today Magazine

Editorial comment—Finding the sweet spot

Type “meaningful jobs” into Google and you’ll find myriad websites offering the 20—or five, 14, 50 or any other number you care to think of—most meaningful jobs. You can refine your search further by seeking the most meaningful jobs for introverts, or that pay well or that don’t need a degree.

It’s hardly surprising people want meaningful jobs—after all, we spend much of our lives at work—but the abundance of headlines suggesting that seeking purpose over pay cheque is peculiar to Millennials are doing the rest of us a disservice. I’d say it’s a much more universal desire.

In fact, a Linkedin survey from a couple of years ago found Millennials to be the least purpose-driven generation, and that sense of purpose deepens the further along you are in your career. That survey found 48 percent of Baby Boomers report that they prioritise purpose over pay and titles, followed by Gen X with 38 percent, and finally, Millennials at 30 percent.

A Guardian article at the time of the LinkedIn survey suggested two reasons why there might be a big gap between what Millennials deeply desire—as expressed anecdotally through the media—and what they put into practice. One is that Millennials haven’t had enough work experience to figure out what aspects of their job they find most energizing. The other is that there is still work to be done on aligning a mutually beneficial relationship between employers and employees.

Now, of course, there’s another generation nipping at the heels of Millennials. In 2019, Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population (Millennials account for a 31.5 percent share). Some are already in the workforce, and many more are set to leave school or graduate our universities in the next few years.

Like the generations before them, Gen Z also seek purpose and meaning in their work. But a recent blog by job site Indeed suggests this group is a mix of practicality and idealism. Their practical side wants healthcare and mentoring, while their idealist side prioritises an empowering work culture and working for a company that promotes equality.

The interesting thing about Gen Z, however, is that they also seek job stability—in contrast to the stereotypical job-hopping Millennial. Indeed crunched the numbers on the jobs Gen Z are clicking on and found a strong showing for tech and healthcare jobs. It says these are strong career choices for people who seek security as both fields suffer serious talent shortages.

While job stability rates highly with Gen Zers, research from Adecco suggests they have no qualms about “moving on” if they do not see opportunity where they are—83 percent said they expect to make employment changes early on until they find the “sweet spot” where they can achieve their goals.

The good news is that this is a generation that is willing to work hard for the right organisation. The question is: will yours be the one that can provide that sweet spot?

Lyndsey Swan

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