Young talent wants to live and work individually: Continental graduate Diversity surveys in Germany and Romania

Young people do not want quotas but a good Work-Life balance and an individual life design. Those are the key findings of Continental’s 10th representative ‘Continental Student Survey’, conducted in Germany with about 1,000 students.
In 2013, one focus area of Continental’s student survey was the topic of diversity, and more specifically the aspects of equal opportunities (for both genders), work-life balance (for all) and career perspectives. For several years, the survey has been looking into the fundamental question of ‘What do young people feel is important for their future career life?’. For most of the interviewed students (90%) enjoying their job was one key factors in this respect. Only slightly less people (86%) said that having a good balance between their professional and private lives would be essential for being satisfied with a job. “Since years, work/life integration has remained among the top 3 preferences of young talent”, comments Diversity expert Michael Stuber. And also Elke Strathmann, Chief Human Resource Manager at Continental, agrees “Bringing career success and private life in a healthy balance is always a sign of intelligent and flexible working.” And indeed, 57% of the students said they would back off their career goals for their family. On the other hand, 82% want to perform well at work, whereas only 21% were willing to work more than 40 hours per week, a result which is consistent with the desire for regulated working hours, which has doubled since 2004. And what about equal opportunities? Do students perceive any differences or preferences between the genders? The Continental survey found that two-thirds (65%) of the interviewees believe that women are disadvantaged in their career compared to men, while only 28% think that males and females were ‘equal’. And an even smaller number of students (26%) supports the idea of a quota for women in management.
For Romanian university graduates, the basic question is about their future prospects. While almost three quarters of students (74%) saw their career opportunities positively in 2005, only slightly more than half (55%) did so in 2011. The number of graduates with more pessimistic outlooks remained virtually unchanged at a low level.
The current edition is the latest piece of research of an annual series that started in 2004 with an initial focus on young people’s perspectives on working time, career and qualification. Already in 2005, the global automotive company added Romania as an additional source for their survey, where they conduct their study every two years. “Continental needs young top-notch talents,” explains Heinz-Gerhard Wente, member of the Executive Board of Continental, the need for the frequently conducted surveys. Therefore, the findings are particularly important for the tire manufacturer in order to be aware of what drives and attracts young, ambitioned students. Chief Human Resource Manger Strathmann knows “The challenge for the future lies in giving well-qualified young people enough room in the working environment to live their lives individually”.
Continental’s approach of interviewing potential future employees to later be able to meet their needs and preferences in terms of job expectations are therefore a great way to face the issue of labour shortage and pro-actively position the company as an employer of choice early on.