Learning and development more important to young IT pros than leadership prospects – study

Business people
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IrishJobs.ie study shows generational differences in priorities



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13 August 2020 | 0

Company performance is a more attractive career attribute for young business professionals compared to senior professionals, according to research from IrishJobs.ie.

Published in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum, the research revealed that company performance ranked nine places higher as an attractive career attribute for young business professionals compared to senior professionals. This was the biggest point of difference in the rankings.

Comparatively, senior professionals in the business sector proved to be more attracted to leadership opportunities when considering a career prospect. This ranked nine places higher than for younger professionals.




Work-life balance and competitive base salaries ranked as two of the most important considerations for both cohorts, with these attributes ranking among the top two for both groups. Similarly, flexible working conditions were held in equally high regard by the two groups, ranking in fourth place for both.  

IT professionals

According to the study, the biggest point of difference in attractive attributes for young and senior professionals in the IT industry, is professional development and challenging work.

Young professionals in this sector prioritise professional training and development. This attribute ranked second most important, compared to senior professionals who positioned it in eleventh place.

Senior professionals in the IT industry, placed greater emphasis on challenging work and creative and dynamic working environments.

Unlike business professionals, the top two attributes for young and senior professionals in the IT sector differ for both groups. Within this sector, young professionals ranked competitive salaries and training and development as their top two, while senior professionals included competitive salaries and flexible work conditions.

Engineering professionals

For professionals within the engineering industry, the biggest point of difference can be seen in relation to leadership roles.

While younger professionals are more inclined to seek an opportunity that provides them with access to leaders who will help them to develop, senior professionals are more likely to seek a leadership opportunity for themselves.

Similarly, to the business rankings, work-life balance and competitive base salaries ranked amongst the top two attributes for both young and senior professionals.

“As we move through different stages of our careers, our career priorities evolve to reflect our changing personal circumstances, opportunities responsibilities and life experience,” said Orla Moran, general manager at IrishJobs.ie. “Our research in conjunction with our partner Universum clearly bears this out. Young professionals are drawn to working for dynamic organisations selling exciting and innovative products or services, and are less pre-occupied by their immediate salary, but instead are more motivated by potential future earnings and professional development. 

“Senior professionals, according to our research, are motivated by current salaries, a competitive benefits package, and opportunities for leadership.  In order words, as they progress up the career ladder, they are understandably less focused by future opportunities and instead want to realise their full earning potential and leadership aspirations.

“It is important that employers recognise these generational nuances to mitigate against disproportionately focusing their energies on addressing the preferences or motivations of one generation to the detriment of the other.”

Morgan continued that the research “suggests that the novelty of fancy workspaces and novel workplace perks has most certainly worn off. While they may provide novel talking points, there are no shortcuts to developing a positive organisational culture and this starts with strong organisational values and ensuring that these values are reflected across all areas of a business.

 “For employers who are looking to maintain a happy workforce, and for those who are also actively recruiting new members of the team, it is important to recognise what truly resonates with your employees and to ensure that your workplace offering is aligned to meet their needs and expectations.”

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