Thirtysomethings on work: Most say enjoyment on the job trumps fat paycheck

_Clark_Poll3New Clark University Poll finds established adults struggling yet hopeful

This Labor Day may find many thirtysomethings working hard, often at less-than-ideal jobs. But, according to a new poll, most are toiling in pursuit of their dreams not dollars. In fact, most 25- to 39-year olds (78 percent) say it is more important to enjoy work than to make a lot of money.

Clark University, the nation’s leading institution tracking the development of Emerging Adults (18-29 year olds), has just released its first poll of Established Adults (25-39 year olds), which shows a generation whose lives are deeply connected to children, parents, friends and co-workers.

The Clark University Poll of Established Adults also found that, of the 1,000 established adults surveyed nationwide, 82 percent say it is important to them to have a job that does some good in the world.

Clark_Poll3_Graphics2“The reality of the workplace for these established adults is often frustrating, so far, but their aspirations are still high,” said Clark University Research Professor of Psychology and Poll Director Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Ph.D., who coined the term “emerging adulthood”— the phase of the life between adolescence and full-fledged adulthood. “We know from our first poll of emerging adults in 2012 that they have exceptionally high expectations for work. How do those high hopes work out between ages 25 to 39? Not great, but for them the story’s not yet over.”

Other findings regarding 25- to 39-year-olds’ views on jobs and education include:

  • 73 percent believe their current job “does some good in the world”
  • 62 percent say their current job “makes the most of my talents and abilities”
  • 65 percent are working full-time
  • 48 percent have been in their current job five years or longer
  • Only one in four have had more than four jobs in the last 10 years

The Clark University Poll of Established Adults employed a mixed-mode methodology, with a margin of error of +/- 3.06 percent. The poll findings are remarkably consistent across social class background (as assessed by mother’s education), educational attainment, gender, and ethnic group, Arnett added.

For more information, please visit www.clarku.edu/clarkpoll.

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Mass., Clark University (www.clarku.edu) is a liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale.