How young Germans want to work

A successful career isn’t everything. Flexible working hours, flat hierarchies and a positive work-life balance: young employees want a different kind of work – but also security.

Young employees attach importance to teamwork.
Young employees attach importance to teamwork. dpa

What do young people in Germany expect from their jobs? People’s view of work has changed in Generation Y, the age group born between 1980 and 2000. They consider their friends and family as important as their jobs. This was found by a study of the Institute for Applied Work Science (ifaa) in Düsseldorf and the Shell Youth Study. This generation is not only performance-oriented, but also has high expectations of its employers. Flexible working times, independence, freedom to take decisions, personal development and teamworking play an important role for people in this age group.

It’s important to me that my opinion is valued.

Alicia Heise, head of brand management for an online portal

Alicia Heise confirms this. “It’s important to me that I can make a difference and that my opinion is valued,” says the 33-year-old, who works as head of brand management for an online portal. Family-friendliness also means a lot to her: “The fact that I can return to my job after a period of parental leave gives me a feeling of great security. My employer supports this return to work.” Men also take a break from work for their families. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, more than one in five fathers received a parental allowance in 2016 – and this figure is rising.

Alicia Heise
Alicia Heise Federico Stura

I would like to grow in and with my job.

Johannes Stiels, male nurse

Johannes Stiels, a male nurse, also expects to have enough time after work for his family. And: “I would like to grow in and with my job. The pay has to be right too.” Even more important to the 33-year-old is flexibility in work planning and the possibility to temporarily reduce working hours and then return to full-time employment. Like Stiels, most employees under the age of 35 do not want to give up stable framework conditions. Accordingly, the majority of respondents to a study by the New Quality of Work Initiative (INQA) said that in addition to enjoying their work (89%), a fixed income (92%), a secure job (89%) and permanent employment (82%) were very important to them.

Johannes Stiels
Johannes Stiels Nicole Sagener