Are career motivations changing?

The German news magazine Der Spiegel published a series of articles [1, 2] around career developments. The stories suggest that career aspirations of young professionals today are somewhat different to those of previous generations in Germany.

Apparently money and people management responsibility are less desirable for new starters compared to being able to participate in interesting projects and to maintain a healthy work life balance. Hierarchies are seen as a mean to an end, and should be more flexible, depending on requirements and skills sets. Similar to how they evolve in online communities and projects.

I wonder if graduates in the developed world are just starting from a different level within the hierarchy of needs pyramid?

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) published an insightful video on the topic of motivation, arguing that money becomes less important if your work is more of a creative nature:

Many thanks to Michael Bach for pointing out this animation.

Understanding motivation is answering the ‘Why?’ question. And this question gets a different meaning the further you are up on the hierarchy of needs pyramid; or in other words, the more idle time you have.

Simon Sinek gave an inspiring TED talk on that topic. He is coming from the marketing angle. Why are people buying your product? Think about it, a job is a product of a company ‘bought’ with the limited life time of its employees. Make sure, you are spending your life time well!


For attribution, please cite this work as:

Markus Gesmann (Aug 28, 2012) Are career motivations changing?. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation:

@misc{ 2012-are-career-motivations-changing,
 author = { Markus Gesmann },
 title = { Are career motivations changing? },
 url = { },
 year = { 2012 }
 updated = { Aug 28, 2012 }