New Creative Access research reveals the career expectations and ambitions of this year’s school and university leavers

Posted on May 23, 2022
Meet “Generation Post-Pandemic”: the first generation to enter the workplace post-pandemic is putting mental health and employer reputation before salary

Creative Access, a leading social enterprise specialising in diversity and inclusion, surveyed 800 of this year’s school-leavers, students and graduates to find out what the first generation to enter the workforce post-pandemic – so called “Generation Post-Pandemic” or “Gen P-P” – expect from their future careers in the creative industries.

The research reveals that this incoming generation are most influenced by an organisation’s values, commitment to employee wellbeing and inclusive culture, when looking for their first role, placing more importance on these factors than on salary.

The top five factors influencing where “Gen P-P” wants to work are:

  1. Employer’s reputation as a good place to work
  2. Training and support on offer
  3. Employer’s commitment to employee wellbeing
  4. Organisation’s values
  5. Offering a good salary

For 71% of Black, Asian and ethnically-diverse young people surveyed, though, diversity of the team ranked as the most important influence.

When looking for their first role, the research shows this generation place more importance on the role being challenging, interesting or inspiring (23%) than on the attached salary (19%). Meanwhile, an accessible, inclusive, achievable job description was most important to 16%.

The pandemic, the impact of Black Lives Matter and a rising awareness surrounding mental health have impacted what this generation of workers expect from their new employer in the first 6 months:

  1. 36% said they expect skills training
  2. 24% expect a mentor
  3. 17% expect the ability to work flexibly and from home
  4. 16% expect training around diversity and wellbeing

The future’s bright

Despite the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, the survey found that overall this generation is optimistic about their chances of finding a role – with over half (54%) expecting to find a job within a year of leaving education. Overall, “Gen P-P” is also optimistic about progressing quickly in their new careers with 82% expecting a promotion from their first-entry level within the first year to two years. However, this expectation for fast promotion drops to just over half (57%) for people from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Leading the way

Looking further ahead in their careers, 4 in 10 (39%) of those surveyed expect to be in a senior position after 10 years in the creative industries. However, surprisingly only 16% expect to be in an influential leadership position, 13% to be self-employed or working freelance, and only 12% expect to be running their own business. This hints at wider trends surrounding the death of the ‘dream job’ and an increasing prioritisation of mental health. “Gen P-P” seem to aspire to careers and employment which will put their mental health first and offer stability.

Josie Dobrin, CEO of Creative Access, says:  

“Despite everything that is happening in the world at the moment, it’s positive to see how optimistic the next generation is about their future careers in the creative industries. It is heartening to see the agency they have in expecting and not being afraid to ask for skills training, mentoring and career progression support from their employers. However, our findings clearly show that this optimism is not universal and is not shared at the same level by those from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds. To attract and retain diverse new talent coming into the industry, it’s critical that employers show tangible progress in diversity, equity and inclusion and commit to providing mental health and skills training.”