Adecco Way to Work Survey

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Prepared by Ketchum Global Research & Analytics
April 22, 2014

Methodology:

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a sample of 750 adults 18 – 24 years old, living in the United States.  Interviewing for this survey was completed between April 5- 8, 2014. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.57%.

Key Findings:

Today’s American youth think they have a harder time than generations before them when it comes to finding a job.

  • Seven in 10 (69 percent) Americans ages 18-24 believe that it is harder to find a job now compared to previous generations
    • Interestingly, women in this age group (18-24) are more likely than men to feel that it is harder to find a job now than it was for previous generations (76 percent women compared to 63 percent men).

Although today’s youth may feel like finding a job is difficult, it’s not taking them very long to land one.

  • The majority (65 percent) of employed American youth spent less than six months to find their current job
    • In fact, only 18 percent spent six months to under a year and 12 percent spent a year or more.
  • As for those American youth who are currently unemployed and looking for work, one-fifth (19 percent) say they’ve been job hunting for less than a year followed by 12 percent who say they’ve been looking for six-months to a year. 
    •  Six percent of unemployed American youth say they’ve been looking for a year or more.
  • Not so surprising, those who ‘live to work’ (59 percent) were less likely to find a job in less than six months compared to those who ‘work to live’ (70 percent).

Are today’s employed American youth ‘living to work’ or ‘working to live’?

  • The majority (54 percent) of those 18-24 who are currently employed say they ‘work to live’ compared to only 32 percent who ‘live to work’ and 14 percent who say they like what they but do not like the company they work for.
    • Gender may make a difference in perception as men are much more likely to say they ‘live to work’ (36 percent men compared to 28 percent women); women are much more likely to say they ‘work to live’ (60 percent women compared to 49 percent men).
  • While the majority of American youth are employed, four in 10 (42 percent) are not working in their field of choice
    • And, 16 percent of American youth are undecided on their career choice

American youth say their parents raised them for success but there are a few lessons they wished their parents would’ve taught them

  • Six in 10 (63 percent) say the way their parents raised them has prepared them to go after the job they want.
  • However, when it comes to career lessons, American youth are most likely to wish their parents had taught them the importance of making connections and networking (31 percent) followed by how to make a good impression (25 percent). Other career lessons include:
    • How to negotiate (23 percent)
    • Strong work ethic (23 percent)
    • The importance of getting as much work experience as possible (22 percent)
    • The benefits of going to college (18 percent)
    • Not to take a job you hate/are not passionate about (17 percent)

American youths limit their parent’s involvement in their job search but when they are involved their personal networks prove most valuable

  • The majority (62 percent) of American youth today do not involve their parents in their job search process.
  • However, those who do (38 percent) are most likely to say their parents use their personal network to help them find job opportunities (16 percent). Additional ways they lean on their parent for support include:
    • Locates/researches job listings for me (12 percent)
    • Rehearses for my interviews with me (9 percent)
    • Crafts my resume or cover letter (6 percent)
    • Forwards my resume or cover letter to personal network (5 percent)
    • Accompanies me to interviews, but does not join the interview (4 percent)
    • Makes calls/send emails to perspective employers on my behalf  (3 percent)
    • Writes my thank-you notes (3 percent)
    • Follows up with my prospective employers on my behalf post-interview (2 percent)
    • Accompanies me to interviews and joins the interview (1 percent)

American youth prioritize career growth and paying down personal debt

  • Priorities for American youth boil down to career advancement (34 percent) and paying down debt (16 percent).
  • Not at the top of today’s youth’s priority list are some of the more long term, traditional and family values including:
    • Saving for a major purchase (10 percent)
    • Having fun (10 percent)
    • Getting married (6 percent)
    • Starting a family (4 percent)
    • Saving for retirement (2 percent)

Passion and interests - not money - drive happiness for American youth

  • The majority (55 percent) of American youth define the ‘New American Dream’ as having a career you love within your field of interest. This can be compared with:
    • Having a well-paid job (22 percent)
    • Owning your own company (10 percent)
    • Retiring at age 45 (4 percent)
    • Running a company that you do not own (2 percent)
  • When it comes to their current job, American youth are most motivated by the work that they do (51 percent), gaining valuable work experience (47 percent) and the opportunity for upward mobility/career growth (43 percent). Additional motivators include:
    • Being able to build my professional network by meeting people in my field (30 percent)
    • What my family expects of me(30 percent)
    • Spending time with colleagues (28 percent)

Today’s American youth are thinking about their future and plotting their five year plan

  • Three in 10 (30 percent) American youth plan to either go back to school or advance their career within their current job or company (29 percent).  Other plans for the future entail:
    • Switching careers or try something completely new (20 percent)
    • Working for themselves (19 percent)
    • Job-hopping to advance their career or title (16 percent)
    • Live and work abroad (13 percent)

Survey:

1. Which of the following statements, if any, most accurately reflect your current attitude towards your job?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

I work to live [e.g. I work in order to survive]

34%

I live to work [e.g. I work because I love my job and the work that I do]

21%

I like what I do but do not like the company I work for

9%

NA - I don't currently have a job

28%

None of the above

7%

Prefer not to answer

1%

  • The majority (54 percent) of those 18-24 who are currently employed say they work to live. Compare this with 32 percent who live to work and 14 percent who say they like what they do but not the company they work for.
    • Gender may make a difference in perception as men are much more likely to say they live to work (36 percent compared to 28 percent) while women are much more likely to say they work to live (49 percent compared to 60 percent).

 2. How long have you been looking for a job?

 

Total

BASE: AMONG THOSE WHO DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE A JOB

212

Less than six months

19%

Six months to under a year

12%

A year or more

6%

NET: NOT LOOKING

56%

   I'm not actually looking for a job because I've given up on my job search

3%

   I'm not actively looking for a job because I am not interested in working

6%

   I'm not actively looking for a job because I am a full-time student

48%

Prefer not to answer

6%

  • American youth who are not currently employed but are trying to find a job are most likely to have been looking for less than six months (19 percent) or six months to a year (12 percent), while only six percent have been looking for a year or more.

3. How long did it take you to find your current job?

 

Total

BASE: AMONG THOSE WHO CURRENTLY HAVE A JOB

539

Less than six months

65%

Six months to under a year

18%

A year or more

12%

Prefer not to answer

5%

  • The majority (65 percent) of employed American youth spent less than six months to find the job they currently have.
    • 18 percent spent six months to under a year
    • 12 percent spent a year or more
    • Interestingly, those who ‘live to work’ (59 percent) were less likely to find a job in less than six months compared to those who ‘work to live’ (70 percent).

4. Compared to other generations, is it harder, easier, or about the same to find a job?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

Harder

69%

Easier

7%

About the same

22%

Prefer not to answer

1%

Seven in 10 (69 percent) Americans ages 18-24 believe that it is harder to find a job now compared to previous generations

  • Interestingly, women in this age group (18-24) are more likely than men to feel that it is harder to find a job now than it was for previous generations (76 percent women compared to 63 percent men).

5.  Are you currently working at a job within your desired field of work?

 

Total

BASE: AMONG THOSE WHO CURRENTLY HAVE A JOB

539

Yes

40%

No

42%

NA - I don't know what I want to do yet / do not have a desired field of work

16%

Prefer not to answer

2%

  • Four in 10 (42 percent) of American youth are currently not working in their field of choice
    • And, 16 percent of American youth are undecided on their career choice

6. How did you get your first job in your desired field of work? SELECT ALL THAT APPLY

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

I applied through the regular application process

29%

A referral from a friend, professor, family member, etc.

23%

Internship that turned into a full-time job

9%

Career fair

5%

College alumni association

3%

I got it through an employment agency

3%

None of the above

2%

Other, please specify:

3%

NA - I don't know what I want to do yet / do not have a desired field of work

6%

NA - I've never had a job in my desired field of work

21%

NA - I don't currently have a job

10%

Prefer not to answer

2%

  • American youth most commonly found their first job through the regular application process (29 percent) or by a referral from a friend, professor or family member (23 percent).
    • However, men may rely on their personal network more, as they are more likely than women to have got their first job through a friend, professor, or family member (26 percent compared with 19 percent)

7. Which of the following statements, if any, comes closest to your idea of the new “American Dream” when it comes to your personal career aspirations?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

Finding a career you love within your field of interest

55%

Have a well-paying job 

22%

Owning your own company

10%

Retiring at age 45

4%

Running a company that you do not own [i.e. becoming a CEO/President of a corporation]

2%

None of the above

5%

  • The majority (55 percent) of American youth define the ‘New American Dream’ as having a career you love within your field of interest. This can be compared with:
    • Having a well-paid job (22 percent)
    • Owning your own company (10 percent)
    • Retiring at age 45 (4 percent)
    • Running a company that you do not own (2 percent)

8. Aside from money, what motivates you to go to work? SELECT ALL THAT APPLY

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

I enjoy the work I do

51%

Knowing that I'm gaining valuable work experience

47%

The opportunity for upward mobility/career growth

43%

Being able to build my professional network by meeting people in my field

30%

Family expectations

30%

I enjoy spending time with my colleagues

28%

I want to be at the same level in my career as my friends

9%

None of the above

8%

Prefer not to answer

2%

  • When it comes to their current job, American youth are most motivated by the work that they do (51 percent), gaining valuable work experience (47 percent) and the opportunity for upward mobility/career growth (43 percent). Additional motivators include:
    • Being able to build my professional network by meeting people in my field (30 percent)
    • What my family expects of me(30 percent)
    • Spending time with colleagues (28 percent)

9. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: The way my parents raised me has prepared me to go after the job I want?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

Agree

63%

Disagree

14%

Neither agree or disagree

21%

Prefer not to answer

1%

  • Six in 10 (63 percent) say the way their parents raised them has prepared them to go after the job they want.

10. Which of the following career lessons, if any, do you wish your parents had taught you? SELECT ALL THAT APPLY

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

The importance of making connections/networking

31%

How to make a good first impression [e.g. hold yourself, speak well, etc.]

25%

How to negotiate

23%

Strong work ethic

23%

The importance of getting as much work experience as possible

22%

The benefits of going to college

18%

Not to take a job you hate/are not passionate about

17%

NA - I think my parents prepared me adequately for my career

28%

None of the above

5%

  • When it comes to career lessons, American youth are most likely to wish their parents had taught them the importance of making connections and networking (31 percent) followed by how to make a good impression (25 percent). Other career lessons include:
    • How to negotiate (23 percent)
    • Strong work ethic (23 percent)
    • The importance of getting as much work experience as possible (22 percent)
    • The benefits of going to college (18 percent)
    • Not to take a job you hate/are not passionate about (17 percent)

11. How involved are your parents in your job search process?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

Uses their personal network to find job opportunities

16%

Locates/researches job listings for me

12%

Rehearses for my interviews with me

9%

Crafts my resume or cover letter

6%

Forwards my resume or cover letter to personal network

5%

Accompanies me to interviews, but does not join the interview

4%

Makes calls/send emails to perspective employers on my behalf

3%

Writes my thank-you notes

3%

Follows up with my prospective employers on my behalf post-interview

2%

Accompanies me to interviews and joins the interview

1%

NA - My parents are not involved in the job search process

62%

Prefer not to answer

3%

 

2012

2014

BASE: AMONG AMERICANS 22-24 YEARS OLD

286

384

Uses their personal network to find job opportunities

15%

15%

Locates/researches job listings for me

12%

11%

Rehearses for my interviews with me

11%

8%

Forwards my resume or cover letter to personal network

10%

6%

Crafts my resume or cover letter

9%

5%

Accompanies me to interviews and joins the interview

4%

1%

Accompanies me to interviews, but does not join the interview

4%

3%

Makes calls/send emails to perspective employers on my behalf

3%

4%

Follows up with my prospective employers on my behalf post-interview

2%

3%

Writes my thank-you notes

1%

3%

NA - My parents are not involved in the job search process

66%

67%

  • The majority (62 percent) of American youth today do not involve their parents in their job search process.
    • However, those who do (38 percent) are most likely to say their parents use their personal network to help them find job opportunities (16 percent). Additional ways they lean on their parents for support include:
      • Locates/researches job listings for me (12 percent)
      • Rehearses for my interviews with me (9 percent)
      • Crafts my resume or cover letter (6 percent)
      • Forwards my resume or cover letter to personal network (5 percent)
      • Accompanies me to interviews, but does not join the interview (4 percent)
      • Makes calls/send emails to perspective employers on my behalf            (3 percent)
      • Writes my thank-you notes (3 percent)
      • Follows up with my prospective employers on my behalf post-interview              (2 percent)
      • Accompanies me to interviews and joins the interview (1 percent)

12. Which of the following things, if any, do you currently have within your five-year career plan? SELECT ALL THAT APPLY

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

I plan to go back to school

30%

I plan to advance my career within my current job/company

29%

I plan to switch careers/ try something completely new

20%

I plan to work for myself

19%

I plan to job-hop to advance my career/title

16%

I plan to be living and working abroad

13%

I don't plan to be working

3%

NA- I don't have a five- year career plan

11%

None of these

6%

Prefer not to answer

2%

  • Three in 10 (30 percent) American youth plan to either go back to school or advance their career within their current job or company (29 percent).  Other plans for the future entail:
    • Switching careers or try something completely new (20 percent)
    • Working for themselves (19 percent)
    • Job-hopping to advance their career or title (16 percent)
    • Live and work abroad (13 percent)

13. What’s the biggest priority in your life right now?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

Advancing in my career

34%

Paying down my debt [e.g. credit cards, student loans, etc.]

16%

Saving to make a major purchase [e.g. house, car, etc.]

10%

Having fun

10%

Getting married

6%

Starting a family

4%

Saving for retirement

2%

Other, please specify:

13%

None of the above

3%

Prefer not to answer

2%

  • Priorities for American youth boil down to career advancement (34 percent) and paying down debt (16 percent).
  • Not at the top of today’s youth’s priority list are some of the more long term, traditional and family values including:
    • Saving for a major purchase (10 percent)
    • Having fun (10 percent)
    • Getting married (6 percent)
    • Starting a family (4 percent)
    • Saving for retirement (2 percent)

Demographics:

D1. What is your age?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

18-21

49%

22-24

51%

D2. What is your gender?

 

Total

TOTAL ANSWERING

751

Male

51%

Female

49%

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