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The employment expectations of different age cohorts: is Generation Y really that different?

The existence of Generation Y is one of the dominant practitioner beliefs of our time (Casben, 2007; Preston, 2007a, 2007b; Sensis, 2007), and is regularly discussed at practitioner conferences and reported in professional journals such as HR Monthly and Human Resources in Australia. It would appear that the world of work is facing a fundamental challenge. In the popular theory of Generation Y, the expectations and behaviours of 20-something employees represent a major challenge to management practice and necessitate new management practices and employment approaches to attract, manage and retain these mercurial employees (Budd, 2008; Dinnell, 2006; Verret, 2000).

Although different writers use different dates, the majority of the literature holds that members of Generation Y were born between 1977 and 1992 (Markert, 2004). The members of Generation Y are believed to have very different attitudes to their work and career from their older co-workers. These employees are apparently 'fussy job-hoppers' (Budd, 2008) with limited loyalty to a single employer, and single-minded in their pursuit of career advancement and greater entitlements (Amble, 2003). At the heart of the Generation Y literature is the belief that the members of Generation Y are unambiguously different in their work attitudes compared to the generations that preceded them (Collier, 2009; Fisher, 2008; Huntley, 2006; Jorgensen, 2003; McCrindle Research, 2006).

Despite the volume and passion of the Generation Y literature, there is limited formal evidence that Generation Y actually exist as a unique and distinct group with distinctly different employment attitudes. This article presents evidence on the existence--or otherwise--of this age-based generation being distinctly different in its employment attitudes when compared with its predecessors. We compare the employment expectations of several age groups to see if there is an actual difference in employment expectations between Generation Y students and older students. We can find no clear difference in employment expectations between the three age-based cohorts in the data set analysed. Generation Y did not reveal themselves as a distinct grouping within this sample.

This article makes a contribution to the Generation Y literature by presenting evidence about the actual preferences of the different age-based groups. This research can be seen as a first step towards a more rigorous and evidence-based understanding of the nature and character of Generation Y. Further research is needed to understand the appearance and significance of Generation Y as a theory within the practitioner community, the nature of change of employment attitudes of individuals over time, and the role of broader societal changes in influencing the scope and freedom with which employees express their aspirations.

We will use the term 'Generation Y' to denote employees who are aged less than 30 years old at the time of data collection in September 2007. 'Generation Y attributes' and 'Generation Y employee expectations' refer to the set of characteristics attributed to Generation Y.

The Practitioner and Popular Literature

A substantial practitioner and consulting literature has emerged in the past decade to describe and explain the Generation Y phenomenon. Generally gloomy in tone, this literature does not doubt the existence of Generation Y and is concerned with identifying their characteristics (Fisher, 2008; Huntley, 2006; Sheahan, 2005). Within this literature, much effort is expended in proposing ways of avoiding the problem of Generation Y or of managing Generation Y employees (Cassie, 2006; Foreman, 2006; National Skills Industry Commission, 2008; Packer, 2008; Verret, 2000).

A much smaller number of writers within this literature are more optimistic: for example, Howe and Strauss's (2000) Millennials Rising sees Generation Y as a positive but misunderstood force. This subcategory of literature takes two forms. First, some writers like to point to the benefits of a Generation Y workforce, of the freshness and vitality of these employees. Australian Experiential Learning Centre (n.d.) said of Generation Y:
   They are ambitious, hardworking, transitional, technically savvy
   and reward driven. Basically, these workers want more and they want
   it faster. Gen Y expects perks like higher salaries, constant
   challenges and a changing and diverse workplace environment.

Dinnell (2006) is one example of this strand of thinking, and has provided a useful summary of the key features of the apparent work practices of the Generation Y workforce:

* a demand for professional growth and development

* a desire to reconcile their various life interests through work-life balance

* a need for variety in work, with challenge and change

* a wish for social interaction within the workplace

* the desire for responsibility and input

* a wish for reward through income growth and recognition of their contribution

* a desire for appropriate workplace leadership.

The second strand of the optimistic Generation Y literature can be characterised as explanations of Generation Y by members of Generation Y (such as Sheahan, 2005) or by younger members of Generation X, such as Huntley (2006). This literature locates Generation Y in the broader context of societal and technological change faced by those growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The Academic Literature

Academic research into Generation Y is comparatively scant when compared to the practitioner literature and falls into three types. The largest category resides within the academic discipline of marketing. For these researchers, Generation Y is understood to be a new segment of the marketplace, with specific consumer preferences (Bakewell, Mitchell & Rothwell, 2006; Cui, Trent, Sullivan & Matiru, 2003; Martin & Turley, 2004; Stevens, Lathrop & Bradish, 2005), although there is some discussion as to the actual significance of Generation Y (Markert, 2004; Wolburg & Pokrywczynski, 2001). Interestingly, only one paper directly compares Generation Y with other generations: Kumar and Lim (2008) found distinct intergenerational differences in perceptions about the quality of mobile phone service provision. In general, the Marketing literature assumes the existence and uniqueness of Generation Y.

The existence of Generation Y as a distinct group is also assumed in the second body of literature. The purpose of this research is to explore the implications of an apparently distinct new group and provide ideas for managers in coping with this new and different cohort. This literature can be seen in such areas as managing employment (Beaver & Hutchings, 2005; Eisner, 2005; Walker, 2007), the complexities of managing different generational leadership preferences within the defence force (Jorgensen, 2003), the management of universities (Nimon, 2007), learning styles (Weiler, 2004), labour force development (Rowarth & Goldblatt, 2006) and financial services (Rugimbana, 2007).

The third body of academic literature aims to establish the actual nature of the Generation Y phenomenon and to clarify the analytical reliability of the Generation Y distinction. This literature makes an important contribution by intentionally seeking to clarify the characteristics of Generation Y. Of most relevance to this paper is the work of Broadbridge, Maxwell and Ogden (2007a; 2007b) and Terjesen, Vinnicombe and Freeman (2007).

Broadbridge and colleagues (2007a; 2007b) drew on the practitioner literature to summarise the apparent features of Generation Y's employment preferences, their expectations of employment arrangements from future employers and their personal career development. Table 1 summarises their findings.

Terjesen and colleagues (2007) employed an inductive approach to the identification of Generation Y's work preferences. Students were asked to identify desired employment attributes of three organisations, and then to rank the three organisations according to that attribute. Increasingly accurate and robust descriptive attributes were identified, describing the expectations and rankings of the student participants. Table 2 summarises the attributes that the students sought in an employer.

Issues within the Literature

There are several interrelated issues with this literature. First, there is an apparent unawareness of a similar argument in the 1960s and the 1970s about the emergence of the counterculture that emerged out of the political and social upheavals of that era, the critique of the 'slackers' of Generation X, or a repeat of the concerns of Hesiod (approximately 7th century BC) or Plato about the conduct of the youth of their day (Pink-Freud-ga, 2004; Time Magazine, 1997).

A second feature of the Generation Y literature is the apparent non-engagement with the ongoing and largely unresolved debates within sociology about the relative effectiveness of cohort effect, stage-of-life and career-stage explanations (Alwin & Krosnick, 1991; Arsenault, 2004; Barber, 2004; Gans & Silverstein, 2006; McMullin, Duerden Comeau & Jovic, 2007; Stockard & O'Brien, 2002; Whittier, 1997). Primarily aimed at understanding the changes in social unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, the research of several decades does not strongly support generational theories where the attitudes of cohorts, once set by circumstances early in life, do not vary over time. Instead, life-stage and career-stage explanations have been found to be more effective in explaining behaviour of cohorts.

Taken together, the generational, life-stage and career-stage literatures have potentially great but currently unexplored implications for understanding the apparent phenomenon of Generation Y. Perhaps the behaviour of Generation Y is the same behaviour of previous generations at that age-as argued by lifestage theorists-but set within the radically different set of lifestyle and career opportunities available to those entering the workforce at the start of the 21st century. Currently there is no explicit analysis of Generation Y from this perspective, although Finegold, Mohrman and Spreitzer (2002) provided a life-stage and career-stage analysis of the preferences of different age cohorts covering the age group of Generation Y.

Thirdly, taken as a whole, the Generation Y literature has relied on two implicit assumptions. First, it is assumed that each age group possesses distinct specific attitudes and preferences and that these are significantly different from those of other aged cohorts. The second assumption follows from the first: that members of an age group are essentially homogeneous in values, attitudes and preferences-that is, within any one age group, the members of that age group are much more likely to have similar attitudes and expectations to employment than members of other age-based cohorts.

At this point, there is no clear comparative evidence that Generation Y possess Generation Y characteristics that are unique to Generation Y. The literature relies on a combination of repetition and anecdotal reportage to build the argument for Generation Y. Apart from Finegold, Mohrman and Spreitzer (2002) and Kumar and Lim (2008), the academic literature is yet to compare the behaviour and attitudes of Generation Y with those of Generation X or the Baby Boomers. Studies such as Terjesen and colleagues (2007) and Broadbridge and colleagues (2007a; 2007b) that seek to understand Generation Y largely rely on inductive approaches to establish the behaviour and character of Generation Y and do not investigate whether other generations possess these features now or in the past. The cont ribution of this article is to present a comparative analysis of the expectations of three different age-based cohorts.


If Generation Y fits the Generation Y thesis, then their preferences for future employment will be distinctly and statistically different from those of Generation X and the Baby Boomers. This can be stated in several hypotheses:

* That Generation Y students will demonstrate significantly different employment preferences from Generation X and Baby Boomer students.

* That Generation Y students will rate Generation Y employment attributes more highly than nonGeneration Y students.

* If Generation Y are a distinct group with distinct employment preferences, then a three-solution nonhierarchical clustering process will find a cluster substantially dominated by those within Generation Y, another cluster substantially dominated by Generation X and another by Baby Boomers.

Our first hypothesis is concerned with the threshold question of ascertaining whether a difference in employment preference exists between the generations: do Generation Y actually have different employment preferences? Our second hypothesis is concerned with the direction of any difference. If the Generation Y thesis is correct, then Generation Y students are more likely to desire the employment conditions attributed to Generation Y than non-Generation Y students.

The third hypothesis tests the assumption of the relative homogeneity of individuals within an age group cohort and the relative difference between those in different age groups. If Generation Y are a distinct group within the working population, then this distinctiveness will be apparent if clustering is undertaken: a Generation Y cluster will appear, along with a Generation X cluster and a distinct Baby Boomer cluster.



This article is based on an analysis of a data set created by staff of a University Careers office. Data was collected through an online survey conducted in September 2007 using the university student email system: students were invited to participate in an online survey. Students who participated were eligible for a prize draw. Potentially 18 500 students could have been accessed: domestic, international, undergraduate and postgraduate. It is difficult to work out the effective population size: no records were kept of the number of emails rejected because of full mailboxes or of how many students would have ordinarily accessed their email within the time period of the survey.

A total of 583 usable responses were received, representing a response rate of approximately 3.2%. Prima facie, such a response rate would suggest that the data offer limited generalisability but, following Blair and Zinkhan's (2006) authoritative discussion of the appropriate tests for the detection of non-response bias, the data were sufficiently representative to enable generali sation. Although the sample has a high representation of female students (68.3% of the sample, against 58% of the overall student population) and of students from the engineering division (21.3% in this sample against 13.2% of the population), this is of negligible consequence to the explanatory power of the data set, because employment expectations are generally the same between the genders and between different divisions (faculties) of the university. Chi-square analysis suggests that the employment preferences of students are only significantly different between the genders in three out of nine employment preferences, and between the divisions in only one out of nine employment preferences (Tables 3A, 3B, 3C). Using Armstrong and Overton's (1977) method, a comparison of the first and last 100 responses found no significant differences in sample means. Accordingly, this sample appears to be unaffected by non-response bias. The demographics of the sample are reported in Table 4.


Employment expectations

The survey instrument asked several questions about employment expectations of students and the characteristics of jobs they thought they would seek when they graduated. Respondents were asked to rank nine employer attributes in order of preference, from 1 (the highest priority) to 9 (the lowest priority). Respondents were asked to rank the following employer attributes:
   What are you looking for in employment once you graduate? In order
   of priority: High salary; flexible work arrangements; travel
   opportunities; job satisfaction and interest; ongoing training and
   development; sociable work culture; work-life balance;
   opportunities for advancement with the company; opportunities for
   advancement beyond the company.

As can be seen in Table 5, each of these questions fits within the employment preference models of Generation Y developed by Broadbridge and colleagues (2007b) and Terjesen and colleagues (2007), and are thus appropriately used.

Generation-based age cohorts

This study distinguishes between students of Generation Y (born between 1977 and 1992), Generation X (born between 1962 and 1976) and the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1961). At the time of data collection, Generation Y included all people under the age of 30 years, and Baby Boomers included all respondents 45 years and older.

Analytic procedures

As the data set was based on ranked data, nonparametric tests were necessarily used (Field, 2005). Non-parametric tests are used in cases where data does not meet the usual requirements for statistical analysis. Whereas the usual statistical techniques assume normally distributed and continuous data, these data were ordinal and ranked, and, as a result, were not amenable to the usual statistical methods. The non-parametric equivalent of the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test-the Kruskal-Wallis test- was used to identify any significance between several independent groups. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to establish whether the independent groups are genuinely different because of some underlying reason or merely a by-product of a chance sample drawn from a population. As there were only three independent groups, Bonferroni correction-adjusted Mann-Whitney tests (the non-parametric equivalent of the t-test) was used for post hoc tests. For testing our third hypothesis, non-hierarchical clustering was used. Clustering relates to a series of statistical techniques that identify groups within a data set with maximum intra-group similarity and maximum intergroup dissimilarity. In non-hierarchical clustering, the researcher specifies the required number of clusters, and compares the explanatory power of different sets of cluster solutions (Hair, Anderson, Tatham & Black, 1998). Data analysis was undertaken using SPSS 14.0. Missing values were deleted pairwise.


Table 6 reports on the median rankings of the nine employment preferences.

Age-related Differences in Desired Employment Conditions

Our first hypothesis predicts that a difference will exist in the rankings of employment preferences; our second hypothesis tests whether Generation Y will rank Generation Y-style employment conditions more highly than the older cohorts. If Generation Y were distinctly different from Generation X and the Baby Boomers, then there would be a statistically different ranking between the three age-based cohorts across the nine employment conditions. Table 6 reports on the results of Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney testing of the statistical difference in the ranking of the nine employment conditions between Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers. As can be seen, there is no clear evidence supporting our first or second hypotheses.

The three cohorts had statistically similar rankings for all but two employment conditions. In these two employment conditions, Generation Y respondents ranked 'flexible work arrangements' and 'work-life balance' as being less important than did Generation X and Baby Boomer respondents (Table 6).

Table 6 provides interesting evidence on intergenerational ranking of employment conditions. Where there is a significant difference between the generations, it appears that the older generations have a greater preference for that employment condition. It would appear that Baby Boomers prize employment flexibility, work-life balance and work satisfaction more highly than both Generation X and Generation Y. Based on this data, those within Generation Y had less of a desire for interesting work, work-life balance or employment flexibility than Generation X or the Baby Boomers.

The Clustering of Employment Condition Preferences

Our third hypothesis tests the proposition of the difference of Generation Y in another way. If Generation Y exists, then a three-cluster analysis based on expected employee conditions should find a cluster dominated by people within Generation Y's age cohort, a different cluster dominated by those within Generation X and the final cluster dominated by Baby Boomers.

This proposition was tested using non-hierarchical clustering to establish the membership of the three clusters. As a non-parametric approach, clustering can be used to classify ranked data. Clustering is a technique used to partition a data set into statistically distinct groups, maximising the internal homogeneity within the various groups while maximising the heterogeneity between the groups. The items used for clustering are the nine employee expectations questions (Hair et al., 1998).

If our third hypothesis is correct, then two things may be assumed. First, that the majority of Generation Y respondents will be found in the largest cluster because Generation Y are the largest group in the sample. The second assumption is that the proportion of Generation Y in the largest cluster will be significantly greater than those from older cohorts. As can be seen in Table 7, the generational cohorts are distributed in a way that is not statistically different between the clusters (%2(4) = 9.347, ns). If our third hypothesis is correct, then a disproportionately large proportion of the Generation Y cohort would be found in the largest Generation Y cluster. But in this data set, there is no statistically significant difference in age-cohort proportions between clusters. The third hypothesis is not supported.


This study tested whether three age-based cohorts of current students (Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers) had clearly different expectations of what employment conditions they would prefer in a future employer. If Generation Y exist, then it can be assumed that the different age-based cohorts will reflect the distinct difference in employment expectations between the generations.

A description of Generation Y employment preference was created and compared against the specific questions asked in the data set drawing on the limited literature. Based on the three hypotheses tested, Generation Y does not appear as a distinct, separate cohort or set of employment expectations. In this analysis there is no clear or outstanding distinction between Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers in terms of their expectations of employment conditions. If the Generation Y archetype does exist, it may be as appropriate (if not more) to the Baby Boomers than to those of Generation Y.

This unexpected finding could be attributed to the four features of the sample, and points to the need for a more structured approach to the clarification of the Generation Y phenomenon. First, this result may be a consequence of the low response rate. This is unlikely because of the representativeness of the data, although only further data collection will verify this.

The second feature of the data set is its reliance on self-reported responses to a range of hypothetical questions. The data analysis asks students about their intended behaviour rather than their actual behaviour. While the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991) suggests that intended behaviour is the strongest predictor of actual behaviour, other factors-context, opportunity or changes in expectations in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, for example-may intervene. Again, this question can only be resolved through additional data collection.

Thirdly, a feature of the sample is its heterogeneity in terms of the participants' life-cycle position, life experience and demographic characteristics. As may happen in any survey-based data collection, it could be argued that a sample containing widely diverse groups of people-at different points in the life cycle or from different sociocultural backgrounds, for example- might interpret the various employment expectation questions in substantially different ways. In this instance, respondents may have interpreted 'flexible work arrangements', 'sociable work culture' and 'work- life balance' in very different ways, attributing different meanings and consequences to the varying questions.

Finally, it could be argued that Baby Boomer or Generation X individuals who are undertaking study are not typical of the employment expectations of their cohort and are in some fundamental way out of touch with the concerns of their generation. It could be similarly argued that the Generation Y sample is also dissimilar from its age cohort because university students are not necessarily representative of their age cohort. This is an interesting empirical question that this research is unable to answer, but there are three prima facie arguments why this is not likely to be a major analytical problem.

First, the fact that a person over 30 years is undertaking university study may be an affirmation of their typical position in the usual life stage. The starting of typical household formation and the need to improve their income-earning potential may prompt some people to return to study. From this perspective, students have enrolled into study because of their typicality in participating in household formation.

Secondly, in several fields of work-nursing, accounting, marketing and human resource management, for example-undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications are increasingly necessary for career progression. People whose careers may have started at a time before formal qualifications were required may then undertake study later in life to enable promotion or improve their employability.

Thirdly, the data were collected at an institution committed to supporting mature-age and secondchance learners. These are people who may be undertaking career change or, perhaps, seeking to commence a career.

This article--like the Generation Y literature-is also limited by the relative absence of earlier peer-reviewed research into the form and nature of the Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomer distinctions. Further research is needed and it needs to take several directions in order to clarify the existence-or otherwise-of Generation Y. First of all, work such as that of Broadbridge and colleagues (2007a; 2007b) and Terjesen and colleagues (2007) needs to be repeated to develop a more detailed model of the apparent characteristics of Generation Y as well as the other generations. These models need to be tested using data from different age groups to clarify whether the characteristics identified with Generation Y are in fact unique to Generation Y or are shared across the generations. Second, data need to be collected that test the apparent behaviour of Generation Y from the perspective of life-stage and career-stage theory, to clarify whether other analytical frameworks explain the apparent behaviour of Generation Y.


This article is based on a paper presented at the 2008 Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, held in Auckland, 2-5 December 2008. The authors thank Bridget Hogg for suggesting the data collection in the first place, and Prashant Bordia and Brianne Hastie for assistance in the data analysis.


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This section is designed as a brief professional review of the article. It provides relevant study questions and answers for readers to test their knowledge of the article.

What distinct characteristics are said to identify Generation Y as employees?

Answer: The Generation Y employee is purported to be highly job mobile, to the point of lacking loyalty to an employer; to be single-minded in valuing personal career aspirations over company goals; to be focused on salary rather than on working conditions and stability, and to place a lesser value on job security and work-life balance in favour of a fast track to advancement. The dominant theme in the literature is of a group that expects to be in the management seat in a short time without having paid their dues.

Are the characteristics of employment aspirations in Generation Y unique to this generation?

Answer: Much of the literature suggests that these characteristics are emergent and unique to Generation Y but it can be argued that the distinctions in career aspirations held to be identifiably Generation Y are a result of stage-of-life or stage-of-career influences and not distinctions of one generation over another In fact, literature from the 1960s and 1970s mirrors the current generational argument, seeking to respond to the emergence of that generation's counterculture, while threads of the same can be found in ancient literature.

How different are the career aspirations of Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers?

Answer: The survey undertaken did not find statistically different aspirations across the groups in regard to most employment conditions. This would seem to further support the stage-of-career theory for career aspirations over the generational explanation, as student respondents will be at a stage-of-career entry, career advancement or career transition through study. Some difference was reflected in a preference by Baby Boomers over Generation X and Generation Y for 'flexible work arrangements' and 'work-life balance' that may be taken to support a life-stage explanation for career aspirations.


University of South Australia


Flinders University

GERRY TREUREN teaches in Human Resource Management in the School of Management, University of South Australia. His research interests include employee turnover (the contextual and cognitive process leading to the turnover decision; employer techniques in identifying organisational turnover characteristics; retention strategies) and job search (the role of social ties in recruitment; volunteering as a career development strategy).


KATHRYN ANDERSON holds the position of Manager, Industry Partnerships, with Flinders University- focusing on strategies to link employers and the community to the university, to foster a work-integrated teaching and learning framework and to support graduate outcomes. She is currently serving as Vice President of the National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services. Kathryn previously held the position of Coordinator: Industry Engagement with the Career Services at UniSA.


Employment conditions and terms     Personal career development

Employment, job and hours           Interest in self-development and
flexibility                         improvement

Fast tracked and higher entry       Seeks training opportunities and
level with possibility of           professional development
internal promotion

Performance-related salary and      Drive for career success and
bonuses                             security; need to succeed

Willingness to sacrifice            Challenging work; creative
work-life balance in short term     expression; intellectual
for career gain                     challenge

Good working environment            Less respect for rank

Fair compensation                   Reap their employer's benefits

Provision of training               Need to meet personal goals
                                    Crave opportunity and

Source: Broadbridge et al. (2007a), Table 2


Organisational attributes

Invest heavily in the training and development of their

Variety in daily work

Dynamic, forward-looking approach to their business
Friendly, informal culture

A pure meritocracy (rewards and promotions based
on performance)

Opportunity for international travel

Require you to work standard working hours only

Very high starting salary

Opportunity to work (and live) abroad

Use your degree skills

Clear opportunities for long-term career progression

Care about their employees as individuals

Opportunity, in the early years, to move around the
organisation and work in different areas and roles

Freedom to work on your own initiative

Employ people with whom you feel you have things in

Scope for creativity in your work

Widely regarded as a highly prestigious employer

Relatively stress-free working environment

Internationally diverse mix of colleagues

A small organisation

Source: Terjesen et al. (2007), Table 1


Age       Generation        %

18-24     Generation Y      48.3
25-29     Generation Y      19.2
30-34     Generation X       8.8
35-39     Generation X       8.1
40-44     Generation X       7.5
Over 45   Baby Boomers       8.1


Level of Study            %

Undergraduate             67.7
Coursework postgraduate   12.7
Research degree           19.6

(FACULTIES) (N = 578)

Divisions                              %

Education, arts and social sciences    27.6
Health sciences                        25.1
Business                               26.0
Information technology, engineering    21.3
and environment



Looking for:                           [chi square]  df   P

High salary                                8.92      8    0.349
Flexible working arrangements              5.89      8    0.660
Travel opportunities                      13.51      8    0.096
Job satisfaction and interest              6.60      8    0.580
Ongoing training and development          16.92      8    0.031 *
Sociable work culture                      6.89      8    0.549
Work-life balance                         16.30      8    0.038 *
Opportunities for advancement within      21.59      8    0.006 **
  the company
Opportunities for advancement beyond      10.02      8    0.264
  the company


Looking for:                           [chi square]   df   P

High salary                               10.66       24   0.991
Flexible working arrangements             15.05       24   0.919
Travel opportunities                      21.64       24   0.601
Job satisfaction and interest             44.72       24   0.006 **
Ongoing training and development          20.02       24   0.696
Sociable work culture                     17.72       24   0.817
Work-life balance                         30.82       24   0.159
Opportunities for advancement within      34.92       24   0.070
  the company
Opportunities for advancement beyond      21.54       24   0.607
  the company

* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01


Survey questions                                   Broadbridge et al.

High salary
Flexible working arrangements                      [check]
Travel opportunities                               [check]
Job satisfaction and interest                      [check]
Ongoing training and development                   [check]
Sociable work culture                              [check]
Work-life balance                                  [check]
Opportunities for advancement within the company   [check]
Opportunities for advancement beyond the company   [check]

Survey questions                                   Terjesen et al.

High salary                                        [check]
Flexible working arrangements                      [check]
Travel opportunities                               [check]
Job satisfaction and interest                      [check]
Ongoing training and development                   [check]
Sociable work culture                              [check]
Work-life balance                                  [check]
Opportunities for advancement within the company   [check]
Opportunities for advancement beyond the company   [check]


                                      Median rankings

                                Gen Y   Gen X   BB   [chi square]

High salary                     4       4       4       0.087
Flexible working arrangements   4.5     3       3      22.53 **
Travel opportunities            7       7       7       3.091
Job satisfaction and interest   2       2       1       5.107 *
Ongoing training and            4       4       4       1.188
Sociable work culture           5       6       5       0.799
Work-life balance               4       3       3      24.247 **
Opportunities for advancement   5       6       6       0.806
  within the company
Opportunities for advancement   7       8       7       1.989
  beyond the company

                                      Post hoc comparisons

                                Gen Y v X   Gen Y v BB   Gen X v BB

High salary
Flexible working arrangements   X > Y **    BB > Y *
Travel opportunities
Job satisfaction and interest               BB > Y *     BB > X *
Ongoing training and
Sociable work culture
Work-life balance               X > Y **    BB > Y **
Opportunities for advancement
  within the company
Opportunities for advancement
  beyond the company

df = 2; * p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01; rankings: 1--most highly desired
employment characteristic, 9--least highly desired employment
characteristic; X > Y denotes that Generation X ranked the
employment condition more highly than Generation Y.


               1           2          3           Total
               (N = 167)   (N = 96)   (N = 315)   (N = 578)

Generation Y   73.7%       74.0%      62.2%       67.5%
Generation X   18.6%       18.8%      29.2%       24.4%
Baby Boomers    7.8%        7.3%       8.6%        8.1%
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Article Details
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Author:Treuren, Gerry; Anderson, Kathryn
Publication:Australian Journal of Career Development
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jul 23, 2010
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