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Soon to enter the job market, does generation Z have very different aspirations from their elders? Isabelle Chevalier, Director of NEOMA’s Talent & Career Department, who helps them with their professional projects, answers. First episode of our series.  

What are the major aspirations of this young generation?

The young graduates are seeking recognition. They also want people to listen to them and take them seriously even if they are young. We conducted a survey of 450 students in the second year of the Master in Management programme and studied the feedback from career counsellors who assist young people in building their professional project. We noticed that they do not want to be alone anymore. The lockdown affected them greatly and full-time telecommuting is not an option. When they were asked what a priority for them is in choosing an internship or a job, the top response was the salary and the associated benefits. This is an important factor for those who have to pay back a loan, which is the majority of our students. They are very practical. The next concern is the workplace atmosphere, the content of their jobs and career development. Work load and job pressure are also concerns. This generation doesn’t want to work nights or weekends any more. At any rate, they are less accepting of it than the generations before them. This can be seen in certain professions, such as auditing where managers are already looking for new ways of organising tasks to reduce the work load.

How important are social and environmental questions?

These factors come up often in individual interviews. Everyone knows that it is not enough to act on just one lever to solve a problem. You need to work on many of them. They understand just how complex interactions are. Students today have a more far-reaching outlook, probably because they are better educated. Greenwashing and green management can’t trick them anymore.

And if a company shows that it’s not virtuous, are they ready to resign or do they just close their eyes?

Once again, young people are diverse and practical. They are not ready to make any compromises. They are more demanding and want to remain steadfast in their values. Others won’t go as far as quitting their job. For most of them, working conditions, career outlook and the quality of their job is what’s important. What comes up again and again is the fear of being bored!

Finally, these aspirations are rather classic, What truly characterises this generation?

Unfortunately, for a lot of them, it’s anxiety. The lockdown periods were particularly hard for them. Some had to spend two years in China. They dreamed for so long of this cultural discovery and they found themselves alone in their room, taking a course online. They wondered a lot about their future.

What skills will they be able to demonstrate? What type of international experience will make a difference? And what do you say to them?

This very special period also made them more adaptable and resilient. After this ordeal, the students are even better at speaking about themselves, their intrinsic skills and their ability to overcome challenges. And recruiters have realised this!

What advice do you give them before entering the job market?

We reassure our students about their ability to find a job that fits them. They have no problem joining the workforce or finding an internship. The question is more about how to find the most interesting jobs based on their career project. We advise them to not accept the first job offer. They must not give up on a project that means a lot to them, but give themselves time to persevere in their ideas. It’s better to be patient and turn down an offer that doesn’t fit them perfectly, even if it’s hard, than to quit after six months. It’s one thing that we try to make them think about. We also push them to become more curious about different sectors. We suggest that they aim towards companies that are maybe not as well known, but that offer great career opportunities.

Read the second episode of our series 


Associated programme

Master in Management

With the Master in Management become a top-level business leader, capable of meeting the expectations of organisations all over the world.
  • Full time
  • 2 to 3 years
  • Reims, Rouen