Forget Fulfillment, Young People Want Financial Stability

British young graduate getting ready for first day new job and starting career in legal profession London UK
UK Stock Images Ltd / Alamy

If experience is a great teacher, then the Great Recession must be up for an educator of the year award. After living through a global financial crisis and the lingering aftermath, current or recent college students would rather opt for a regular paycheck than following their occupational dream, according to a recent survey from workforce recruitment firm Adecco Staffing.

The survey of 1,001 Millennial and Gen-Z (born after 1995) students and recent graduates found that the ability to find a job was the single biggest concern for 32 percent of all respondents, even though 79 percent thought that they would have a job within five months of graduation. Forty-two percent thought that they'd have a job in less than three months.The top aspiration for students was, at 31 percent, to become financially stable in the next ten years. Financial stability was a top-three pick for 69 percent of the respondents. Following that was the desire to land a dream job, which was the top interest for 28 percent of respondents overall, with 32 percent of Gen-Z'ers and 24 percent of Millennials expressing that interest.

In getting a first job, 36 percent put career growth as their top priority, compared to fulfilling work and stability, at 19 percent each. Only 6 percent though getting the highest salary was most important, even though 73 percent expected to make up to $55,000 a year on a first job.

"A trend we're seeing emerge is that students --particularly the older ones-- who felt or witnessed the impact of the recession are more likely to prioritize career growth and stability in their job search," said Joyce Russell, president, Adecco Staffing, USA, in a press release.

Getting those jobs may be tough, however, as 42 percent will spend 5 hours or more on social media during spring break and 64 percent expect to spend the same amount of time streaming video. Only 16 percent plan to put 5 hours or more into a job search during that time. Thirty-one percent rely on online job boards while 29 percent depend on the school's career center.

The Millennial and Gen-Z respondents differed when it came to the cost of school. Twenty-one percent of Gen-Z students ranked the cost of college as their greatest worry. Only 13 percent of Millennials felt the same.

There were some interesting differences between the genders. Women, at 38 percent, had travel as a top-three aspiration, compared to 26 percent of men. And 28 percent of men said that starting a family was a top priority, while only 20 percent of women said the same. However, 36 percent of all respondents had getting married as a top-three aspiration.
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