Net Impact—one of the leading nonprofits in the US dedicated to helping people make a positive impact in the world through their work—has just released a new survey called “Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012.” The survey provides some very interesting insights into how the desire to make a contribution to society affects people’s choices at work and in engaging with their communities.
Priorities at Work
Those of you who are still in school or are new to the workplace (and those of you hiring these individuals) might be especially interested in how priorities change for many people as they transition from thinking about what jobs to apply to after school, then starting work, and then becoming established in their careers.
The survey asked the same set of questions to four groups of college-educated individuals: current junior, senior, or graduate students at a four-year college, as well as Millennial, GenX, and Baby Boomer currently employed workers. Many of the stats provide good perspective on the differences between generations and their values:
- 71 percent of college juniors and seniors reported that “having a job that impacts causes important to me” is “essential” or "very important.”
- But the percentage of people who rate having a job with impact as “essential” or “very important” actually decreases once people are working—to 59 percent of Millennials, 49 percent of GenXers, and 52 percent of Baby Boomers.
- But there were some common themes across generations.
- All groups reported that the most important job attribute was “work-life balance.”
- Across the board, women reported that making an impact was more important to them than men.
- People who worked for organizations they thought made a social difference reported that they were almost two times happier at work than those who didn’t.
The report also highlights some interesting, if maybe not surprising, differences among generations in how they engage socially and politically:
- 77 percent of Baby Boomers said they had recently voted, compared to 56 percent of GenXers, 46 percent of Millennials, and 43 percent of college juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
- People who reported that they had volunteered was fairly similar across the generations—hovering between 49 percent and 56 percent, but interestingly, people who worked in government or the nonprofit sectors reported that they had volunteered in significantly higher numbers than those working for small or large for-profit businesses.
- A larger percentage of women than men reported that they intend to engage in activities in their communities.
Want to see more quick stats from the report? Check out the infographic here.