Are We Becoming Less Ambitious?

The pandemic, along with the trend for wellbeing and mental health, have been the catalyst for many workers to reassess their lives, including their careers. The Great Resignation has seen a greater number of employees quitting their jobs to pursue careers that are more fulfilling. Having a job solely for it’s high wage isn’t as attractive as it once was for a growing number of employees. So, let’s answer the question “Are we becoming less ambitious?”

What does the research say about our changing ambitions

What does the research say about our changing ambitions?

A recent survey, by Atlassian and PwC, found that more than half of employees said that they would consider changing jobs to access remote-work opportunities. In addition, over 60% said that they would forego a promotion if it meant safeguarding their mental health. A similar number of workers want their employers to take action on social and environmental issues.

The researchers explained “Career goals have taken a back seat as employees wrestle with the need to balance work with family life, mental health and wellness. The pressures of high-powered roles and the exhaustion that comes from being ‘always on’ just don’t seem worth it anymore.”


The long-term impact of a change in ambition

Due to such a large proportion of workers changing their ambitions, especially younger workers, it’s become acceptable to want more out of a job than money and status but what are the long-term implications of this?

Anat Lechner, a Clinical Associate Professor of Management and organisations at NYU Stern School of Business, encourages workers to not only think about their short-term wellbeing but also the long-term consequences of their career decisions; “It’s important to appreciate that most people can’t afford to take a step back like that because they have to worry about putting food on the table and paying the bills. Particularly these younger workers must understand that they’re going to have to live with the longer-term consequences of the choices they make today when it comes to working hard and earning money.”

Are we becoming less ambitious

There’s a risk that a worker is so focused on their short-term wellbeing that they fail to plan their careers in order to earn enough to support themselves in their retirement, or for stages in their life when they won’t be earning as much, such as starting a family or illness.

Research by Royal London found that 40% of 18 to 34-year-olds decreased their pension contributions during the pandemic or stopped making contributions entirely. Is this a wise move as life expectancies are rising and Government pensions are reducing?

Many workers, particularly young employees, will need to take into consideration that a balance needs to be made between short-term goals for their wellbeing and long-term life goals.


What actions can companies take to attract and retain today’s top talent?

  1. Find out what makes your employees tick through surveys. Then act on what you find.
  2. Consider policies that reduce workplace stress and support mental health.
  3. Find social and environmental causes that your company can support, then communicate the results to your employees and the wider community.
  4. Offer flexible working models, where you can, to give employees the option to choose what works with their work life balance.


If you’d like support to find the top talent in today’s market for your organisation, contact us for intelligence and integrity in recruitment.

Now you know the answer to “Are we becoming less ambitious?”, what steps are you going to take?