International Perspectives on the Millennial Generation
Edited by Eddy S. Ng, Sean Lyons and Linda Schweitzer
Chapter 12: Career success in the younger generation
There has recently been increasing attention given in the popular press to the attributes of the younger generation–known as Millennials (Strauss and Howe, 1991), Generation Y or Nexters (Zemke et al., 2000). The media has dictated this group as having distinct characteristics when it comes to work and their careers. As Lyons et al. (2007, p. 339) suggest “despite the popularity of this topic, there has been relatively little academic work either to confirm or refute popular generational stereotypes.” The recent literature on careers has suggested a significant shift in the nature of careers from traditional, linear careers within few organizations to “boundaryless” and self- directed careers (Arthur and Rousseau, 1996; Briscoe and Hall, 2006a, 2006b). These changes might mean that the concept of career success and the factors that have an impact on the achievement of that success have also changed (Dries et al., 2008). This chapter addresses the need for research about the Millennial generation, which has entered the workforce during this time of contemporary career structures. We investigate three main research questions: first, how do individuals from the younger generation conceptualize career success? Second, what are the factors influencing the conceptualization of career success? And third, how do the findings of the previous two questions differ across countries? We shall do this by first examining the literature on Millennials and on contemporary careers. We shall then establish the need for cross- cultural research in this area before presenting the results from our own study looking at career success within Millennials across a number of different countries. Finally, we draw conclusions as to how our results contribute to the literature on both Millennials and careers more generally.
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