Young people in the workforce are pioneering meaningful career aspirations by prioritizing their own beliefs over traditional ideals of success and even politics.

Irina Karamanos, partner of Chilean President Gabriel Boric and Chile’s First Lady, formerly rejected the figure-head title in October. A millennial anthropologist and political organizer, Karamanos is prioritizing her own career over a position in the spotlight. After reluctantly accepting her role as First Lady when President Boric was sworn in last December, Karamanos has steadily reallocated traditional responsibilities to the ministries and organizations who could better lead the national foundations normally monitored by the First Lady. She has expressed her belief that she shouldn’t be obligated to leave her own career just because her partner did. In a board meeting to discuss detaching the First Lady from one of the foundations, Karamanos stated that the “partner of the president is chosen to be a partner…not to be a president of foundations.”

Employees from gen Z are placing a particular emphasis on belonging in the workforce. Personal values and career growth are top of mind for young recruits. According to Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s Gen Z: Building a better normal report, 74% refuse to work for a company that goes against their values, and 82% say it’s important that their job contributes to the greater good. Money isn’t always a priority for gen Z, either: 70% stated they would rather do something meaningful than make a lot of money. LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index research indicated that 80% of gen Z employees were planning to leave or had already left a job for an opening that better aligned with their own interests or values between December 2021 and January 2022, and 61% planned to leave or had already left in favor of a position with more opportunities to move up or an increase in responsibilities.

As gen Alpha approaches hiring age, their job prospects and career goals should be on company radars. According to a survey conducted by a children’s YouTube show called The Ellie Sparkles Show, this young generation is already focused on practicality, helping the greater good, and flexibility. 73% of those surveyed wanted the ability to choose whether they could someday work from home or from an office. 26.2% expressed interest in becoming a doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional, and 16.5% said they’d want to be teachers.

Millennials, gen Z, and gen Alpha all express an overlapping desire to prioritize their own interests with a company or organization that aligns with their values, and a central theme of helping towards the greater good runs through their career decisions as well. Emerging professionals are paving the way for a future of intentional career paths that are meaningful to the employee, who is looking to build a career on more than a monthly paycheck.

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