What do you want to be when you grow up?

To answer these questions, we decided to gather information in the form of surveys. We needed to create two different surveys: one for a college population, and one for the general population. We currently have over 200 participants using Amazon Mechanical Turk, a venue where participants can get paid for taking surveys online. Our sample is very diverse, capturing people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

The college population survey is more open-ended; we want to find out what college students are thinking about and what their goals are for the future. This survey focuses on students’ anxiety about their plans after graduation, how often they think about those plans, what their ideal job is, and what they would like to have accomplished by the time they are 35. We have already put this survey online, and are now working on getting it out to students at the Claremont Colleges so that we can compare the samples.

The survey for the general population is a bit different. In this survey, we focus on what draws people to certain jobs, and what different work values mean to them. We give participants a list of work values that they may encounter in the workplace and have them rank how important these values are to them (i.e., proximity to the workplace, medical benefits, etc.). From that, we take the values they ranked as most important and have them rank these top values in hierarchical order, so that we can get a sense of which of these is the most important. From this result, participants then receive questions like these: If you were offered a job with your 2nd and 3rd top value but not your first, how much would the company need to compensate you to take the job? Questions like these help us understand exactly how much these values mean to people, and will create information for recruiters that may help them incentivize potential employees and retain current employees.

As a team, we would like to thank the Berger Institute for allowing us to conduct this research!