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Beyond All Borders Young People Want Both a Career and Time for the Family
International Continental Student Survey 2013
- Students draw positive assessment of career prospects and harbor ambitious plans
- Young people want "financial security" and time for "family and relationships"
- Students view men as having a career advantage over women
- For students, a job abroad with potentially good earnings is conceivable
Across cultural and political borders, students in Germany, Romania, China, and Brazil have a thoroughly positive outlook on their career opportunities. While aiming for a successful professional career, they wish to combine it with time for private interests and the family. Although preferring a job in their respective home countries, they are partial to the U.S. and Western Europe when it comes to working abroad. There are, however, enormous differences in how students assess equality and equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace. Here, roughly two out of every three female students in both Germany and China feel clearly disadvantaged. In Brazil, on the other hand, only one out of every four female students is of this opinion.
These are the core statements coming out of the international "Continental Student Survey 2013" conducted by Continental - the international automotive supplier, tire manufacturer, and industrial partner - in Germany, Romania, China, and Brazil. The survey focused on young students' expectations regarding the world of work, profession, and career. In this representative survey, the Institute for Applied Social Sciences (Infas) surveyed over 1,000 students in each country with majors in engineering, the natural sciences, mathematics, IT, and economics.
The results of the international study show that young people want to be successful in their professional lives. At the same time, they want a working world that allows for both a career and enough time for their private lives. The results also indicate that in all countries surveyed - with the exception of China - more men than women can now imagine putting off their career goals for their families.
Jobs and Careers
Students surveyed in Germany, Romania, China, and Brazil rate their career opportunities positively. At 80 percent, the Brazilian students show the greatest degree of self-confidence, rating their career chances (very) good. But 72 percent of the young people surveyed in Germany also draw a positive assessment of their career opportunities. In China, 69 percent of the students and in Romania 63 percent evaluate their prospects as (very) good. This basically optimistic attitude is also reflected in the evaluation of personal competitive edge in international comparison.
Work-Life Balance and Diversity
Without exception, "financial security" and "family and relationships" are viewed as central aspects of life at the outset of a career. Students in Romania and Brazil assign these aspects very high priority. In Germany, "profession and work" are at the top of the agenda, followed by "family and relationships" and "financial security." In China, "training and qualification" still rate higher than "family and relationships" and "profession and work." "Training and qualification" place third in Brazil and Romania.
Whereas one out of every two students views men and women as equal in all areas of society in Romania (57 percent) as well as in China and Brazil (each 51 percent), only one out of every three German students (28 percent) believes this to be the case. According to the study, markedly more male students than female students in Germany view gender equality as having been achieved in all areas of society (36 percent and 21 percent respectively). In the other countries surveyed, male and female students are fairly close in their assessment of gender social equality (in China, men: 53 percent, women: 48 percent; in Romania, 58 and 57 percent respectively; in Brazil, 54 and 47 percent respectively).
The U.S. is similarly high on the list of all students surveyed when asked where they would like to work at some time in the future. 78 percent of the Brazilian students, 74 percent of the Chinese students, 65 percent of the Romanian students, and 53 percent of the German students can see themselves working there. 71 percent of the Chinese students surveyed and 60 percent of the German students would also work in Switzerland, while 70 percent of the Romanian students would accept work in Western Europe. A job would prompt 74 percent of the Brazilian students to come to Europe.
Mainly above-average pay would make a job abroad attractive for a majority of the students surveyed: 55 percent in Brazil, 51 percent in China, and 45 percent in both Germany and Romania. A limited time spent working in their positions abroad is particularly important for young people in Germany, China, and Romania (42, 32, and 20 percent respectively). According to the study, 87 percent of the German students, 79 percent of the Brazilian students, 67 percent of the Chinese students, and 65 percent of the Romanian students see family commitments and relationships as the most important reason for turning down a job abroad. Friends and acquaintances would be the second most important reason for doing so: according to 51 percent of those surveyed in Germany, 34 percent in Brazil, and 32 percent in both Romania and China.
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