Young People Don't Want Quotas, They Want a Good Work-Life-Balance

10th Continental Student Survey

(PresseBox) ( Hanover, )
- Almost two thirds of students assign the greatest importance to partnership/family
- Young people want security and feel a regional attachment
- Generation Y tends to have an optimistic view of the future

Although students see men as having a clear advantage in terms of career prospects, only a quarter of them (26%) support a legal female quota. About two thirds (65%) of those questioned as part of the 10th Continental Student Survey are of the opinion that women have a career disadvantage compared to men. Only a quarter (28%) believe that men and women have equal rights in all aspects of life. At the same time, even among the female students, only a third (33%) were in favor of quotas.

These are some of the key points from the anniversary edition of the long-term study by the international automotive supplier, tire manufacturer and industry partner Continental, pre-sented in Hanover on Thursday. This year, students were asked about their expectations regarding the working world, professions and careers. For the representative survey, the In-stitute for Applied Social Sciences, Infas, spoke to 1,011 students.

"The results confirm once more that young people do not want a quota. Instead they want a working world that accommodates both career and family. Now, even more men (59%) than women (55%) are willing to put aside their career goals for the family," explained Continental HR Director Elke Strathmann. "It also becomes clear here that the female students are con-scious that career advancement is based on performance. This willingness to commit and their desire for reconciliation of work and family life must be taken into account in equal measure."

Generation Y (young people between 20 and 35 years old) tends to attach great value to indi-vidual lifestyles that enable them to reconcile their working life with their private life. They rank the importance of the areas of life "profession and work", "family and partnership" and "financial security and provision" at almost the same level.

"The challenge for the future lies in giving well-qualified young people enough room in the working environment to live their lives individually and at the same time have enough security to ensure predictable general conditions. However, the companies' requirements must also always be kept in mind," ascertained Strathmann.

Career and work-life balance

Strathmann attested that the specialist workforce of tomorrow has a clear desire to succeed: "Four out of five students (82%) consider it important to perform well at work. Graduates re-main very optimistic about their own career prospects, even though the debt crisis in the euro area has left its mark." After a high of 77% last year, there is still a clear majority who are very or fairly optimistic about their own future career, at 72% of respondents.

At the same time, the survey confirms a trend that was already apparent in previous years toward a desire for greater planability and freedom for individual lifestyle choices: Whereas in 2006 only 17% of students said they wanted planable working hours with a collectively agreed 40-hour working week, in 2010, this figure was already at 30%. This figure is currently as great as 39%, which is the highest value to date since the survey began. Conversely, only 21% are still willing to work a freely agreed working week of over 40 hours. Indefinite contracts, earnings potential and benefits are very high on young people's lists when deciding on an employer.

Mobility and security

The majority believe that the desire for security and planability is most likely fulfilled with a permanent employee relationship: 58% see themselves spending a long part of their working life at one company and want to develop further there. In 2005, only every fourth student wanted this. Other working relationships or self-employment were an alternative for less than 20%. "The development prospects and security that large corporations like Continental offer therefore remain highly attractive," Strathmann stressed. "Our values are also in keeping with young people's expectations: Freedom To Act, Trust, For One Another and Passion To Win," she emphasized.

The survey gives another indication of the desire for security: Almost half (48%) of the stu-dents want to find a job in their familiar home region. According to surveys, future employers could lure students abroad in particular with above-average pay (45%) and a limited time frame (42%). The USA (52%) and Switzerland (60%) are the work locations rated most highly by young people. 87% of respondents said that the effects on family and relationships or friends and acquaintances (51%) were the main reasons not to work abroad. "That is the downside of striving for security, home, reliability, and a settled lifestyle. An unwillingness to move can become a disadvantage for students in the future. Ultimately it narrows young people's view of the world. We certainly want to give young people the opportunity to expand their horizons in the long term," emphasized Strathmann.
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