Young people imagine their dream job as soon as they got to school. However, the reality is that in adulthood, instead of getting it, they experience disappointment. The question is whether it is better to accept the fact that we have to force ourselves into the drudgery, or rather to keep looking. Zoomers from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania speak out on the issue.
According to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, young Poles positively assess their chances on the labour market. For the first time in three years, the majority of young people (64.2%) believe that their chances on the labour market have improved compared to last year. The beginnings, however, can still be difficult. We asked young people born after 1995 for their opinions.
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Young Poles on the labour market situation
"Beginnings on the labour market are difficult. Young people are often disappointed because they end up with unpaid internships, have poor financial conditions, they feel disrespected, they get contracts with inadequate conditions, meet narrow-minded bosses or have to make meaningless tasks," enumerates Kuba, a young journalist.
Weronika also finds the beginnings the hardest. "It's like being trapped behind coloured glass. It's fun until you break free. Then you realise that only the glass was colourful, and employers are looking for a 25-year-old with 100 years of experience, but you should be grateful because you get free fruit and your own pen," Weronika muses.
According to the PwC report, however, the situation on the labour market has improved in recent years. This is reflected in the expectations towards employers. The median expected net salary in 2022 was PLN 4863. This is an increase of more than PLN 350 compared to 2021. More than half of young Poles (57%) declare that high salaries are one of the key aspects when they look for a job.
For 24.9% of those surveyed, professional success means having a job that they are passionate about. For 15.8%, it is a sense of meaningful work. In contrast, 65.5% of young people check the company values before applying. Almost half of the respondents (49.9%) check the company's social commitment and how it responds to current events. Among the values that young people identify with are:
- care for the environment,
- and diversity.
"Young people look at work from a completely different perspective. We want to have a satisfying job, but we also want flexibility and a decent salary. On the other hand, a job is just a job, not our whole life. We may like it, but it's ourselves that should come first," says Maja.
Bulgaria's young people prioritise "something of their own"
According to a survey conducted on Vbox7.com, most young people in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, prefer to do "something of their own". They do not like the idea of working for someone and adapting to their rules. The question, though, is it easy to start your own business in Bulgaria?
"My expectations were a bit higher than now, but it's still good," said one respondent who owns her own beauty salon.
Another representative of Generation Z, who does not work on a contract, commented that he did not really have any expectations. On the other hand, an archaeology student who dreams of working in this field lamented that many people do not predict such a future for her. However, the young girl hopes that things will change.
"I want to graduate, become a good doctor and open my own practice. I like to make people smile and I have decided that I can contribute to that," said the dental student.
A large number of young people in Bulgaria believe that they would be able to make a living from their own business. They are optimistic about the future and believe that if they work hard enough they will be able to fulfil their expectations.
Young Romanians want "tasks and challenges", but not at weekends
Generation Z wants a job, but not a mediocre one, not for an average salary and not just any job. According to the website StirilePROTV, which conducted a survey among young Romanians, above all they want "tasks and challenges", but not on weekends.
When they go for interviews, they ask for flexible schedules, additional benefits and a minimum salary of €1,400 per month. On the other hand, they are eager to learn new things and let their bosses know it.
"When it comes to an employer or manager, I always want them to focus on teaching us something new," says Iulia.
"For me, the most important thing is to receive feedback from my boss. That way I can tell if I'm making progress or not. I would really like to have tasks and challenges," adds Medeea.
Whether they like it or not, more than 4 million Romanians work at weekends. However, people from Generation Z do not want to hear about it. They value their free time a lot and are ready to give up their job easily if something doesn't suit them.
"For a start, 8 hours a day is fine, but not at weekends. I prefer to work during the week and the weekend should be dedicated to activities I enjoy doing," comments Constantin. "I have a family at home, a girlfriend I want to go out with," adds the young man.
What's more, for Romanians of Gen Z, just like for Poles, the atmosphere in the workplace is very important. "Co-workers should be really cool and work should be challenging, which means you shouldn't do repetitive tasks, always the same thing. You should always be learning new things," emphasises Ionut.
Leonard Rizoiu, a human resources specialist, commenting on the expectations of young Romanians, states: "Salary is very important. They want to be very independent, free, they want to live a life with city breaks, to go out and eat out... Already at interviews they tell us that if the job involves weekends or a workload that doesn't fit into regular working hours, they prefer not to do it."