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High School Seniors Define Success: More Money, More Meaning

High School Seniors Define Success: More Money, More  Meaning
Credit: Nonwarit/Shutterstock

The next generation of workers has a different view on what it will take to be successful than today's workforce, new research finds

Compared with how today's employees define career success, high school seniors believe it's going to take more money and a stronger sense of accomplishment, along with being able to make an impact on people's lives, for them to be successful, according to a CareerBuilder study.

When it comes to money, high school students are nearly three times as likely as current workers to say they'll need to make at least $200,000 a year to feel successful. The research shows that 52 percent of the current workforce believes they are a success even if they earn less than $70,000 a year, compared with just 36 percent of high school students who feel the same.

The two generations differ in several other areas. The study revealed that nearly 80 percent of high school students associate success with a sense of accomplishment, compared with only 67 percent of current workers. Additionally, 78 percent of high schoolers believe that for them to be a success they need to make more of an impact on people's lives. Just 47 percent of today's workers have the same sentiment.

The generations do have some things in common. Both believe that to have a successful career you must have a positive work-life balance and be able to provide a comfortable life for themselves and their families. [Career Success Depends on Your Spouse's Personality, Too ]

While they are still a few years from entering the workforce, now is the time for employers to adjust their recruitment and retention strategies to try to guarantee the success of all workers and strengthen the bottom line, said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder.

 "While workplace expectations can vary widely among different generations, one thing they have in common is the want to be successful in their positions," Haefner said in a statement. "Introducing programs that promote learning and collaboration – such as mentoring – can help workers of all generations achieve that together."

The study discovered that today's workers and the next generation of employees don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on the ideal office environment. High school students are more likely than today's workers to think that employees should be promoted every two to three years if they are doing a good job and that it's fine to check their mobile devices for work purposes during a family activity.

What might come as a surprise to some people, is that high school students are less likely than current employees to think it's OK to check mobile devices during work meetings, to think it's acceptable to use emoticons in emails at work and to believe it shouldn’t matter what time you arrive to work as long as you get your work done.

The generations have similar stances on how many companies they expect to work for throughout their career, 10; and how they should dress for work, causally.

The study was based on surveys of 3,039 employees ages 18 and over and 210 high school seniors.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.