What Motivates Young Workers Around the World

The motivations of workers vary greatly from one region of the globe to the other. When companies and recruiters try to attract a younger workforce into their organizations, they must consider these motivations in order to retain and develop the most deserving talent.


A survey of 16,637 young people aged 18 to 30 in 43 countries revealed significant differences in workers' motivations. Millennials have a strong desire to become leaders: on average, nearly 40% want to be managers. However, 63% of young Indians pursue this objective, while only 8% of Japanese do the same.


Becoming leaders

The underlying motivations for leadership vary greatly. The most common is to increase pay in the future. Half of workers from Central and Eastern Europe make that their primary motivation, while only 17% of Africans do. However, the huge African continent is fertile ground for new mentality. There are many, 46% to be exact, who jump at the opportunity to coach and mentor their peers, an option neglected elsewhere.


To become leaders themselves, these young people need role models. A boss who gives power to his employees is important in the eyes of 40% of North American, Western European and African respondents, but to only 12% of young people in Central and Eastern Europe as well as those in the Middle East. Autocratic regimes that have held strong until recently have certainly left their mark, states Henrik Bresman, one of the study’s authors. Recruiters must therefore do things differently: have excellent technical expertise and stand as models are other tokens of admiration.


Seducing Millennials


To appeal to young employees, companies should offer flexible working hours as well as recognition and respect, two values dear to their hearts.


To retain the best talent, companies must make sure to offer them opportunities for advancement, the number concern of all children of the millennium. Fulfilling career goals or finding a job that matches their personality, those are the desire of young workers. They want to be considered “as individuals in their own rights, a common trend to all cultures,” states Bresman.


Work-Life Balance

Searching for uniqueness is reflected by the common desire of all young people to get a better work-life balance than work-family stability. Having enough free time for personal activities is the primary motivation in all regions, although it reaches new heights in North America and Western Europe. The social dimension of this is more pronounced in Asia, however.


The craze is such that half the workers from around the world would be willing to drop a well-paid job for better work-life balance. The only exception here is Western Europe, since 42% of respondents say they would refuse such an offer.


When comes time to attract these workers into the company, especially newcomers, a recruiter must take into account regional differences and those specific to this generation. The dream work environment for a young Lebanese  person is certainly not the same as for a young Montrealer. However, flexibility, challenges and a sense of being valued is what interests the majority of Millennials.



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