The "at the same time" generation: how do young talents see their future in the working world?

20 March 2023 School

The younger generation, often called Generation Z, has become a research topic in its own right. Besides diverse expectations, what the new generation demonstrates above all is a commitment to social issues. While young people share many of the same values as their elders, priorities and expectations are changing.


In partnership with EY, SKEMA Business School undertook a consultation in September 2022 with more than 1,400 students across its various programmes and campuses, to better understand their aspirations and their expectations of their future employers.


This first edition of the Talent Barometer, conducted with the research institute OpinionWay, highlights the students' attitude toward their future, the meaning of work, and CSR commitments, as well as their perception of working conditions.


The 2023 Talent Barometer highlights four major findings:


  1. A desire for personal fulfilment without sacrificing professional integrity

    When the students define a job that is "meaningful", the majority (61%) spontaneously mention a job where they feel motivated and stimulated by their work. It is a job that allows them to thrive professionally (54%), that is aligned with their convictions (52%), and where they feel their work is useful for society (51%).
  2. The students are confident in their abilities

    The students have a positive state of mind when they think about their future (98%). They describe themselves primarily as determined (65%), but also as curious (61%).
    There are differences between the male and female students. The male students are more confident than the female students when they think about joining the workforce (89% versus 72% of female students), and they are more likely to describe their state of mind as determined (69% versus 63%). A higher number of female students say they are curious (66% vs. 56% of male students), and they are more anxious than male students when thinking about their future (37% vs. 21% of male students).

  3. The students have high expectations of their employers

    Nearly six out of ten students say that it is normal at the beginning of a career to work hard in order to learn and prove oneself, even if it means devoting more time to their professional life than their personal life (61%).

    However, the relationship to work time has clearly been transformed by the COVID-19 crisis. While flexibility and work-life balance are not the students' primary criteria when choosing a career path, almost all respondents believe that a healthy work-life balance is the key to fulfilment (96%, including 59% for whom this statement reflects their opinion very accurately). More than a third of them state that even at the start of their career it is essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance, even if it means making slower progress (38%). Ultimately, 77% believe they could turn down a position or leave it if the right work-life balance is not struck.
  4. Work atmosphere and support from inspiring managers are important

    Given their desire to develop their professional skills quickly, students have a priority need to keep learning. For seven out of ten students (70%), having the opportunity to learn a lot is an important aspect of their first job.

    The students surveyed feel that remote work is less important than work atmosphere. Almost half of the students feel that telecommuting is not suitable for a first job (54%). According to them, the ideal would be to spend no more than two days per week teleworking (1.7 days on average). 20% of the students do not want any telecommuting days.