Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr Noel Murray


Generation Y will be expected to play the most significant role in the work place as their careers develop and older generations retire. Much of the research carried out on their work related values and career progression to date has relied on the viewpoints of Generation Y as undergraduates, prior to gaining substantial experience in the work place. This study responds to Ng and Gossett’s (2013) call for further research into the values, attitudes and expectations of young people as they will emerge as leaders of tomorrow. The purpose of the study is to examine if the traditional career model is still of relevance to Generation Y career progression, focusing on three particular aspects of careers. The study sought to identify what elements of career success Generation Y value, to determine if their career outlook is focused on short-term or long-term career goals and finally to investigate if Generation Y show characteristics of modem career models. A qualitative approach was taken in the fonn of nine semi-structured interviews of Generation Y employees in a case study organisation. The results of the study identified that elements of the traditional career model are still of value to Generation Y in their career progression, most notably recognition through pay rise or pay bonus. The study confinned that subjective career success in the short- teiTn is most important to Generation Y, however interestingly is only to form the basis of their desire for continual success. In line with the traditional career model, long-term career success is their ultimate goal. Their career progression is thoughtful and planned, and Generation Y are willing to be patient for the right career progression opportunities. Subjective factors were most prominent when considering new career opportunities. The study provided evidence of the new career models of which Generation Y displayed characteristics of, specifically the boundaryless and protean career models. Generation Y are willing to consider their career progression in more than one organisation. The type of role they undertake and subjective career success is more important than loyalty to their employer. Generation Y feel in control of the direction of their career and are proactive in building their career reputation, however there remains a strong reliance on the organisation to provide the individual with career support and development opportunities. It is at this point violation of the psychological contract is at risk, as unwritten expectations of support for career progression are not being met.


Summitted for the Award of Master of Arts in Human Resource Management, 2015.

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