Young professionals value future earning potential, senior professionals want to realise their full earning potential and leadership aspirations now – research

  • Company performance is more attractive to younger business professionals while leadership is more attractive to senior professionals
  • Young professionals in the engineering sector tend to look for professional development opportunities more than senior professionals who favour leadership opportunities
  • In the IT sector, young professional focus on development and future education while senior professionals seek challenging work
  • GM: “senior professionals are less focused on future opportunities and instead want to realise their full earning potential and leadership aspirations”

Company performance is a more attractive career attribute for young business professionals compared to senior professionals, according to research from e-recruitment platform

The research published in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum, reveals that company performance ranked nine places higher as an attractive career attribute for young business professionals (13) compared to senior professionals (22) – the biggest point of difference in the rankings.

In comparison, senior professionals in the business sector prove to be more attracted to leadership opportunities when considering a career prospect, positioning it nine places higher than younger professionals (6 VS 15).

Work-life balance and competitive base salaries ranked as two of the most important considerations for both cohorts, with these attributes ranking among the top two for both groups.

Flexible working conditions is held in equally high regard by the two groups, ranking in fourth place for both.  

IT Professionals

According to the research, the biggest point of difference in attractive attributes for young and senior professionals in the IT industry, is professional development and challenging work.

The rankings reveal that young professionals in this sector place a greater emphasis on professional training and development, ranking this attribute as the second most important compared to senior professionals who positioned it in eleventh place.

Senior professionals in the IT industry, place greater emphasis on challenging work (9 VS 17) and creative and dynamic working environments (13 v 18).

Unlike business professionals, the top two attributes for young and senior professionals in the IT sector differ for both groups.

Within this sector, young professionals rank competitive salaries and training and development as their top two, while senior professionals included competitive salaries and flexible work conditions.

Engineering Professionals

For professionals within the Engineering industry, the biggest point of difference can be seen in relation to leadership roles.

While younger professionals are more inclined to seek an opportunity that provides them with access to leaders who will help them to develop (4 VS 15), senior professionals are more likely to seek a leadership opportunity for themselves (12 VS 18).

Similarly, to the business rankings, work-life balance and competitive base salaries ranked amongst the top two attributes for both young and senior professionals.

Commenting on the research, Orla Moran General Manager at said;

“As we move through different stages of our careers, our career priorities evolve to reflect our changing personal circumstances, opportunities responsibilities and life experience.

“Our research in conjunction with our partner Universum clearly bears this out. Young professionals are drawn to working for dynamic organisations selling exciting and innovative products or services, and are less pre-occupied by their immediate salary, but instead are more motivated by potential future earnings and professional development. 

“Senior professionals, according to our research, are motivated by current salaries, a competitive benefits package, and opportunities for leadership.  In order words, as they progress up the career ladder, they are understandably less focused by future opportunities and instead want to realise their full earning potential and leadership aspirations.

“It is important that employers recognise these generational nuances to mitigate against disproportionately focusing their energies on addressing the preferences or motivations of one generation to the detriment of the other.

“In addition, the rankings from this research suggests that the novelty of fancy workspaces and novel workplace perks has most certainly worn off. While they may provide novel talking points, there are no shortcuts to developing a positive organisational culture and this starts with strong organisational values and ensuring that these values are reflected across all areas of a business.

‘For employers who are looking to maintain a happy workforce, and for those who are also actively recruiting new members of the team, it is important to recognise what truly resonates with your employees and to ensure that your workplace offering is aligned to meet their needs and expectations.

‘As we continue to navigate through the phased reopening of the economy, there will inevitably be a degree of uncertainty that lingers for the employment sector. However, recent supports announced by the Government, such as the provision of 10,000 additional work experience roles for those over six months unemployed, will play a key role in regenerating work opportunities and reviving the workforce in the months ahead.’


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