9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN30 Youth and Generation

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Generational Values Building II, Auditório B2.03

Young University graduates: between materialist and post-materialist values

The work plays a central role in peoples' lives. Work values reveal the importance and the individual convictions about what happens in the working life. They influence the attitudes towards work and the meanings of the work. Researchers as George and Jones (1999) and Vala (2000) conceptualised the work values according to two types: intrinsic and extrinsic values. The first ones correspond to the rewards each one obtains from his/her professional activity (respect, self fulfilment, initiative, autonomy?) and the work is conceived as an end by itself. The second ones are related with the working rewards and conditions (wage, stability, working hours, career opportunities?).
According to Inglehart (1990, 2000) the cultural changes in the advanced industrial societies had an impact on the people?s values, behaviours, attitudes and opinions, which replaced the materialists references by the post-materialists ones. In what concerns work these changes can produce the weakness of the work ethic and the reinforcement of attitudes and behaviours towards leisure. Another consequence of theses changes can be the decrease of the centrality of work in individuals? lives. The concept of centrality of work is defined by Paullay et al. (1994) as the believes about the importance of work on each one life when compared with others life domains such as: family, friends, leisure, politics and religion.
In this paper we analyse the work satisfaction by reference to the intrinsic and extrinsic values, the attitudes about work and the centrality of work of the university graduates.
From a methodological point of view we use a questionnaire applied to all graduates of the University of Lisbon between 1999 and 2003. The results show that this particular group of young people is less satisfied with the extrinsic dimension of work than with the intrinsic one. They also show that if only a small minority admits the possibility of working less and receiving less the majority reveals a divided attitude about work: they work a lot but they don?t let the work to interfere in their family life. At least, for this group more important than the work are the family and the friends.