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The Millennial Generation: A New Breed of Labour?

The Millennial Generation: A New Breed of Labour? This article puts to the test the notion that younger generations, most notably the Millennials, value work less than older generations do. The analysis, deploying a linear probability model, is based on Statistics Finland’s Quality of Work Life Surveys, 1984 to 2013. Focusing on labour market entrants aged 15 to 29, we address two main themes: the value given to work, leisure and family life, and work commitment. Regardless of age, the value given to work has remained consistently high for the past three decades. At the same time, leisure and family life have gained increasing importance, not only among the Millennials but also among older generations. The Millennials are more prepared to change to a different occupational field than older employees, but this is not a new tendency, and therefore the generational gap remains unaffected. The evidence does not support the argument that the Millennials are less work-oriented than older generations. Keywords Generation Y, Millennials, work attitudes, work commitment, work orientation, work values following older generations: the Welfare State Generation Introduction and Generation X, the young adults of the 1980s and 1990s. Defining generations and exploring their differences is a sub- These three generations started their employment careers ject of much current debate that involves both political and in very different economic climates. The young adults who economic interests. In the employment context, one area of joined the Finnish labour market in the 1980s completed special interest has been the recent generational shift, which their occupational training at a time when the expansion of has seen the arrival in the workplace of the first digital natives, the welfare state was at its height and the job market was “native speakers” of the digital language (Abrams & von exceptionally strong (Pyöriä, Melin, & Blom, 2005). This Frank, 2014; Howe & Strauss, 2000; Ng, Lyons, & Schweitzer, trend was halted by the 1990s recession, and young people’s 2012; Tapscott, 1998; Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 1999). future prospects were effectively hampered by mass unem- Finland presents an interesting case in this context as the ployment. In the early 2000s, normalcy was restored in the population here is aging more rapidly than in other Western labour market, but there was no return to the exceptionally countries (Laine & Maiväli, 2010; The Organisation for high employment rates of the 1980s (Pyöriä & Ojala, 2016). Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD], 2016a). So does Generation Y, the Millennials who are now enter- By the 2010s, baby boomers have exited the labour market. ing the labour market, differ from the generations that went In Finland, the baby boom generation comprises those who before? There have been some quite far-fetched interpreta- were born in 1945 to 1950, while in the United Kingdom and tions of the distinctiveness of this generation. For instance, the United States, for instance, post-war fertility rates it has been suggested that young people do not value tradi- remained elevated into the 1960s (Karisto, 2007). There are tional wage employment to the same extent as their parents still people in Finnish workplaces who were born in the (Cogin, 2012; Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). The Millennials 1950s, but for the most part, the population of working age generation, it is argued, expects to be able to work under a consists of younger and relatively small cohorts. new management culture, to contribute to innovation at the The focus in this article is on Generation Y or the Millennials who were born in or after the 1980s and who entered the labour market in the 2000s. They are higher edu- cated than earlier generations, highly competent users of University of Tampere, Finland information and communication technologies (ICTs), and Corresponding Author: accustomed to the world of social media (Deal, Altman, & Pasi Pyöriä, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere Rogelberg, 2010; Hershatter & Epstein, 2010; Kowske, 33014, Finland. Rasch, & Wiley, 2010). We compare the Millennials with the Email: pasi.pyoria@uta.fi Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open workplace level, and to reconcile work and leisure in novel social generation, that is, a cohort of people born in the same ways (Chou, 2012; Twenge & Campbell, 2012). date range. However, a cohort does not constitute a genera- Furthermore, it is said the Millennials attach more value to tion by virtue of its age alone, other than in a statistical sense. family life and to leisure than they do to wage employment In the sociological use of the concept, a generation is thought (Twenge, Campbell, Hoffman, & Lance, 2010). It is thought to consist of a stratum who are born within a limited time that they are less committed than older wage earners to one range and who share not only the same date of birth but also single employer, and that they place more value on opportuni- similar sociocultural experiences (Edmunds & Turner, 2002; ties for personal growth and development than on lifelong Eyerman & Turner, 1998). employment (Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden, 2007). The In his famous essay The Problem of Generations, Millennials are keen to shape and influence the culture, prac- German sociologist of science Karl Mannheim (1952) iden- tices, and management of their current workplace and to find a tifies three stages of generation formation. The first prem- job with social relevance (Terjesen, Vinnicombe, & Freeman, ise for the formation of a generation is membership of the 2007; Twenge, 2010). same age group, but that alone is not enough. In addition, Insofar as these characterizations are accurate, it is clear there must exist some social and cultural factor that most that work organizations and management are going to have to people in the age group share in common. Mannheim says make changes, both in staff recruitment and in other areas that youth is a particularly strategic time for the develop- (Costanza, Badger, Fraser, Severt, & Gade, 2012). As more ment of generational consciousness. He also realized that and more workplaces face the challenge of integrating the the key experience shared by a certain cohort at once unites newest working generation with older colleagues, the work and divides generations. For instance, the 1990s recession environment may encounter productivity challenges if changes divided Finland’s Generation X youths who had been born are not made to accommodate employees with different atti- two decades earlier into two groups, the survivors and the tudes and expectations (Stewart, Oliver, Cravens, & Oishi, marginalized (Kalela, Kiander, Kivikuru, Loikkanen, & 2017). In the future, the most competent and skilled staff will Simpura, 2001). want to work for companies that embrace corporate social In the third stage of generation formation, people from a responsibility rather than traditional owner-driven thinking certain age cohort are drawn together to pursue a common (McGlone, Spain, & McGlone, 2011). In these kinds of com- goal or way of life. The generation is mobilized. For instance, panies, employees will have the best opportunities to grow and young people in the 1960s were brought together by student develop themselves, to realize themselves in their own terms radicalism and left-wing activism (Kolbe, 2008). However, within an inspiring workplace community, and to build up a Mannheim’s mobilized generation is a problematic concept personal experience of a good and meaningful job. for purposes of analysing the age groups in focus here. As a However, we do not yet know whether the values of the result of the recession, Generation X did not go to the barri- Millennials really are as different as has been suggested. cades in protest against mass unemployment and public sec- Representative surveys with extensive data sets on the work tor cutbacks, even though the economic crisis became a key orientation of this generation are still scarce (Giancola, 2006; experience for them. The Welfare State Generation had no Macky, Gardner, & Forsyth, 2008). In particular, it is hard to real reason to be radicalized, either. find studies that compare the Millennials with young people The Millennials generation is even harder to define in of the 1980s and 1990s and that control for age and time- Mannheim’s terms. New social movements such as environ- period effects (Kowske et al., 2010; Krahn & Galambos, mental and animal welfare groups, anti-economic globaliza- 2014; Parry & Urwin, 2011). Our article is intended to fill tion groups and the precariat movement, for instance, have all this gap in the research literature. We have a unique and com- proved to be too fragmented and too marginal to be able to prehensive data set spanning three full decades. mobilize today’s youth, or even to provide them a common Using data collected by Statistics Finland in 1984 to 2013, point of experience. Young people in today’s Finland can be our aim is to find out how labour market entrants aged 15 to described as a culturally “atomised” generation (Salasuo & 29 and born at different times differ from each other. Our Poikolainen, 2016). main focus is on how these people value wage employment In contrast to Mannheim, many present-day scholars do and other areas of life, that is, family and leisure, as well as not consider mobilization to be central to the development of on their readiness to change jobs. Drawing on the tradition of intragenerational and intergenerational divisions (France & sociological generation research, we ask whether it is possi- Roberts, 2015; Wyn & Woodman, 2006). A discursively ble to identify age group differences in attitudes to wage shared world of experiences suffices to unite and to divide employment over the past three decades. generations and at once to explain generational differences (Aboim & Vasconcelos, 2014; Kupperschmidt, 2000). Indeed, most studies define generation as a group whose Defining the Generations members share a common experience and an awareness of The concept of generation has two basic meanings. the distinctiveness of their own age cohort vis-à-vis others Generation may refer either to a familial generation or to a (Costanza et al., 2012; Parry & Urwin, 2011). Pyöriä et al. 3 We have here chosen to follow the post-Mannheimian inter- level of education. In particular, the average age of university pretation. As well as comparing Millennials with older genera- graduation in Finland—around 26 to 28 years—is higher tions, we also explore the shared world of experiences of those than in other European countries. cohorts born since the early 1980s. Our analysis is focused on Because of the cross-sectional time points there is some work orientation, that is, on individual values and attitudes overlap in the dates of the generations in focus, but in view of related to wage employment, but we also consider the traits and the limitations of the data set these dates are quite closely in characteristics of the Millennial generation more widely. line with those used in the earlier research literature. It is impor- The concept of work orientation was originally estab- tant to bear in mind that there is no consensus about how gen- lished by British sociologist John Goldthorpe, Lockwood, erations are defined. Generation X is usually defined as Bechhofer, and Platt (1968) in their classical study The comprising people born in the late 1960s and 1970s, and the Affluent Worker. Work orientation reflects the meaning of Millennials as those born later. Howe and Strauss (1997, 2000), work to the trajectory of the individual’s life course more for instance, define the Millennials generation as comprising broadly. A distinction is typically made between three types those born in 1982 to 2004 (cf. Smola & Sutton, 2002). of work orientation: an employee with an instrumental orien- At our time points, young people in 2013 belong to the tation to work regards work primarily as a source of income, Millennials generation (those born in 1984-1998), and young an employee with a bureaucratic orientation is committed to people in the 1997 data set belong to Generation X (born in career development, and an employee with a solidarity orien- 1968-1982). The young people included in the 1984 data set tation identifies with the workplace community. are described as the Welfare State Generation; they were born There are other theories of work orientation (see, for in 1955 to 1969. During this period, Finland became urban- example, Turunen, 2011), but Goldthorpe’s broad view is in ized, the business and industry structure was modernized, and line with generation research. It is useful to compare atti- Finland developed into a fully-fledged Nordic welfare state tudes to work with other important life values, in our case (Pyöriä et al., 2005). family and leisure (see also Alkula, 1990). The value attached Although our decision to focus on the age group 15 to 29 is to different spheres of life is not a zero-sum game, but those in line with the age bands used in earlier research, this demar- spheres constitute a mutually complementary network that cation is not without its problems. All the cohorts in our data set structures the individual’s life trajectory. do not constitute a generation. The young people in the 1990, 2003, and 2008 data sets fall in the middle ground between the generational categories outlined above. Furthermore, it is note- Research Questions and Data worthy that the generational consciousness of the youngest Our analysis is divided into two main themes: (a) the value respondents in our material is still in the process of developing, attributed to wage employment, home and family life, and lei- and their work orientation may reflect a more general under- sure; and (b) readiness to change jobs in either the same or dif- standing of the meaning of work rather than their own personal ferent occupational field. We want to find out how young labour experiences from the world of work. However, young people market entrants have differed in these respects over the past aged 15 are officially of working age, and our data set repre- three decades (the survey items are detailed in Appendix A). sents comprehensively even the very youngest wage earners The analysis is based on pooled data from Statistics (Lehto & Sutela, 2009; Sutela & Lehto, 2014). Finland’s Quality of Work Life Surveys collected in 1984, In numerical terms, though, our data set includes only few 1990, 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2013. These are extensive people from the youngest age group. This is because the cross-sectional studies with a very high response rate (68%- sample was collected among wage earners, and most younger 89%), involving between 3,000 and 5,000 people and cover- people are still studying. The 1984 data set comprises 1,324 ing the entire wage and salary earning population residing in wage earners aged 15 to 29 (29% of all respondents). At later Finland. The surveys have been conducted in the form of cross-sectional time points the figures are lower, reflecting personal face-to-face interviews, lasting on average a little the rapid aging of the population: 1,048 in 1990 (26%), 594 over an hour (Lehto & Sutela, 2009; Sutela & Lehto, 2014). in 1997 (20%), 778 in 2003 (19%), 814 in 2008 (19%), and Cross-sectional studies often explain attitudes to work by 744 in 2013 (15%). In each year, women and men are equally reference to age rather than generation (Cennamo & Gardner, represented among the wage earners aged 15 to 29. 2008; Wong, Gardiner, Lang, & Coulon, 2008). Here, by contrast, we want to compare the attitudes of people repre- Method senting different generations when they were the same age in the early stages of their employment careers. At each cross- The following empirical investigation is based on linear regres- sectional point, we focus on examining wage earners aged 15 sion analysis. We use a linear probability model (LPM), that is, to 29 and compare them with all older age groups (30-64). a basic general linear model (GLM) with binary dependent vari- The research literature has no unambiguous definition for ables. In the context of our inquiry, this offers considerable young wage earners (Eurofound, 2013). We justify our advantages over logistic regression, the method most typically choice of age limits here based on Finnish employees’ high used in the social sciences. 4 SAGE Open 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1984*** 1990*** 1997 2003 20082013 30+ yrs. 15–29 yrs. Figure 1. Value attached to gainful employment (very important) in 1984-2013 (%). In logistic regression, the odds ratios are not easy to under- labour market, a spell of unemployment during the preceding stand intuitively, and they are often mistaken for probabilities, 5-year period, and income level (classified annually into income which they are not. LPMs, in contrast, allow for the assessment tertiles). Furthermore, we consider whether the job is varied or of the possibility of an event (on a scale from 0 to 1, the mean monotonous. We also control for the cross-sectional time point. estimates practically refer to shares as percentages). They can We are aware of the difficulty of inferring, in a cross-sec- also be used to compare results across groups, samples, and tional context, whether the phenomenon in focus is explained time points (Mood, 2010), making the method particularly suit- by age, cohort, or time-period effects (Krahn & Galambos, able for the present analysis. According to Hellevik (2009), the 2014; Yang & Land, 2008). Therefore, in Tables 1 and 2, we violation of the linearity assumption between independent and examine how each age group differs from older respondents dependent variables can, where necessary, be overcome by as an interaction between age and time point. Furthermore, dichotomizing independent variables. The potential violation we examine the interactions for age and educational level, of homoscedasticity assumption with linear models does not gender, simultaneous studying and working, and recent entry seem to be of practical importance because the basic tests used into the labour market (0-2 years). Not only age and time with these kinds of models are robust (Hellevik, 2009). point but also age and education as well as age and gender, Furthermore, LPMs enable more intuitive analysis of within- produced noteworthy interactions, and therefore they were group differences (here carried out with F tests, post hoc tests, included in the final model. To establish the impact of the and by analysing the means within groups when statistically time point, we studied the above three interactions with post significant differences are found). hoc tests (Appendix B). The individual factors controlled for in our empirical model The background variables in the model do not correlate too are age group (those aged 15-29 and older), gender, and level of strongly with one another, and therefore there are no multicol- education (basic, secondary, and higher). Family status (partner- linearity problems caused by excessively high correlations ship and children under 18) is taken into account in the analyses (Appendix C). Only age and “newcomer” status correlated at concerning the value attached to different areas of life (family the level of 0.4, which is somewhat high, but not a barrier to status shows little correlation with intentions to change jobs). keeping both variables in the model. Chi-square significance Since our focus is on younger people, we also adjust for whether values were set as follows: *p ≤ .05, **p ≤ .01, ***p ≤ .001. or not the respondent is studying while working in gainful employment. Furthermore, we consider whether the respondent Results has only recently entered the labour market, and adjust for the number of years in gainful employment (newcomers 0-2 years). Young Adults’ Work Orientation We describe the respondent’s labour market position by tak- ing into account the type of employment contract (temporary Generations are most commonly referred to in the context of contract), perceived threats to the security of employment (one political debates where different age groups are pitted against or more of the following: threat of layoff, dismissal or unem- one another. More often than not, it is young people who ployment), perceived opportunities for employment in the open come out as the underdogs. Not only in Finland Pyöriä et al. 5 Table 1. Value Attached to Gainful Employment, Family, and Leisure in 1984-2013. Considers the following aspects of life very important Gainful employment Family Leisure Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Grand mean .502 (.011) (= estimated 50%) .820 (.007) (= estimated 82%) .383 (.010) (= estimated 38%) Age 15-29 years Ns .837 (.008) 25.798(1)*** .409 (.011) 35.289(1)*** 30-64 years .801 (.008) .351 (.011) Time point 1984 .512 (.013) 9.839(5)*** .728 (.009) 111.446(5)*** .287 (.012) 84.771(5)*** 1990 .449 (.014) .752 (.009) .311 (.013) 1997 .534 (.014) .814 (.010) .339 (.014) 2003 .501 (.014) .898 (.010) .387 (.013) 2008 .485 (.014) .859 (.010) .473 (.013) 2013 .527 (.014) .864 (.010) .482 (.013) Post hoc 1990, 2008 < 1984, 1997, 2003, 1984 < 1990 < 1997 < 2003, 1984 < 1990, 1997 < 2003 < 2013 2008, 2013 2008, 2013 b b Interaction term Age × Year 3.317(5)** 2.523(5)* ns Interaction term Age × Education 6.011(2)** ns ns b b Interaction term Age × Gender 12.829(1)*** 19.254(1)*** ns Education Basic .526 (.012) 6.426(2)** ns .353 (.012) 8.092(2)*** Secondary .500 (.011) .384 (.010) Higher .478 (.014) .402 (.013) Post hoc Basic > Secondary > High Basic < Secondary < High Gender Woman .490 (.011) 7.904(1)** .872 (.008) 363.416(1)*** .359 (.011) 29.845(1)*** Man .513 (.012) .767 (.008) .401 (.011) Spouse Yes .474 (.011) 52.074(1)*** .914 (.008) 1,352.706(1)*** .359 (.011) 35.089(1)*** No .529 (.011) .724 (.008) .401 (.011) Children Yes Ns .873 (.008) 509.369(1)*** .325 (.011) 276.190(1)*** No .766 (.007) .435 (.010) Employed during studies Yes .456 (.016) 32.550(1)*** ns .413 (.016) 20.092(1)*** No .547 (.009) .346 (.009) Years employed 0-2 years .460 (.016) 23.492(1)*** ns ns 3– years .542 (.010) Type of employment Temporary .487 (.012) 7.966(1)** ns ns Permanent .516 (.011) Threats 1-3 threats ns ns .372 (.010) 4.720(1)* No threats .388 (.010) Has been unemployed Yes .512 (.012) 6.022(1)* ns .368 (.011) 8.692(1)** No .491 (.011) .392 (.010) Employability Poor ns ns ns Good (continued) 6 SAGE Open Table 1. (continued) Considers the following aspects of life very important Gainful employment Family Leisure Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Job content Monotonous .487 (.012) 11.456(1)*** ns ns Varied .516 (.011) Wage level Lowest tertile .470 (.011) 29.557(2)*** ns .362 (.010) 7.426(2)*** Middle tertile .492 (.012) .381 (.011) Highest tertile .542 (.013) .397 (.012) Low < Middle < High Low < High Post hoc Adjusted R .019 .141 .057 Model F(df) Sig. 17.930(28)*** 143.931(28)*** 53.377(28)*** N 24.353 24.353 24.353 Note. Linear probability model with ANOVA mean estimates. For dummy variables, the post hoc results are the same than F test results. Post hoc comparisons (Sidak adjustments) shown when statistically significant within groups at p value level ≤ .05. See Appendix B for further analysis. Table 2. Readiness to Change Jobs in the Same or a Different Occupational Field in 1984-2013. Would change jobs for the same pay to: The same/a different field The same field A different field Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Grand mean .583 (.011) (= estimated 58%) .223 (.009) (= estimated 22%) .360 (.009) (= estimated 36%) Age 15-29 years .610 (.012) 28.705(1)*** ns .388 (.010) 31.395(1)*** 30-64 years .554 (.012) .336 (.010) Time point 1984 .587 (.013) 10.627(5)*** .239 (.011) 6.724(5)*** .349 (011) 6.051(5)*** 1990 .636 (.014) .241 (.011) .395 (.012) 1997 .586 (.014) .239 (.012) .348 (.013) 2003 .537 (.014) .196 (.012) .340 (.012) 2008 .572 (.014) .209 (.012) .363 (.012) 2013 .575 (.014) .199 (.012) .376 (.013) Post hoc 1990 > 1997, 2008, 2013 > 2003 1984, 2003, 2013 < 1990, 1997 2003 < 1984, 2008 < 1990, 2013 1984 < 1990 1997 < 1990, 2013 Interaction term Age × Year ns ns 2.243(5)* b b Interaction term Age × Education 16.370(2)*** ns 17.750(2)*** b b Interaction term Age × Gender 11.573(1)*** ns 4.170(1)* Education Basic .565 (.012) 3.561(2)* .186 (.010) 20.183(2)*** .379 (.011) 9.481(2)*** Secondary .592 (.011) .219 (.009) .373 (.010) Higher .590 (.014) .257 (.012) .333 (.012) Post hoc Basic < Secondary < High Basic < Secondary < High Basic < Secondary < High Gender Woman .600 (.011) 19.126(1)*** .196 (.010) 54.527(1)*** ns Man .564 (.012) .245 (.009) Spouse Yes .567 (.011) 15.408(1)*** ns .345 (.010) 23.560(1)*** No .597 (.012) .378 (.010) (continued) Pyöriä et al. 7 Table 2. (continued) Would change jobs for the same pay to: The same/a different field The same field A different field Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Children Yes .607 (.012) 52.000(1)*** ns .385 (.010) 56.557(1)*** No .557 (.011) .339 (.009) Employed during studies Yes ns ns ns No Years employed 0-2 years ns ns ns 3– years Type of employment Temporary .564 (.012) 11.990(1)*** .246 (.010) 36.331(1)*** .318 (.011) 91.312(1)*** Permanent .600 (.011) .195 (.009) .406 (.010) Threats 1-3 threats .646 (.012) 269.650(1)*** .252 (.010) 96.271(1)*** .394 (.010) 90.080(1)*** No threats .518 (.011) .189 (.009) .329 (.010) Has been unemployed Yes ns ns ns No Employability Poor .573 (.012) 6.470(1)* .184 (.010) 141.521(1)*** .389 (.011) 67.429(1)*** Good .592 (.010) .257 (.009) .335 (.009) Job content Monotonous .679 (.012) 532.785(1)*** .205 (.010) 18.908(1)*** .474 (.011) 916.061(1)*** Varied .485 (.011) .236 (.009) .250 (.009) Wage level Lowest tertile .548 (.011) 21.397(2)*** .199 (.009) 13.407(2)*** .349 (.010) 4.147(2)* Middle tertile .594 (.012) .225 (.010) .370 (.010) Highest tertile .604 (.013) .238 (.010) .366 (.011) Post hoc Low < High Low < Middle < High Low < Middle < High .047 .027 .059 Adjusted R Model F(df) Sig. 44.136(28)*** 25.317(28)*** 55.941(28)*** N 24.353 24.353 24.353 Note. Linear probability model with ANOVA mean estimates. For dummy variables, the post hoc results are the same than F test results. Post hoc comparisons (Sidak adjustments) shown when statistically significant within groups at p value level ≤ .05. See Appendix B for further analysis. but throughout Europe and rest of the world there is growing settle into a career path that matches their skills and qualifi- cations (Kivinen & Nurmi, 2014). concern about youth unemployment, the length of time that young people spend studying, and young people’s attitudes to Our results show there are no grounds for concern over work (Eurofound, 2013; France, 2016; Helve & Evans, 2013; young people’s work orientation: It is not growing weaker. Ng, Lyons, & Schweitzer, 2017). During the periods under study, the appreciation of gainful In reality, young people in Finland, including students, employment has remained constant even among young people, although they have consistently attached slightly less value to are an important part of the labour force, and they have work than older people. Over half of the age group 15 to 29 important skills and the right kind of attitude. One distinc- valued work as a very important area of life at every time point tive feature of the Finnish education system is that many in our data set, except for 1990, which saw a temporary dip in students gain valuable work experience while they are still the value attached to gainful employment (Figure 1). studying. Even though young people in Finland complete In 1990, the economy was still benefiting from strong their education (and higher education in particular) at a later age than young people in Europe on average, they quickly cyclical trends and a climate of optimism, but in 1991 to 8 SAGE Open 1993 the economy collapsed and the country drifted into 0.8 mass unemployment. It seems that the general trend in the appreciation of gainful employment closely follows the 0.7 cyclical movements of the economy. When the times are good, the value attached to employment falls, and vice 0.6 versa. This is confirmed by the model presented in Table 1. The post hoc test shows that both time points that rep- 0.5 resent the zenith of economic upturn—1990 and 2008— have statistically significantly lowered levels of value given to gainful employment in comparison to all other 0.4 time points. When interpreting the results, it is important to observe 0.3 that young people aged 15 to 29 and older age groups differ statistically significantly in their appreciation of gainful 0.2 employment only in 1984 and 1990, but not in later years BasicSecondary Higher (Figure 1). In the model presented in Table 1, no direct effect 30+ yrs. 15–29 yrs. of age was found. The generational difference that was vis- ible in Figure 1 is confirmed only for 1990, when interac- Figure 2. Estimated share of employees valuing gainful employment tions are examined between age group and time point as “very important” (scale 0 = less, 1 = very important). (Appendix B). In other words, it can be said that in the Note. Illustration of the post hoc test finding on Age × Education (Table 1; 1980s, the Welfare State Generation attached somewhat less Appendix B). value to employment than older age groups, but in the case of Generations X and Y, the difference is not statistically significant. The evidence, therefore, does not support the 0.8 suggestions that young people’s work orientation is growing weaker. 0.7 It is somewhat surprising that a higher education does not predict a high appreciation of work, but on the contrary the 0.6 association tends to weaken (Table 1). Those with a basic edu- cation attach more value to gainful employment than those 0.5 with a higher education (see also Stam, Verbakel, & De Graaf, 2013). This ties in with the rising overall level of education. In 0.4 the 2013 data set, 46% of the respondents had a tertiary degree, compared with just 13% in 1984. In Finland, educational 0.3 achievement is no longer as significant a factor as it used to be. Although education continues to provide protection against labour market risks (Koerselman & Uusitalo, 2014; Pyöriä & 0.2 ManWoman Ojala, 2016), unemployment has increased among the higher 30+ yrs. 15–29 yrs. educated, too, which probably explains our result. The interaction between age and education is significant in the model shown in Table 1. The more detailed analysis in Figure 3. Estimated share of employees valuing gainful employment as “very important” (scale 0 = less, 1 = very important). Appendix B reveals an interesting feature about the differentia- Note. Illustration of the post hoc test finding on Gender × Education tion of young people’s work orientation by educational level. (Table 1; Appendix B). That is, young people aged 15 to 29 with a basic education value employment less than older age groups with the same level of education. Among young people with a tertiary degree, the situ- women: Older female employees respect work less than their ation is the exact opposite. They value gainful employment more younger colleagues. At the same time, between young men and than older people with a tertiary degree (Figure 2). We assume women, the gender difference does not exist (Figure 3). that an effort given to studying for a higher degree at a young age Table 1 also shows that there is a statistically highly sig- is reflected in this finding: Higher educated labour market new- nificant difference between a high level of earnings and a comers are keen to start their careers. high appreciation of employment: The higher the wages, the According to Table 1, men value work more than women do. more people value their work. Simultaneous employment Here, however, we find an interesting interaction effect con- and studying and a short experience of gainful employment cerning age. Whereas younger men value employment less than (less than 2 years), on the other hand, reduce the value older male employees, the quite opposite holds for younger attached to employment. People not living in a partnership Pyöriä et al. 9 value work more, but it makes no difference whether or not enjoy a good family life as well (Hakanen, Peeters, & the respondent has children. Perhoniemi, 2011; Ylikännö, 2010). All in all, the appreciation of wage employment has remained quite stable over the past three decades. At the same time, both Work Orientation in Relation to Family and family and especially leisure have gained significantly in impor- Leisure tance. Family and leisure are most important of all to young people, but this has not undermined the value attached to gainful Next, we move on to examine the appreciation of employment employment. This can be interpreted by suggesting that young in relation to the importance attached to family and leisure. people are keen to have both diversity and balance in their lives. Although we are primarily interested in attitudes to work, the inclusion of family and leisure in the same model allows us to analyze areas of life that complement work orientation. This Readiness to Change Jobs choice is in line with Goldthorpe’s theory. Goldthorpe et al. Next, we move on to the question of work commitment from (1968) understood that the development of work orientation is the point of view of readiness to change jobs, assuming that associated with the individual’s social and cultural background the respondent would be able to change jobs for the same pay. and with the values adopted in that context. According to Table 2, young people are keener to change jobs The most significant generational difference stems from the than older age groups, namely, to different occupational emphasis placed by young people on family and leisure, even fields, even when studying and limited work experience (less though the most significant background factor of having a fam- than 2 years) are adjusted for. This result reflects young peo- ily is taken into account. It is worth noting, however, that from ple’s life situation. Youth has always been a stage of life char- 1984 to 2013, the value attached to family and to leisure has acterized by transition and search for direction (Helve & increased among all wage earners (the post hoc results pre- Evans, 2013). Young people need to find their place in the sented in Table 1 point to almost linear increase up to 2003 labour market, weigh educational options, and try out their concerning family, and up to 2008 concerning leisure). A mod- wings in different occupations. est interaction effect between age and time point shows that in It is useful to look at the interactions more closely to find recent years (2003, 2008, and 2013, see Appendix B) young out what they reveal about the readiness to change jobs. people attach more value to family in comparison to older gen- First, there are statistically significant interactions for age erations. The interaction term on gender shows that young and educational level that focus on aims at changing jobs to women in particular value their family highly (age difference is a different occupational field (Table 2; Appendix B). Young not found among men, however, see Appendix B). people aged 15 to 29 with a basic and secondary education The results described above reflect a more general change are more likely to contemplate changing jobs than older age in values that probably have to do with increasing overall groups. Among the tertiary educated, there is no correspond- wealth and affluence. We have witnessed a growing trend ing statistically significant age group difference. toward post-materialistic values in affluent economies Second, there is a gender and age differentiation on overall (Inglehart, 1997, 2008). This is confirmed by the observation aims at changing jobs, and on aims at changing to a different that people with a higher education and with the highest field. The interaction effect points to young women who are incomes tend to attach more value to leisure (see post hoc more prepared to change jobs as compared to women aged 30 results for education and wage level, Table 1). In Goldthorpe or more (Appendix B). Among men, the age gap is lower. et al.’s (1968) terms, work no longer has the same instrumen- Third, there is a minor interaction effect that differentiates tal value that it did before, at least for people who have the between age and time point among young employees most resources to invest in their leisure. (Appendix B). It seems that representatives of the Welfare State Unfortunately, we were unable to incorporate in our Generation and Generation X, at ages 15 to 29, were more will- model an indicator describing job satisfaction, because the ing than older wage earners to change jobs to a different occu- data set is not fully comparable in this respect (in 1990 job pational field. Surprisingly, we found no confirmation for our satisfaction was inquired in a slightly different way than in assumptions that Generation Y is willing to change jobs, even other years). We can, however, observe on the basis of our though young people today are showing greater individuality data and earlier research that job satisfaction does matter to than before in their transitions from education to the labour wage earners of all ages (see also Kowske et al., 2010; market, and even though they are better placed than before to Westerman & Yamamura, 2007). If people are not satisfied make independent choices and even to get employers to com- with their job, then both their work orientation and the value pete for their services to secure a better contract and to pledge they attach to the family will decline. The most crucial factor their commitment. On the contrary, the results seem to indicate is how work and family are reconciled. Even though it is dif- that the Millennials are highly committed to the workplace, ficult to establish a potential causative link, low job satisfac- once they have found their own field. tion and a pessimistic future outlook probably reflect Concerning other measures that are adjusted for, readiness adversely on the individual’s family life. If, on the other to change jobs is most strongly predicted by the nature of the hand, people are doing well at work, they are more likely to job, that is, job monotony and threats to employment security 10 SAGE Open (Table 2). A temporary contract adds to people’s readiness to The Millennials share in common a high level of compe- change jobs within the same occupational field, but reduces tence in ICT and social media use, but this is an experience intentions to move to another occupational field. One possible that cuts across age group boundaries. Finland is a highly explanation could lie in this distinctive feature of the Finnish advanced information society and all working age people use labour market: Temporary contracts are most common among ICTs more or less regularly. New social movements have highly educated public sector employees. Professionals, nurses, also been quite fragmented. Even the most recent financial social workers, and teachers, for instance, must all have a crisis has not prompted major demonstrations as it has in higher degree to work in Finland. For them, moving to another Spain, Italy, Greece, and other European crisis countries, occupational field is not a realistic option, but they will first and where youth unemployment has soared to more than 50%. foremost want to find a permanent job within their own field. When we consider all of this against our key research finding This is supported by the observation in Table 2 which shows that neither the value attached to work nor workplace commit- that people with a tertiary degree are particularly keen to find ment has weakened and that age has no significant bearing on another job within their own field. This result points at profes- either of these factors, there is good reason to ask whether a sional closures within the academic labour market. wage-earning generation of Millennials even exists (see also All in all, the results indicate that neither young nor old Zabel, Biermeier-Hanson, Baltes, Early, & Shepard, 2016). An people are a homogeneous group. Work commitment varies increasing appreciation of leisure, home and family life hardly by work content and educational level both among younger suffices as a key experience for a generation, either. We main- and older wage earners. tain that this result is not indicative of conflicts between work, family and leisure, but rather that they are mutually supportive. Young people who embarked on their careers in the strong Conclusion and Discussion labour market of the early 2000s have had more resources for In this article, we have discussed the work orientation, apprecia- self-realization than older generations did. It is no longer tion of family and leisure, and the workplace commitment of necessary for them to orient to work as a value in itself. young people in Finland over the past three decades. The life- Instead, they may consider it more important to identify with world of the Welfare State Generation who lived their youth in the work community, that is, in Goldthorpe et al.’s (1968) the 1980s was structured by a rising educational level, the growth terms to adopt a solidarity orientation. of white-collar employment and a general climate of optimism. Finland is a relatively affluent European country. Household During the economic upturn of the 1980s, people transitioned net assets have increased rapidly since the childhood of the quickly from graduation to a stable labour market position. baby boom generation. Even though young people’s assets Born in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Generation X have grown less than those of older people, mainly by virtue of entered the labour market in a very different situation com- the assets tied to housing property, the younger generations are pared with both those who were born one decade earlier and wealthier than their predecessors. It is clear that this has left its those who came a decade later. Generation X grew up into mark on the values and attitudes of young people. The appre- adulthood in the shadow of the 1990s great recession. Their ciation of leisure and family has increased because people are key experiences were mass unemployment and the growth of in the position to invest more in them. social inequalities (Kalela et al., 2001). The Millennials who International comparisons have found similar genera- transitioned into adulthood in the 2000s entered a labour mar- tional differences as those we have described here. These dif- ket where normalcy had been restored, but again this genera- ferences are not tied to a certain age group, but comparisons tion experienced increasing uncertainty as a result of the over time suggest that changing values do not swing back as financial crisis that started to unfold in late 2008 (Pyöriä & young people get older (Inglehart, 2008). Insofar as young Ojala, 2016). Despite the financial crisis, the Finnish labour people today attach more value to leisure and family than market has continued to perform quite well, and there has they do to gainful employment, it is unlikely that this will been no new wave of mass unemployment: In the age group change with advancing age. 15 to 29, too, unemployment has remained below the EU It is an interesting question for further research how the average (Eurofound, 2013). recent financial crisis and the uncertainty it is causing will During the period under review, the mobilization of young affect future attitudes to gainful employment. We suspect people in Finland, in Mannheim’s sense, has remained very that the value attached to work will at least not weaken in the limited. The Welfare State Generation has had no reason to immediate future. On the contrary, fears of unemployment mobilize. Generation X, who grew up in the shadow of the may well add to the appreciation of work as young people 1990s recession, would have had good reason to become have more to lose financially than earlier generations. radicalized, but these young people did not go to the barri- All in all, young people today have good working con- cades. The great recession certainly left its mark on them, but ditions and their attitudes to work are conservative rather it did not diminish their commitment to wage employment. than radical, despite the problems they are facing in the In the case of Generation Y, too, there has been little more labour market both in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. In than marginal mobilization, and for this generation it is even Finland, youth unemployment in the wake of the 1990s difficult to identify a shared key experience. recession remained at a higher level than previously, and Pyöriä et al. 11 short-term contracts increased more rapidly among young our society, according to which the common denominator in people than in the population on average (Helve, 2013; the continuum of generations is reciprocity, does not seem to Ranta, 2013). be in jeopardy. Although the majority young Finns are content with their future prospects, there are signs of new social divisions that Appendix A stem from unemployment and social exclusion. In this Items Adopted From the Finnish Quality of Work respect, there is an important pattern of gender differentiation that calls for a more detailed investigation not only in Finland Life Surveys by Statistics Finland (1984, 1990, but also in other European countries. An increasing number 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2013) of young men are left without a job, training or education 1. Value attached to work, family, and leisure time: (OECD, 2016b, pp. 358-359), reflecting the plight caused by the financial crisis and politics of austerity. Nonetheless, it A1. To begin with, I shall list some core aspects of life which seems that Finland (as well as the other Nordic countries) has are of varying importance to different people. How important been quite successful in preventing the marginalization of are these aspects of life to you personally: Is gainful employ- young people from the labour market (Eurofound, 2013). The ment very important, quite important or not very important to Nordic labour market model has shown that it performs well even under conditions of economic crisis. you? What about home and family life? And leisure interests? The work orientation of the generations studied here shows more signs of permanence and continuity than they do 2. Readiness to change jobs: of difference and conflict. Our results do not support the claim, widespread in popular media, that the Millennials and F12. If you could change jobs for the same pay, would you their distinctive characteristics will be forcing work organi- change to: The same occupational field; A different occupa- zations into radical changes. The “generational contract” of tional field; Or would you not change at all? Appendix B Pairwise Comparison Test Results for the Statistically Significant Interactions (as Presented in Tables 1 and 2) Between Respondents Aged 15-29 and 30-64. Mean difference (SE): 15-29 years to 30-64 years F(df) Sig. Values Gainful employment very important: Age × Education Basic −.046 (.019) 6.087(1)* Secondary −.013 (.011) 1.283(1)ns Higher .058 (.022) 6.679(1)** Gainful employment very important: Age × Year 1984 −.033 (.018) 3.274(1)ns (change over time) 1990 −.059 (.021) 8.158(1)** 1997 .028 (.024) 1.299(1)ns 2003 .021 (.021) 1.047(1)ns 2008 .021 (.020) 1.054(1)ns 2013 .019 (.021) .879(1)ns Gainful employment very important: Age × Gender Men −.030 (.014) 4.360(1)* Women .029 (.013) 4.663(1)* Family very important: Age × Gender Men .013 (.009) 2.445(1)ns Women .059 (.009) 39.764(1)*** Family very important: Age × Year (change over time) 1984 .034 (.012) 8.277(1)** 1990 .015 (.014) 1.173(1)ns 1997 .013 (.016) .648(1)ns 2003 .059 (.014) 17.504(1)*** 2008 .064 (.014) 21.724(1)*** 2013 .032 (.014) 5.334(1)* Readiness to change jobs In the same/to a different occupational field: Age × Basic .133 (.019) 50.560(1)*** Education Secondary .048 (.011) 17.244(1)*** Higher −.012 (.019) 0.443(1)ns In the same/to a different occupational field: Age × Men .030 (.013) 5.068(1)* Gender Women .082 (.013) 41.140(1)*** (continued) 12 SAGE Open Appendix B (continued) Mean difference (SE): 15-29 years to 30-64 years F(df) Sig. To a different occupational field: Age × Education Basic .123 (.016) 56.231(1)*** Secondary .035 (.010) 11.622(1)*** Higher .003 (.017) .033 (1) ns To a different occupational field: Age × Year (change 1984 .068 (.015) 20.005(1)*** over time) 1990 .033 (.018) 3.418(1)ns 1997 .073 (.021) 12.244(1)*** 2003 .082 (.018) 20.098(1)*** 2008 .030 (.018) 2.925(1)ns 2013 .024 (.018) 1.695(1)ns To a different occupational field: Age × Gender Men .038 (.012) 10.530(1)*** Women .066 (.011) 33.567(1)*** Note. Adjustment: Sidak. Negative mean value difference reflects lower mean value for respondents aged 15-29. Appendix C Correlation Matrix. Spearman’s rho 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1. Age 1 2. Education −.086** 1 3. Time point −.116** .341** 1 4. Gender −.026** .075** .033** 1 5. Spouse −.243** .074** .017** −.018** 1 6. Children −.239** .103** −.019** −.001 .354** 1 7. Employed during studies .250** −.024** −.085** .042** −.115** −.083** 1 8. Employed 0-2 years .434** −.119** −.060** .008 −.234** −.174** .248** 1 9. Temporary contract .232** .012 .002 .093** −.112** −.070** .149** .270** 1 10. Threats .005 .018** .116** −.015* −.013* −.001 −.029** .020** .250** 1 11. Has been unemployed .189** −.050** .013* −.027** −.080** −.038** −.01 .102** .309** .277** 1 12. Poor employability −.219** −.137** −.029** .100** .034** −.119** −.094** −.083** −.077** .049** −.037** 1 13. Monotonous work .110** −.153** −.027** .001 −.073** −.039** .057** .098** .011 .063** .077** .067** 1 14. Wage level −.246** .311** −.013* −.296** .138** .124** −.084** −.214** −.201** −.073** −.212** −.072** −.164** 1 15. Work values −.043** −.035** −.011 −.063** −.013* .008 −.058** −.058** −.040** .01 .007 .012 −.023** .060** 1 16. Family values −.083** .088** .143** .131** .303** .221** −.046** −.068** −.017** .012 −.028** −.006 −.035** .008 .109** 1 17. Leisure time values .078** .075** .164** −.044** −.086** −.140** .041** .047** .025** −.001 −.006 −.032** −.001 .016* .059** .073** 1 18. Readiness to change jobs .051** .042** .008 .005 −.021** .040** .028** .024** .016** .110** .039** −.034** .147** .022** −.058** −.023** .009 1 19. . . . in the same field .021** .092** −.004 .041** .002 .023** .025** .004 .067** .063** .019** −.091** −.044** .045** −.013* −.003 −.015* .539** 1 20. . . . to a different field .038** −.037** .012 −.032** −.026** .024** .009 .023** −.043** .066** .027** .045** .206** −.016* −.053** −.023** .024** .637** −.306** *Correlation is significant at the .05 level, two-tailed. **Correlation is significant at the .01 level, two-tailed. Declaration of Conflicting Interests Alkula, T. (1990). Work orientations in Finland: A concep- tual critique and empirical study of work-related expecta- The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect tions (Commentationes scientiarum socialium 42). 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The Millennial Generation: A New Breed of Labour?

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Abstract

This article puts to the test the notion that younger generations, most notably the Millennials, value work less than older generations do. The analysis, deploying a linear probability model, is based on Statistics Finland’s Quality of Work Life Surveys, 1984 to 2013. Focusing on labour market entrants aged 15 to 29, we address two main themes: the value given to work, leisure and family life, and work commitment. Regardless of age, the value given to work has remained consistently high for the past three decades. At the same time, leisure and family life have gained increasing importance, not only among the Millennials but also among older generations. The Millennials are more prepared to change to a different occupational field than older employees, but this is not a new tendency, and therefore the generational gap remains unaffected. The evidence does not support the argument that the Millennials are less work-oriented than older generations. Keywords Generation Y, Millennials, work attitudes, work commitment, work orientation, work values following older generations: the Welfare State Generation Introduction and Generation X, the young adults of the 1980s and 1990s. Defining generations and exploring their differences is a sub- These three generations started their employment careers ject of much current debate that involves both political and in very different economic climates. The young adults who economic interests. In the employment context, one area of joined the Finnish labour market in the 1980s completed special interest has been the recent generational shift, which their occupational training at a time when the expansion of has seen the arrival in the workplace of the first digital natives, the welfare state was at its height and the job market was “native speakers” of the digital language (Abrams & von exceptionally strong (Pyöriä, Melin, & Blom, 2005). This Frank, 2014; Howe & Strauss, 2000; Ng, Lyons, & Schweitzer, trend was halted by the 1990s recession, and young people’s 2012; Tapscott, 1998; Zemke, Raines, & Filipczak, 1999). future prospects were effectively hampered by mass unem- Finland presents an interesting case in this context as the ployment. In the early 2000s, normalcy was restored in the population here is aging more rapidly than in other Western labour market, but there was no return to the exceptionally countries (Laine & Maiväli, 2010; The Organisation for high employment rates of the 1980s (Pyöriä & Ojala, 2016). Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD], 2016a). So does Generation Y, the Millennials who are now enter- By the 2010s, baby boomers have exited the labour market. ing the labour market, differ from the generations that went In Finland, the baby boom generation comprises those who before? There have been some quite far-fetched interpreta- were born in 1945 to 1950, while in the United Kingdom and tions of the distinctiveness of this generation. For instance, the United States, for instance, post-war fertility rates it has been suggested that young people do not value tradi- remained elevated into the 1960s (Karisto, 2007). There are tional wage employment to the same extent as their parents still people in Finnish workplaces who were born in the (Cogin, 2012; Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). The Millennials 1950s, but for the most part, the population of working age generation, it is argued, expects to be able to work under a consists of younger and relatively small cohorts. new management culture, to contribute to innovation at the The focus in this article is on Generation Y or the Millennials who were born in or after the 1980s and who entered the labour market in the 2000s. They are higher edu- cated than earlier generations, highly competent users of University of Tampere, Finland information and communication technologies (ICTs), and Corresponding Author: accustomed to the world of social media (Deal, Altman, & Pasi Pyöriä, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere Rogelberg, 2010; Hershatter & Epstein, 2010; Kowske, 33014, Finland. Rasch, & Wiley, 2010). We compare the Millennials with the Email: pasi.pyoria@uta.fi Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open workplace level, and to reconcile work and leisure in novel social generation, that is, a cohort of people born in the same ways (Chou, 2012; Twenge & Campbell, 2012). date range. However, a cohort does not constitute a genera- Furthermore, it is said the Millennials attach more value to tion by virtue of its age alone, other than in a statistical sense. family life and to leisure than they do to wage employment In the sociological use of the concept, a generation is thought (Twenge, Campbell, Hoffman, & Lance, 2010). It is thought to consist of a stratum who are born within a limited time that they are less committed than older wage earners to one range and who share not only the same date of birth but also single employer, and that they place more value on opportuni- similar sociocultural experiences (Edmunds & Turner, 2002; ties for personal growth and development than on lifelong Eyerman & Turner, 1998). employment (Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden, 2007). The In his famous essay The Problem of Generations, Millennials are keen to shape and influence the culture, prac- German sociologist of science Karl Mannheim (1952) iden- tices, and management of their current workplace and to find a tifies three stages of generation formation. The first prem- job with social relevance (Terjesen, Vinnicombe, & Freeman, ise for the formation of a generation is membership of the 2007; Twenge, 2010). same age group, but that alone is not enough. In addition, Insofar as these characterizations are accurate, it is clear there must exist some social and cultural factor that most that work organizations and management are going to have to people in the age group share in common. Mannheim says make changes, both in staff recruitment and in other areas that youth is a particularly strategic time for the develop- (Costanza, Badger, Fraser, Severt, & Gade, 2012). As more ment of generational consciousness. He also realized that and more workplaces face the challenge of integrating the the key experience shared by a certain cohort at once unites newest working generation with older colleagues, the work and divides generations. For instance, the 1990s recession environment may encounter productivity challenges if changes divided Finland’s Generation X youths who had been born are not made to accommodate employees with different atti- two decades earlier into two groups, the survivors and the tudes and expectations (Stewart, Oliver, Cravens, & Oishi, marginalized (Kalela, Kiander, Kivikuru, Loikkanen, & 2017). In the future, the most competent and skilled staff will Simpura, 2001). want to work for companies that embrace corporate social In the third stage of generation formation, people from a responsibility rather than traditional owner-driven thinking certain age cohort are drawn together to pursue a common (McGlone, Spain, & McGlone, 2011). In these kinds of com- goal or way of life. The generation is mobilized. For instance, panies, employees will have the best opportunities to grow and young people in the 1960s were brought together by student develop themselves, to realize themselves in their own terms radicalism and left-wing activism (Kolbe, 2008). However, within an inspiring workplace community, and to build up a Mannheim’s mobilized generation is a problematic concept personal experience of a good and meaningful job. for purposes of analysing the age groups in focus here. As a However, we do not yet know whether the values of the result of the recession, Generation X did not go to the barri- Millennials really are as different as has been suggested. cades in protest against mass unemployment and public sec- Representative surveys with extensive data sets on the work tor cutbacks, even though the economic crisis became a key orientation of this generation are still scarce (Giancola, 2006; experience for them. The Welfare State Generation had no Macky, Gardner, & Forsyth, 2008). In particular, it is hard to real reason to be radicalized, either. find studies that compare the Millennials with young people The Millennials generation is even harder to define in of the 1980s and 1990s and that control for age and time- Mannheim’s terms. New social movements such as environ- period effects (Kowske et al., 2010; Krahn & Galambos, mental and animal welfare groups, anti-economic globaliza- 2014; Parry & Urwin, 2011). Our article is intended to fill tion groups and the precariat movement, for instance, have all this gap in the research literature. We have a unique and com- proved to be too fragmented and too marginal to be able to prehensive data set spanning three full decades. mobilize today’s youth, or even to provide them a common Using data collected by Statistics Finland in 1984 to 2013, point of experience. Young people in today’s Finland can be our aim is to find out how labour market entrants aged 15 to described as a culturally “atomised” generation (Salasuo & 29 and born at different times differ from each other. Our Poikolainen, 2016). main focus is on how these people value wage employment In contrast to Mannheim, many present-day scholars do and other areas of life, that is, family and leisure, as well as not consider mobilization to be central to the development of on their readiness to change jobs. Drawing on the tradition of intragenerational and intergenerational divisions (France & sociological generation research, we ask whether it is possi- Roberts, 2015; Wyn & Woodman, 2006). A discursively ble to identify age group differences in attitudes to wage shared world of experiences suffices to unite and to divide employment over the past three decades. generations and at once to explain generational differences (Aboim & Vasconcelos, 2014; Kupperschmidt, 2000). Indeed, most studies define generation as a group whose Defining the Generations members share a common experience and an awareness of The concept of generation has two basic meanings. the distinctiveness of their own age cohort vis-à-vis others Generation may refer either to a familial generation or to a (Costanza et al., 2012; Parry & Urwin, 2011). Pyöriä et al. 3 We have here chosen to follow the post-Mannheimian inter- level of education. In particular, the average age of university pretation. As well as comparing Millennials with older genera- graduation in Finland—around 26 to 28 years—is higher tions, we also explore the shared world of experiences of those than in other European countries. cohorts born since the early 1980s. Our analysis is focused on Because of the cross-sectional time points there is some work orientation, that is, on individual values and attitudes overlap in the dates of the generations in focus, but in view of related to wage employment, but we also consider the traits and the limitations of the data set these dates are quite closely in characteristics of the Millennial generation more widely. line with those used in the earlier research literature. It is impor- The concept of work orientation was originally estab- tant to bear in mind that there is no consensus about how gen- lished by British sociologist John Goldthorpe, Lockwood, erations are defined. Generation X is usually defined as Bechhofer, and Platt (1968) in their classical study The comprising people born in the late 1960s and 1970s, and the Affluent Worker. Work orientation reflects the meaning of Millennials as those born later. Howe and Strauss (1997, 2000), work to the trajectory of the individual’s life course more for instance, define the Millennials generation as comprising broadly. A distinction is typically made between three types those born in 1982 to 2004 (cf. Smola & Sutton, 2002). of work orientation: an employee with an instrumental orien- At our time points, young people in 2013 belong to the tation to work regards work primarily as a source of income, Millennials generation (those born in 1984-1998), and young an employee with a bureaucratic orientation is committed to people in the 1997 data set belong to Generation X (born in career development, and an employee with a solidarity orien- 1968-1982). The young people included in the 1984 data set tation identifies with the workplace community. are described as the Welfare State Generation; they were born There are other theories of work orientation (see, for in 1955 to 1969. During this period, Finland became urban- example, Turunen, 2011), but Goldthorpe’s broad view is in ized, the business and industry structure was modernized, and line with generation research. It is useful to compare atti- Finland developed into a fully-fledged Nordic welfare state tudes to work with other important life values, in our case (Pyöriä et al., 2005). family and leisure (see also Alkula, 1990). The value attached Although our decision to focus on the age group 15 to 29 is to different spheres of life is not a zero-sum game, but those in line with the age bands used in earlier research, this demar- spheres constitute a mutually complementary network that cation is not without its problems. All the cohorts in our data set structures the individual’s life trajectory. do not constitute a generation. The young people in the 1990, 2003, and 2008 data sets fall in the middle ground between the generational categories outlined above. Furthermore, it is note- Research Questions and Data worthy that the generational consciousness of the youngest Our analysis is divided into two main themes: (a) the value respondents in our material is still in the process of developing, attributed to wage employment, home and family life, and lei- and their work orientation may reflect a more general under- sure; and (b) readiness to change jobs in either the same or dif- standing of the meaning of work rather than their own personal ferent occupational field. We want to find out how young labour experiences from the world of work. However, young people market entrants have differed in these respects over the past aged 15 are officially of working age, and our data set repre- three decades (the survey items are detailed in Appendix A). sents comprehensively even the very youngest wage earners The analysis is based on pooled data from Statistics (Lehto & Sutela, 2009; Sutela & Lehto, 2014). Finland’s Quality of Work Life Surveys collected in 1984, In numerical terms, though, our data set includes only few 1990, 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2013. These are extensive people from the youngest age group. This is because the cross-sectional studies with a very high response rate (68%- sample was collected among wage earners, and most younger 89%), involving between 3,000 and 5,000 people and cover- people are still studying. The 1984 data set comprises 1,324 ing the entire wage and salary earning population residing in wage earners aged 15 to 29 (29% of all respondents). At later Finland. The surveys have been conducted in the form of cross-sectional time points the figures are lower, reflecting personal face-to-face interviews, lasting on average a little the rapid aging of the population: 1,048 in 1990 (26%), 594 over an hour (Lehto & Sutela, 2009; Sutela & Lehto, 2014). in 1997 (20%), 778 in 2003 (19%), 814 in 2008 (19%), and Cross-sectional studies often explain attitudes to work by 744 in 2013 (15%). In each year, women and men are equally reference to age rather than generation (Cennamo & Gardner, represented among the wage earners aged 15 to 29. 2008; Wong, Gardiner, Lang, & Coulon, 2008). Here, by contrast, we want to compare the attitudes of people repre- Method senting different generations when they were the same age in the early stages of their employment careers. At each cross- The following empirical investigation is based on linear regres- sectional point, we focus on examining wage earners aged 15 sion analysis. We use a linear probability model (LPM), that is, to 29 and compare them with all older age groups (30-64). a basic general linear model (GLM) with binary dependent vari- The research literature has no unambiguous definition for ables. In the context of our inquiry, this offers considerable young wage earners (Eurofound, 2013). We justify our advantages over logistic regression, the method most typically choice of age limits here based on Finnish employees’ high used in the social sciences. 4 SAGE Open 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1984*** 1990*** 1997 2003 20082013 30+ yrs. 15–29 yrs. Figure 1. Value attached to gainful employment (very important) in 1984-2013 (%). In logistic regression, the odds ratios are not easy to under- labour market, a spell of unemployment during the preceding stand intuitively, and they are often mistaken for probabilities, 5-year period, and income level (classified annually into income which they are not. LPMs, in contrast, allow for the assessment tertiles). Furthermore, we consider whether the job is varied or of the possibility of an event (on a scale from 0 to 1, the mean monotonous. We also control for the cross-sectional time point. estimates practically refer to shares as percentages). They can We are aware of the difficulty of inferring, in a cross-sec- also be used to compare results across groups, samples, and tional context, whether the phenomenon in focus is explained time points (Mood, 2010), making the method particularly suit- by age, cohort, or time-period effects (Krahn & Galambos, able for the present analysis. According to Hellevik (2009), the 2014; Yang & Land, 2008). Therefore, in Tables 1 and 2, we violation of the linearity assumption between independent and examine how each age group differs from older respondents dependent variables can, where necessary, be overcome by as an interaction between age and time point. Furthermore, dichotomizing independent variables. The potential violation we examine the interactions for age and educational level, of homoscedasticity assumption with linear models does not gender, simultaneous studying and working, and recent entry seem to be of practical importance because the basic tests used into the labour market (0-2 years). Not only age and time with these kinds of models are robust (Hellevik, 2009). point but also age and education as well as age and gender, Furthermore, LPMs enable more intuitive analysis of within- produced noteworthy interactions, and therefore they were group differences (here carried out with F tests, post hoc tests, included in the final model. To establish the impact of the and by analysing the means within groups when statistically time point, we studied the above three interactions with post significant differences are found). hoc tests (Appendix B). The individual factors controlled for in our empirical model The background variables in the model do not correlate too are age group (those aged 15-29 and older), gender, and level of strongly with one another, and therefore there are no multicol- education (basic, secondary, and higher). Family status (partner- linearity problems caused by excessively high correlations ship and children under 18) is taken into account in the analyses (Appendix C). Only age and “newcomer” status correlated at concerning the value attached to different areas of life (family the level of 0.4, which is somewhat high, but not a barrier to status shows little correlation with intentions to change jobs). keeping both variables in the model. Chi-square significance Since our focus is on younger people, we also adjust for whether values were set as follows: *p ≤ .05, **p ≤ .01, ***p ≤ .001. or not the respondent is studying while working in gainful employment. Furthermore, we consider whether the respondent Results has only recently entered the labour market, and adjust for the number of years in gainful employment (newcomers 0-2 years). Young Adults’ Work Orientation We describe the respondent’s labour market position by tak- ing into account the type of employment contract (temporary Generations are most commonly referred to in the context of contract), perceived threats to the security of employment (one political debates where different age groups are pitted against or more of the following: threat of layoff, dismissal or unem- one another. More often than not, it is young people who ployment), perceived opportunities for employment in the open come out as the underdogs. Not only in Finland Pyöriä et al. 5 Table 1. Value Attached to Gainful Employment, Family, and Leisure in 1984-2013. Considers the following aspects of life very important Gainful employment Family Leisure Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Grand mean .502 (.011) (= estimated 50%) .820 (.007) (= estimated 82%) .383 (.010) (= estimated 38%) Age 15-29 years Ns .837 (.008) 25.798(1)*** .409 (.011) 35.289(1)*** 30-64 years .801 (.008) .351 (.011) Time point 1984 .512 (.013) 9.839(5)*** .728 (.009) 111.446(5)*** .287 (.012) 84.771(5)*** 1990 .449 (.014) .752 (.009) .311 (.013) 1997 .534 (.014) .814 (.010) .339 (.014) 2003 .501 (.014) .898 (.010) .387 (.013) 2008 .485 (.014) .859 (.010) .473 (.013) 2013 .527 (.014) .864 (.010) .482 (.013) Post hoc 1990, 2008 < 1984, 1997, 2003, 1984 < 1990 < 1997 < 2003, 1984 < 1990, 1997 < 2003 < 2013 2008, 2013 2008, 2013 b b Interaction term Age × Year 3.317(5)** 2.523(5)* ns Interaction term Age × Education 6.011(2)** ns ns b b Interaction term Age × Gender 12.829(1)*** 19.254(1)*** ns Education Basic .526 (.012) 6.426(2)** ns .353 (.012) 8.092(2)*** Secondary .500 (.011) .384 (.010) Higher .478 (.014) .402 (.013) Post hoc Basic > Secondary > High Basic < Secondary < High Gender Woman .490 (.011) 7.904(1)** .872 (.008) 363.416(1)*** .359 (.011) 29.845(1)*** Man .513 (.012) .767 (.008) .401 (.011) Spouse Yes .474 (.011) 52.074(1)*** .914 (.008) 1,352.706(1)*** .359 (.011) 35.089(1)*** No .529 (.011) .724 (.008) .401 (.011) Children Yes Ns .873 (.008) 509.369(1)*** .325 (.011) 276.190(1)*** No .766 (.007) .435 (.010) Employed during studies Yes .456 (.016) 32.550(1)*** ns .413 (.016) 20.092(1)*** No .547 (.009) .346 (.009) Years employed 0-2 years .460 (.016) 23.492(1)*** ns ns 3– years .542 (.010) Type of employment Temporary .487 (.012) 7.966(1)** ns ns Permanent .516 (.011) Threats 1-3 threats ns ns .372 (.010) 4.720(1)* No threats .388 (.010) Has been unemployed Yes .512 (.012) 6.022(1)* ns .368 (.011) 8.692(1)** No .491 (.011) .392 (.010) Employability Poor ns ns ns Good (continued) 6 SAGE Open Table 1. (continued) Considers the following aspects of life very important Gainful employment Family Leisure Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Job content Monotonous .487 (.012) 11.456(1)*** ns ns Varied .516 (.011) Wage level Lowest tertile .470 (.011) 29.557(2)*** ns .362 (.010) 7.426(2)*** Middle tertile .492 (.012) .381 (.011) Highest tertile .542 (.013) .397 (.012) Low < Middle < High Low < High Post hoc Adjusted R .019 .141 .057 Model F(df) Sig. 17.930(28)*** 143.931(28)*** 53.377(28)*** N 24.353 24.353 24.353 Note. Linear probability model with ANOVA mean estimates. For dummy variables, the post hoc results are the same than F test results. Post hoc comparisons (Sidak adjustments) shown when statistically significant within groups at p value level ≤ .05. See Appendix B for further analysis. Table 2. Readiness to Change Jobs in the Same or a Different Occupational Field in 1984-2013. Would change jobs for the same pay to: The same/a different field The same field A different field Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Grand mean .583 (.011) (= estimated 58%) .223 (.009) (= estimated 22%) .360 (.009) (= estimated 36%) Age 15-29 years .610 (.012) 28.705(1)*** ns .388 (.010) 31.395(1)*** 30-64 years .554 (.012) .336 (.010) Time point 1984 .587 (.013) 10.627(5)*** .239 (.011) 6.724(5)*** .349 (011) 6.051(5)*** 1990 .636 (.014) .241 (.011) .395 (.012) 1997 .586 (.014) .239 (.012) .348 (.013) 2003 .537 (.014) .196 (.012) .340 (.012) 2008 .572 (.014) .209 (.012) .363 (.012) 2013 .575 (.014) .199 (.012) .376 (.013) Post hoc 1990 > 1997, 2008, 2013 > 2003 1984, 2003, 2013 < 1990, 1997 2003 < 1984, 2008 < 1990, 2013 1984 < 1990 1997 < 1990, 2013 Interaction term Age × Year ns ns 2.243(5)* b b Interaction term Age × Education 16.370(2)*** ns 17.750(2)*** b b Interaction term Age × Gender 11.573(1)*** ns 4.170(1)* Education Basic .565 (.012) 3.561(2)* .186 (.010) 20.183(2)*** .379 (.011) 9.481(2)*** Secondary .592 (.011) .219 (.009) .373 (.010) Higher .590 (.014) .257 (.012) .333 (.012) Post hoc Basic < Secondary < High Basic < Secondary < High Basic < Secondary < High Gender Woman .600 (.011) 19.126(1)*** .196 (.010) 54.527(1)*** ns Man .564 (.012) .245 (.009) Spouse Yes .567 (.011) 15.408(1)*** ns .345 (.010) 23.560(1)*** No .597 (.012) .378 (.010) (continued) Pyöriä et al. 7 Table 2. (continued) Would change jobs for the same pay to: The same/a different field The same field A different field Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Mean 0-1 (SE) F(df) Sig. Children Yes .607 (.012) 52.000(1)*** ns .385 (.010) 56.557(1)*** No .557 (.011) .339 (.009) Employed during studies Yes ns ns ns No Years employed 0-2 years ns ns ns 3– years Type of employment Temporary .564 (.012) 11.990(1)*** .246 (.010) 36.331(1)*** .318 (.011) 91.312(1)*** Permanent .600 (.011) .195 (.009) .406 (.010) Threats 1-3 threats .646 (.012) 269.650(1)*** .252 (.010) 96.271(1)*** .394 (.010) 90.080(1)*** No threats .518 (.011) .189 (.009) .329 (.010) Has been unemployed Yes ns ns ns No Employability Poor .573 (.012) 6.470(1)* .184 (.010) 141.521(1)*** .389 (.011) 67.429(1)*** Good .592 (.010) .257 (.009) .335 (.009) Job content Monotonous .679 (.012) 532.785(1)*** .205 (.010) 18.908(1)*** .474 (.011) 916.061(1)*** Varied .485 (.011) .236 (.009) .250 (.009) Wage level Lowest tertile .548 (.011) 21.397(2)*** .199 (.009) 13.407(2)*** .349 (.010) 4.147(2)* Middle tertile .594 (.012) .225 (.010) .370 (.010) Highest tertile .604 (.013) .238 (.010) .366 (.011) Post hoc Low < High Low < Middle < High Low < Middle < High .047 .027 .059 Adjusted R Model F(df) Sig. 44.136(28)*** 25.317(28)*** 55.941(28)*** N 24.353 24.353 24.353 Note. Linear probability model with ANOVA mean estimates. For dummy variables, the post hoc results are the same than F test results. Post hoc comparisons (Sidak adjustments) shown when statistically significant within groups at p value level ≤ .05. See Appendix B for further analysis. but throughout Europe and rest of the world there is growing settle into a career path that matches their skills and qualifi- cations (Kivinen & Nurmi, 2014). concern about youth unemployment, the length of time that young people spend studying, and young people’s attitudes to Our results show there are no grounds for concern over work (Eurofound, 2013; France, 2016; Helve & Evans, 2013; young people’s work orientation: It is not growing weaker. Ng, Lyons, & Schweitzer, 2017). During the periods under study, the appreciation of gainful In reality, young people in Finland, including students, employment has remained constant even among young people, although they have consistently attached slightly less value to are an important part of the labour force, and they have work than older people. Over half of the age group 15 to 29 important skills and the right kind of attitude. One distinc- valued work as a very important area of life at every time point tive feature of the Finnish education system is that many in our data set, except for 1990, which saw a temporary dip in students gain valuable work experience while they are still the value attached to gainful employment (Figure 1). studying. Even though young people in Finland complete In 1990, the economy was still benefiting from strong their education (and higher education in particular) at a later age than young people in Europe on average, they quickly cyclical trends and a climate of optimism, but in 1991 to 8 SAGE Open 1993 the economy collapsed and the country drifted into 0.8 mass unemployment. It seems that the general trend in the appreciation of gainful employment closely follows the 0.7 cyclical movements of the economy. When the times are good, the value attached to employment falls, and vice 0.6 versa. This is confirmed by the model presented in Table 1. The post hoc test shows that both time points that rep- 0.5 resent the zenith of economic upturn—1990 and 2008— have statistically significantly lowered levels of value given to gainful employment in comparison to all other 0.4 time points. When interpreting the results, it is important to observe 0.3 that young people aged 15 to 29 and older age groups differ statistically significantly in their appreciation of gainful 0.2 employment only in 1984 and 1990, but not in later years BasicSecondary Higher (Figure 1). In the model presented in Table 1, no direct effect 30+ yrs. 15–29 yrs. of age was found. The generational difference that was vis- ible in Figure 1 is confirmed only for 1990, when interac- Figure 2. Estimated share of employees valuing gainful employment tions are examined between age group and time point as “very important” (scale 0 = less, 1 = very important). (Appendix B). In other words, it can be said that in the Note. Illustration of the post hoc test finding on Age × Education (Table 1; 1980s, the Welfare State Generation attached somewhat less Appendix B). value to employment than older age groups, but in the case of Generations X and Y, the difference is not statistically significant. The evidence, therefore, does not support the 0.8 suggestions that young people’s work orientation is growing weaker. 0.7 It is somewhat surprising that a higher education does not predict a high appreciation of work, but on the contrary the 0.6 association tends to weaken (Table 1). Those with a basic edu- cation attach more value to gainful employment than those 0.5 with a higher education (see also Stam, Verbakel, & De Graaf, 2013). This ties in with the rising overall level of education. In 0.4 the 2013 data set, 46% of the respondents had a tertiary degree, compared with just 13% in 1984. In Finland, educational 0.3 achievement is no longer as significant a factor as it used to be. Although education continues to provide protection against labour market risks (Koerselman & Uusitalo, 2014; Pyöriä & 0.2 ManWoman Ojala, 2016), unemployment has increased among the higher 30+ yrs. 15–29 yrs. educated, too, which probably explains our result. The interaction between age and education is significant in the model shown in Table 1. The more detailed analysis in Figure 3. Estimated share of employees valuing gainful employment as “very important” (scale 0 = less, 1 = very important). Appendix B reveals an interesting feature about the differentia- Note. Illustration of the post hoc test finding on Gender × Education tion of young people’s work orientation by educational level. (Table 1; Appendix B). That is, young people aged 15 to 29 with a basic education value employment less than older age groups with the same level of education. Among young people with a tertiary degree, the situ- women: Older female employees respect work less than their ation is the exact opposite. They value gainful employment more younger colleagues. At the same time, between young men and than older people with a tertiary degree (Figure 2). We assume women, the gender difference does not exist (Figure 3). that an effort given to studying for a higher degree at a young age Table 1 also shows that there is a statistically highly sig- is reflected in this finding: Higher educated labour market new- nificant difference between a high level of earnings and a comers are keen to start their careers. high appreciation of employment: The higher the wages, the According to Table 1, men value work more than women do. more people value their work. Simultaneous employment Here, however, we find an interesting interaction effect con- and studying and a short experience of gainful employment cerning age. Whereas younger men value employment less than (less than 2 years), on the other hand, reduce the value older male employees, the quite opposite holds for younger attached to employment. People not living in a partnership Pyöriä et al. 9 value work more, but it makes no difference whether or not enjoy a good family life as well (Hakanen, Peeters, & the respondent has children. Perhoniemi, 2011; Ylikännö, 2010). All in all, the appreciation of wage employment has remained quite stable over the past three decades. At the same time, both Work Orientation in Relation to Family and family and especially leisure have gained significantly in impor- Leisure tance. Family and leisure are most important of all to young people, but this has not undermined the value attached to gainful Next, we move on to examine the appreciation of employment employment. This can be interpreted by suggesting that young in relation to the importance attached to family and leisure. people are keen to have both diversity and balance in their lives. Although we are primarily interested in attitudes to work, the inclusion of family and leisure in the same model allows us to analyze areas of life that complement work orientation. This Readiness to Change Jobs choice is in line with Goldthorpe’s theory. Goldthorpe et al. Next, we move on to the question of work commitment from (1968) understood that the development of work orientation is the point of view of readiness to change jobs, assuming that associated with the individual’s social and cultural background the respondent would be able to change jobs for the same pay. and with the values adopted in that context. According to Table 2, young people are keener to change jobs The most significant generational difference stems from the than older age groups, namely, to different occupational emphasis placed by young people on family and leisure, even fields, even when studying and limited work experience (less though the most significant background factor of having a fam- than 2 years) are adjusted for. This result reflects young peo- ily is taken into account. It is worth noting, however, that from ple’s life situation. Youth has always been a stage of life char- 1984 to 2013, the value attached to family and to leisure has acterized by transition and search for direction (Helve & increased among all wage earners (the post hoc results pre- Evans, 2013). Young people need to find their place in the sented in Table 1 point to almost linear increase up to 2003 labour market, weigh educational options, and try out their concerning family, and up to 2008 concerning leisure). A mod- wings in different occupations. est interaction effect between age and time point shows that in It is useful to look at the interactions more closely to find recent years (2003, 2008, and 2013, see Appendix B) young out what they reveal about the readiness to change jobs. people attach more value to family in comparison to older gen- First, there are statistically significant interactions for age erations. The interaction term on gender shows that young and educational level that focus on aims at changing jobs to women in particular value their family highly (age difference is a different occupational field (Table 2; Appendix B). Young not found among men, however, see Appendix B). people aged 15 to 29 with a basic and secondary education The results described above reflect a more general change are more likely to contemplate changing jobs than older age in values that probably have to do with increasing overall groups. Among the tertiary educated, there is no correspond- wealth and affluence. We have witnessed a growing trend ing statistically significant age group difference. toward post-materialistic values in affluent economies Second, there is a gender and age differentiation on overall (Inglehart, 1997, 2008). This is confirmed by the observation aims at changing jobs, and on aims at changing to a different that people with a higher education and with the highest field. The interaction effect points to young women who are incomes tend to attach more value to leisure (see post hoc more prepared to change jobs as compared to women aged 30 results for education and wage level, Table 1). In Goldthorpe or more (Appendix B). Among men, the age gap is lower. et al.’s (1968) terms, work no longer has the same instrumen- Third, there is a minor interaction effect that differentiates tal value that it did before, at least for people who have the between age and time point among young employees most resources to invest in their leisure. (Appendix B). It seems that representatives of the Welfare State Unfortunately, we were unable to incorporate in our Generation and Generation X, at ages 15 to 29, were more will- model an indicator describing job satisfaction, because the ing than older wage earners to change jobs to a different occu- data set is not fully comparable in this respect (in 1990 job pational field. Surprisingly, we found no confirmation for our satisfaction was inquired in a slightly different way than in assumptions that Generation Y is willing to change jobs, even other years). We can, however, observe on the basis of our though young people today are showing greater individuality data and earlier research that job satisfaction does matter to than before in their transitions from education to the labour wage earners of all ages (see also Kowske et al., 2010; market, and even though they are better placed than before to Westerman & Yamamura, 2007). If people are not satisfied make independent choices and even to get employers to com- with their job, then both their work orientation and the value pete for their services to secure a better contract and to pledge they attach to the family will decline. The most crucial factor their commitment. On the contrary, the results seem to indicate is how work and family are reconciled. Even though it is dif- that the Millennials are highly committed to the workplace, ficult to establish a potential causative link, low job satisfac- once they have found their own field. tion and a pessimistic future outlook probably reflect Concerning other measures that are adjusted for, readiness adversely on the individual’s family life. If, on the other to change jobs is most strongly predicted by the nature of the hand, people are doing well at work, they are more likely to job, that is, job monotony and threats to employment security 10 SAGE Open (Table 2). A temporary contract adds to people’s readiness to The Millennials share in common a high level of compe- change jobs within the same occupational field, but reduces tence in ICT and social media use, but this is an experience intentions to move to another occupational field. One possible that cuts across age group boundaries. Finland is a highly explanation could lie in this distinctive feature of the Finnish advanced information society and all working age people use labour market: Temporary contracts are most common among ICTs more or less regularly. New social movements have highly educated public sector employees. Professionals, nurses, also been quite fragmented. Even the most recent financial social workers, and teachers, for instance, must all have a crisis has not prompted major demonstrations as it has in higher degree to work in Finland. For them, moving to another Spain, Italy, Greece, and other European crisis countries, occupational field is not a realistic option, but they will first and where youth unemployment has soared to more than 50%. foremost want to find a permanent job within their own field. When we consider all of this against our key research finding This is supported by the observation in Table 2 which shows that neither the value attached to work nor workplace commit- that people with a tertiary degree are particularly keen to find ment has weakened and that age has no significant bearing on another job within their own field. This result points at profes- either of these factors, there is good reason to ask whether a sional closures within the academic labour market. wage-earning generation of Millennials even exists (see also All in all, the results indicate that neither young nor old Zabel, Biermeier-Hanson, Baltes, Early, & Shepard, 2016). An people are a homogeneous group. Work commitment varies increasing appreciation of leisure, home and family life hardly by work content and educational level both among younger suffices as a key experience for a generation, either. We main- and older wage earners. tain that this result is not indicative of conflicts between work, family and leisure, but rather that they are mutually supportive. Young people who embarked on their careers in the strong Conclusion and Discussion labour market of the early 2000s have had more resources for In this article, we have discussed the work orientation, apprecia- self-realization than older generations did. It is no longer tion of family and leisure, and the workplace commitment of necessary for them to orient to work as a value in itself. young people in Finland over the past three decades. The life- Instead, they may consider it more important to identify with world of the Welfare State Generation who lived their youth in the work community, that is, in Goldthorpe et al.’s (1968) the 1980s was structured by a rising educational level, the growth terms to adopt a solidarity orientation. of white-collar employment and a general climate of optimism. Finland is a relatively affluent European country. Household During the economic upturn of the 1980s, people transitioned net assets have increased rapidly since the childhood of the quickly from graduation to a stable labour market position. baby boom generation. Even though young people’s assets Born in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Generation X have grown less than those of older people, mainly by virtue of entered the labour market in a very different situation com- the assets tied to housing property, the younger generations are pared with both those who were born one decade earlier and wealthier than their predecessors. It is clear that this has left its those who came a decade later. Generation X grew up into mark on the values and attitudes of young people. The appre- adulthood in the shadow of the 1990s great recession. Their ciation of leisure and family has increased because people are key experiences were mass unemployment and the growth of in the position to invest more in them. social inequalities (Kalela et al., 2001). The Millennials who International comparisons have found similar genera- transitioned into adulthood in the 2000s entered a labour mar- tional differences as those we have described here. These dif- ket where normalcy had been restored, but again this genera- ferences are not tied to a certain age group, but comparisons tion experienced increasing uncertainty as a result of the over time suggest that changing values do not swing back as financial crisis that started to unfold in late 2008 (Pyöriä & young people get older (Inglehart, 2008). Insofar as young Ojala, 2016). Despite the financial crisis, the Finnish labour people today attach more value to leisure and family than market has continued to perform quite well, and there has they do to gainful employment, it is unlikely that this will been no new wave of mass unemployment: In the age group change with advancing age. 15 to 29, too, unemployment has remained below the EU It is an interesting question for further research how the average (Eurofound, 2013). recent financial crisis and the uncertainty it is causing will During the period under review, the mobilization of young affect future attitudes to gainful employment. We suspect people in Finland, in Mannheim’s sense, has remained very that the value attached to work will at least not weaken in the limited. The Welfare State Generation has had no reason to immediate future. On the contrary, fears of unemployment mobilize. Generation X, who grew up in the shadow of the may well add to the appreciation of work as young people 1990s recession, would have had good reason to become have more to lose financially than earlier generations. radicalized, but these young people did not go to the barri- All in all, young people today have good working con- cades. The great recession certainly left its mark on them, but ditions and their attitudes to work are conservative rather it did not diminish their commitment to wage employment. than radical, despite the problems they are facing in the In the case of Generation Y, too, there has been little more labour market both in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. In than marginal mobilization, and for this generation it is even Finland, youth unemployment in the wake of the 1990s difficult to identify a shared key experience. recession remained at a higher level than previously, and Pyöriä et al. 11 short-term contracts increased more rapidly among young our society, according to which the common denominator in people than in the population on average (Helve, 2013; the continuum of generations is reciprocity, does not seem to Ranta, 2013). be in jeopardy. Although the majority young Finns are content with their future prospects, there are signs of new social divisions that Appendix A stem from unemployment and social exclusion. In this Items Adopted From the Finnish Quality of Work respect, there is an important pattern of gender differentiation that calls for a more detailed investigation not only in Finland Life Surveys by Statistics Finland (1984, 1990, but also in other European countries. An increasing number 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2013) of young men are left without a job, training or education 1. Value attached to work, family, and leisure time: (OECD, 2016b, pp. 358-359), reflecting the plight caused by the financial crisis and politics of austerity. Nonetheless, it A1. To begin with, I shall list some core aspects of life which seems that Finland (as well as the other Nordic countries) has are of varying importance to different people. How important been quite successful in preventing the marginalization of are these aspects of life to you personally: Is gainful employ- young people from the labour market (Eurofound, 2013). The ment very important, quite important or not very important to Nordic labour market model has shown that it performs well even under conditions of economic crisis. you? What about home and family life? And leisure interests? The work orientation of the generations studied here shows more signs of permanence and continuity than they do 2. Readiness to change jobs: of difference and conflict. Our results do not support the claim, widespread in popular media, that the Millennials and F12. If you could change jobs for the same pay, would you their distinctive characteristics will be forcing work organi- change to: The same occupational field; A different occupa- zations into radical changes. The “generational contract” of tional field; Or would you not change at all? Appendix B Pairwise Comparison Test Results for the Statistically Significant Interactions (as Presented in Tables 1 and 2) Between Respondents Aged 15-29 and 30-64. Mean difference (SE): 15-29 years to 30-64 years F(df) Sig. Values Gainful employment very important: Age × Education Basic −.046 (.019) 6.087(1)* Secondary −.013 (.011) 1.283(1)ns Higher .058 (.022) 6.679(1)** Gainful employment very important: Age × Year 1984 −.033 (.018) 3.274(1)ns (change over time) 1990 −.059 (.021) 8.158(1)** 1997 .028 (.024) 1.299(1)ns 2003 .021 (.021) 1.047(1)ns 2008 .021 (.020) 1.054(1)ns 2013 .019 (.021) .879(1)ns Gainful employment very important: Age × Gender Men −.030 (.014) 4.360(1)* Women .029 (.013) 4.663(1)* Family very important: Age × Gender Men .013 (.009) 2.445(1)ns Women .059 (.009) 39.764(1)*** Family very important: Age × Year (change over time) 1984 .034 (.012) 8.277(1)** 1990 .015 (.014) 1.173(1)ns 1997 .013 (.016) .648(1)ns 2003 .059 (.014) 17.504(1)*** 2008 .064 (.014) 21.724(1)*** 2013 .032 (.014) 5.334(1)* Readiness to change jobs In the same/to a different occupational field: Age × Basic .133 (.019) 50.560(1)*** Education Secondary .048 (.011) 17.244(1)*** Higher −.012 (.019) 0.443(1)ns In the same/to a different occupational field: Age × Men .030 (.013) 5.068(1)* Gender Women .082 (.013) 41.140(1)*** (continued) 12 SAGE Open Appendix B (continued) Mean difference (SE): 15-29 years to 30-64 years F(df) Sig. To a different occupational field: Age × Education Basic .123 (.016) 56.231(1)*** Secondary .035 (.010) 11.622(1)*** Higher .003 (.017) .033 (1) ns To a different occupational field: Age × Year (change 1984 .068 (.015) 20.005(1)*** over time) 1990 .033 (.018) 3.418(1)ns 1997 .073 (.021) 12.244(1)*** 2003 .082 (.018) 20.098(1)*** 2008 .030 (.018) 2.925(1)ns 2013 .024 (.018) 1.695(1)ns To a different occupational field: Age × Gender Men .038 (.012) 10.530(1)*** Women .066 (.011) 33.567(1)*** Note. Adjustment: Sidak. Negative mean value difference reflects lower mean value for respondents aged 15-29. Appendix C Correlation Matrix. Spearman’s rho 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1. Age 1 2. Education −.086** 1 3. Time point −.116** .341** 1 4. Gender −.026** .075** .033** 1 5. Spouse −.243** .074** .017** −.018** 1 6. Children −.239** .103** −.019** −.001 .354** 1 7. Employed during studies .250** −.024** −.085** .042** −.115** −.083** 1 8. Employed 0-2 years .434** −.119** −.060** .008 −.234** −.174** .248** 1 9. Temporary contract .232** .012 .002 .093** −.112** −.070** .149** .270** 1 10. Threats .005 .018** .116** −.015* −.013* −.001 −.029** .020** .250** 1 11. Has been unemployed .189** −.050** .013* −.027** −.080** −.038** −.01 .102** .309** .277** 1 12. Poor employability −.219** −.137** −.029** .100** .034** −.119** −.094** −.083** −.077** .049** −.037** 1 13. Monotonous work .110** −.153** −.027** .001 −.073** −.039** .057** .098** .011 .063** .077** .067** 1 14. Wage level −.246** .311** −.013* −.296** .138** .124** −.084** −.214** −.201** −.073** −.212** −.072** −.164** 1 15. Work values −.043** −.035** −.011 −.063** −.013* .008 −.058** −.058** −.040** .01 .007 .012 −.023** .060** 1 16. Family values −.083** .088** .143** .131** .303** .221** −.046** −.068** −.017** .012 −.028** −.006 −.035** .008 .109** 1 17. Leisure time values .078** .075** .164** −.044** −.086** −.140** .041** .047** .025** −.001 −.006 −.032** −.001 .016* .059** .073** 1 18. Readiness to change jobs .051** .042** .008 .005 −.021** .040** .028** .024** .016** .110** .039** −.034** .147** .022** −.058** −.023** .009 1 19. . . . in the same field .021** .092** −.004 .041** .002 .023** .025** .004 .067** .063** .019** −.091** −.044** .045** −.013* −.003 −.015* .539** 1 20. . . . to a different field .038** −.037** .012 −.032** −.026** .024** .009 .023** −.043** .066** .027** .045** .206** −.016* −.053** −.023** .024** .637** −.306** *Correlation is significant at the .05 level, two-tailed. **Correlation is significant at the .01 level, two-tailed. Declaration of Conflicting Interests Alkula, T. (1990). Work orientations in Finland: A concep- tual critique and empirical study of work-related expecta- The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect tions (Commentationes scientiarum socialium 42). 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Career Development International, Pasi Pyöriä is a senior lecturer (sociology) at the Faculty of Social 12, 504-522. Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. His research interests Turunen, T. (2011). Work orientations in flux? Comparing trends include employment precariousness, flexible work arrangements, in and determinants of subjective work goals in five European and work careers. countries. European Societies, 13, 641-662. Twenge, J. M. (2010). A review of the empirical evidence on gen- Satu Ojala is a postdoctoral researcher (social policy) at the Faculty of erational differences in work attitudes. Journal of Business Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. Her research interests Psychology, 25, 201-210. include job quality, flexible work arrangements, and time use research. Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, S. M. (2012). Who are the Millennials? Tiina Saari is a postdoctoral researcher (sociology) at the Faculty Empirical evidence for generational differences in work values, of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. Her research attitudes and personality. In E. S. Ng, S. T. Lyons, & L. Schweitzer interests include knowledge work, work commitment, and psycho- (Eds.), Managing the new workforce: International perspec- logical contracts. tives on the Millennial generation (pp. 1-19). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. Katri-Maria Järvinen is a university instructor (social policy) at the Twenge, J. M., Campbell, S. M., Hoffman, B. J., & Lance, C. E. Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland. Her (2010). Generational differences in work values: Leisure and research interests include temporary and atypical work arrangements.

Journal

SAGE OpenSAGE

Published: Mar 16, 2017

Keywords: Generation Y; Millennials; work attitudes; work commitment; work orientation; work values

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