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Consumer Behavior: Academic & Career Aspirations of Millennials

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Millennials as a ‘Tricky’ Generation: Every generation has not just come into existence without a range of external causes that breeds a new set of generic personality and social traits into them so they may adapt to the ever changing global environment. Generational behavior is based on parenting, technology and economics of a geographic region across time periods. Meaning that characteristics of a particular generation from a country of a boosting economy and that from an under developed nation would be different at the same time. However since the 20th century, generational behavior is pretty much generalizable owing to the global homogeneity of economics brought on by technology and communications.

The silent generation (1945 and before) was of an industrious, progressive, and innovative nature until the Great Depression, the market crashes and human losses from revolutionized warfare during WWII resulted in a cautious and hardworking Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964) that went with the philosophy of creating a better and “easier” future for their children, which was the Generation X, that had significant influence on the shape of global economy we see today. However, the Baby Boomer philosophy may have created the psyche of ‘entitlement’ among Generation Y, also known as Millennials. (Generational Breakdown: Info About All of the Generations, 2016)Millennials are different from previous generations because they have grown up in an era of advance technological convenience that has made them self-reliant and less committed to adulthood milestones such as marriage, kids, and a stable stream of income. Additionally, generational experts are confounded over the nature of millennials because at one point they can be lethargic, non-conformist and narcissistic with degrees of overconfidence in skills they may not even possess, while on the other hand they are driven to innovate and hardworking multitasking individuals that are the harbingers of the social media environment. But all arguments aside, these millennials are indeed fundamentally very different than the previous generations in a way that warrants research into their needs because in global economics, this generation is a viable workforce waiting to be tapped in just the right way. (Brad Harrington, 2015)

Millennials & the Workplace: The shift in gender roles across developing careers paths and the dawn of women empowerment school of thought has resulted in more ambitious women aspiring for top job ranks and significant earnings which has come in conflict with the stereotyped male as the major income earner in households in generations preceding millennials (Brad Harrington, 2015). Furthermore, an interesting thing to note with regards to organizational work place policies and the traditionalist concept of job security, the downsizing trend that took the global corporations by rage during the 1990s to early 2000s as a means to level organizational hierarchy for better operations and reduced company costs, has damaged the employee-employer relationship of job loyalty (Brad Harrington, 2015). Hence millennials are an outrageous reason for high employee turnover rates because they consider their needs first to the needs of their place of employment to reach their career objectives as lucratively as possible. Meaning they will not sacrifice personal comfort and family values for career growth (Gianniris, 2018).

Additionally, millennials expect not only a static career behind a desk or in the field, they desire continuous career development and satisfaction to compete for the work experience without any expectations of job security. (Brad Harrington, 2015)Recruiting a millennial using traditional time-consuming talent hunting is not as effective as would be approaching them through social media, giving them a sense of purpose about the company’s values and mission, active feedback because millennials love immediate gratification and would not be idle to waste top notch opportunity by waiting. This generation is a cautious but hardworking type with innovative talent but little patience, hence recruiters need to be accommodating and liberal in sowing employee loyalty by giving the millennial the meaningfulness they desire in a workplace environment. (Forbes Human Resources Council, 2017)According to the Kaleidoscope Career Model, a relatively new concept, an individual decides their career on basis of authenticity, life-work balance and a stimulatingly challenging environment which denoted millennials as a generation seeking stimulating life-work balance (Sherry E. Sullivan, 2009; Sullivan, 2018). Another point to notice is that while millennials may desire a more organic workplace environment, their career paths have not differed from previous generations in terms of career mobility (Sean T. Lyons, 2015). Keeping this in mind, this opens opportunities for job marketers to innovate recruitment methods and workplace policies that better cater to millennial job preferences and add meaning to their career lives.

Decision Making in Career Selection: Decision making is a well thought out psychological process in consumer behavior that an individual may carry out for inferring routine, moderate, or extensive solutions to problems on basis of the solution’s alternatives, their attributes, utility, and economics (Payne, 1991). In terms of career selection, this decision making process begins early when a student is first enrolled in an educational institution as the initial investment, and as they go through the primary, secondary and higher tiers of education as value added purchase decisions, it becomes imperative to funnel their focus towards a career that will benefit them with a steady stream of income and opportunities to grow work experience as a post purchase feature of the education facilities they invested in. Many factors and influencers go into choosing a career of which personal interest, academic performance, family, job market and economic conditions are a major part. In south Asian societies, the parents are considered as the major deciders of a child’s career because they are the sole financial sponsors holding the stakes, which is another reason why some such children end up pursuing careers conflicting their personalities and hence failure in future (Asad Afzal Humayon, 2018). This stresses the need for mentorship programs in career development from a younger age in educational institutions so that not only parents, but the children can have a well-informed say in how suited they can be to a certain career path (Khan, 2018). As a south Asian millennial, the biggest dilemma in deciding a career is the conformist attitude of the parent generation that are prejudiced against any career stream that is not medical, engineering, business or law, and they will exercise their right as the financer of the educational purchase to force their ward to follow career paths that are potentially ill-planned whims based on lack of self-actualization for the child and weak knowledge in predicting future demand in job markets. (Asad Afzal Humayon, 2018). Another factor in ill-planned careers choices could be opting for a career on impulse. A research conducted using OCEAN Model of Personality to predict impulsive buying denoted a sample of Generation X and Millennials that tested significantly for impulsive tendencies (Ali, 2018).

Careers in Pakistan: The advancement of any nation is gauged by the quality of their actively employed human capital and dependent on the human resource infrastructure to further develop a viable workforce (Segera Nyaboke Gertrude, 2018). In light of this, the career fields opted for by Pakistani citizens (rural and urban) was a majority 42. 27% in agriculture, followed by a 15. 49% in mining and manufacturing in stark contrast to ranges of 0. 02% to 7. 31% for career/employment paths towards careers in telecom, scientific, administrative, educational, touristy, real estate, construction, recreational etc. (Population, Labour Force and Employment Survey of Pakistan, 2015-16), which speaks volumes about the state of our human capital utilization. And even with a seemingly ‘good’ rate of unemployment at an average 5. 9% (SAMAA-DIGITAL, 2017) it does not signify the quality of our workforce as that of a progressive and diverse nature. In Pakistan, a bounded rationality mostly rules career decisions among families which has led to careers being gender stereotyped and jeopardized for a social requirement.

An example is the field of dentistry, where there is an estimated 60-70% of females in any graduating session that only serves to provide desirable “doctor brides” that have no intention to pursue a career, hence creating a void of wasted human capital (Rubina Mumtaz, 2018). This claim is further strengthened by the results of a Lahore based study in pharmaceuticals where a 59. 9% of the 71. 9% female section of the sample quoted their choice in pharmacy as a gateway to medicine and dentistry (Zikria Saleem, 2018). Even though more women are becoming career oriented in Pakistan, the traditionalist image of the “ideally dutiful Pakistani woman” that stays at home to look after the family remains a major deterrent for women with careers plans (Grunenfelder, 2013). Similarly, males exhibit a higher presence in engineering and management business institutes, and are allowed a greater degree of pursuing their career paths in the name of self-interest and to further their career (Muhammad Nauman Abbasi, 2014). Even worse is the observable and documented fact that even though Pakistani students are well informed about the scopes of career paths, there is no such structured career planning and students often pick fields or are forced into them under the influence of their family, siblings or friends (Muhammad Nauman Abbasi, 2014).

Targeting the Average Career-Oriented Karachite Millennial: Statistics cited in the previous section pose concerning questions about the younger generation’s consumer behavior in ‘shopping’ for their future careers such as: what does the karachite millennial want in an education that should suit their interests long term and lead to their full potential as a contributive member in the career society? How does this generation like to be guided? What kind of a generation this is based on the careers they aim for? How to gather and use this information to boost consumers in the education sector with the correctly mentored career paths? If we assign millennials as the consumers and the educational/employment institutions as the marketers and ask the right questions, we may be able to discern viable behavioral and life style patterns that form the crux of their decision making strategy towards choosing careers. Millennials not only want a job that pays well, they also want a job that gives them room to expand and self-actualize.

Furthermore, the millennial generation cannot be stereotyped because this is one generation breaking a pattern of traditionalist paths to focus on their needs in diverse ways hence it is imperative to understand what drives their instincts and to amply renovate the existing career market to supply for those needs. This generation does not work on assumptions on how to be led, rather they expect the leader to understand where they want to be led (McNeil, 2018). So in order to target the millennial segment towards career paths, the career marketers need to research on how to project gender-neutral empowering body images and personifications of career paths through the one medium this generation was successfully tailored for: online social media (Kernan, 2018). That being said, the case for understanding academic aspirations of Karachite millennials becomes clear: education is a mass market in this mega city catering to the outflow of our nation’s human capital, the millennial constitutes for a significant 64% (Kundi, 2018) of consumer body and potential human capital, so analyzing how this consumer segment ‘thinks’ would help with better educational marketing management for future millennial-bred and influenced generations.

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Consumer Behavior: Academic & Career Aspirations Of Millennials. (2020, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from
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