What do 20-somethings want from their careers?

Guest Author, Nishadi Ranasinghe, writes as a twenty something looking for work in the current ‘waning’ job market, what is it that I desire?

Its a question that I’ve been posed my whole life. What do you want to do? where do you want to be? The simple answer to that question is, earning as MUCH as possible doing as LITTLE as possible, but saying that to a potential employer is possibly not the best way to secure yourself your dream job.

So what is it truly that we want from an employer? What will make the money grabbing, consumer focus, social networking, micro-blogging generation happy?

1. Life/Work balance

Putting life before work is something that is more evident than ever before. With our lives so in the ‘spotlight’ as it were now that we are all connected and posting our free time online for all to see, its important to strike that right balance between working and playing hard. Any company that has a strong social atmosphere and encourages workers to relax together will inevitably be more attractive. So, to any employers out there asking in interviews whether candidates are willing to give up their livers to work for you, re-think that strategy. It’s one thing to mandate someone to work longer than they are contracted to, its quite another to inspire that dedication by relaxing your clocking in and out rules. Lets treat people like people!

2. Travel opportunities

Travel is something that is glamorous whatever the weather, but getting the opportunity to work abroad is ALWAYS something that turns heads. No matter how awful you actually feel after taking the red-eye to New York in your stinking business suit only to fall into a board meeting to present your sales strategy to senior partners whilst hooked up to a caffeine drip which is keeping you alive, its always good to be indispensable enough to be flown around the globe. Even if its to meet colleagues in other locations to build business relationships, travel is something that turns heads for all those looking to hop from one job to another. Certainly something my friends wish they could do more, whatever age, whatever industry, whatever country!

3. Growth opportunities

Finally, something that needs to be sold during an interview is opportunities to move up and around a firm. There is nothing worse than thinking you will be in a job for the next 5 years doing the same thing, then training people to do the same thing. The idea that you will be developed within your role in order to play to your strengths is plenty alluring for the twenty something looking to gain as much industry experience as necessary to potentially start their own business in the future. One piece of advice to an employer in this respect is to think about a track a role you are hiring for will take, and the type of candidate you are looking for. If you are looking for Joe Data-Entry who will sit punching numbers into a spreadsheet and pivoting it for years to come, then make sure the person you hire is Joe. If you hire Suzie Wants-to-be-Boss, you’re looking for trouble.

The main thing with this generation of yuppies is that we are smart, savvy, often times have tried some form of business or other via web portals and such-like. With this new confidence, potential employers will increasingly find that while 30 years ago interviews were tests of stamina, with reasoning tests and brain teasers looking to source the creme de la creme, this group is looking to seek out employers and the ‘Right Fit’ far more than ever before. We are less grateful for a job and much more likely to go for the firm where we can develop our business acumen. The skills are being utilised in the day to day, so its less of the sifting out the best from the worst, more like trying to focus and work with the best of the best.

We are told in the press every day that its the job market has shrunk, jobs in London are at an all time low, and yet young people are still dreaming big and aiming high. Its a clever bunch that are being churned out of todays education system, so watch out GDP we’re coming to increase ya!

20-somethings just wanna have fun

20-somethings just wanna have fun

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