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Young people favour career advancement over job security

Younger employees in the UK are more ambitious than their older counterparts, according to a YouGov survey.

The YouGov European Omnibus poll looked at the motivation of 7,000 workers from 11 major European countries, including the UK. Overall job security is the most important factor for employees' satisfaction – 74% indicated this is more important than career trajectory. Only 26% said they valued career opportunities over this. 

However, among 18- to 24-year-olds, 51% favoured the advancement of their career ahead of security. Only 10% of workers over 55 valued job opportunities ahead of security. 

UK employees are evenly split over whether job satisfaction or salary is more important in assessing their current roles and future career options. 

This puts the UK among the lower end of the western European nations for workers valuing salary over satisfaction, compared to France (60%), Spain (55%) and Italy (57%). The Scandinavian countries are more inclined to value job satisfaction, with Denmark (73%) and Sweden (70%) scoring the highest in Europe. 

David Eastbury, associate director of international research at YouGov International Omnibus, said employers should use the results to assess what really motivates their workforces. 

"They need to avoid having employees who feel unhappy yet trapped in their career due to economic circumstances, with no prospect of professional advancement or a wage rise to compensate for long working hours’’ he said.