Work/life balance over career progression for Gen Z grads

New research carried out by Universum indicates that Gen Z graduates favour work/life balance over career progression when choosing their career.

Ireland’s 2019 graduate pool are looking for the optimum work/life balance, according to new global talent market research by employer brand specialist, Universum.

The research, carried out via 22 educational institutions in the Republic of Ireland and three institutions in Northern Ireland, collected data from almost 11,000 third-level graduates across business, engineering, natural sciences, medicine, humanities, social sciences and law.

Career goals

Gen Z graduates in the areas of business, engineering, IT, natural science and medicine all said they prioritise work/life balance over job security, according to the research. Gen Zs are those who have entered adulthood post-2010 and most of this generation are now embarking on careers after finishing their education.

When asked to identify their three most important career goals, 67 per cent (pc) of business graduates, 58pc of engineering graduates and 67pc of natural science and medicine graduates all rated having a work/life balance as one of their top three goals.

This is compared to 55pc of graduates in business, 48pc in engineering and 57pc in natural science and medicines, who value job security as one of their top three considerations when applying roles.

Outside of work/life balance and job security, the other career goals cited by graduates varied across the different disciplines.

Generational divide

Respondents who classified as Gen Z overall expect a higher salary than their millennial counterparts – Gen Z graduates in business, engineering and IT command a 4pc higher salary per year on average.

When it comes to the industries Gen Z’s would like to work for, financial services, banking, and management consulting come out on top. Millennial graduates also rate management consulting and financial services as preferred industries, in addition to media and advertising.

Orla Moran, general manager at said; Today’s Irish university graduates have more career opportunities than ever before.  With Ireland now at full employment, employers are required to go the extra mile in their recruitment efforts, and in particular, graduate recruitment. One obvious example of this is the ever-increasing investment being made by graduate employers in their on-campus recruitment strategies and efforts to grow their general visibility amongst their level students.

“A key part of developing a successful employer brand strategy is understanding what their point of difference is, where they can stand out from the crowd and most importantly, how they can articulate their employer brand to the right cohort of talent.”

Moran says that the emphasis being placed on work/life balance is one of the key emerging trends she is seeing in her role at “It is up to employers to ensure they are meeting this demand.  In other words, the old-school ‘we worked long hours when we were young’ attitude that lingers in certain industries may undermine their recruitment and retention efforts into the future.  

“Flexible working hours and remote working are two of the most common ways in which employers can support a good work/life balance and these are measures that can be implemented across businesses of all sizes,” she finished. partner with Universum to offer employer branding research and services to companies in Ireland as part of its overall recruitment offering.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 27 November, 2019