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Millennials And Public Service: An Exploratory Analysis Of Graduate Student Career Motivations And Expectations

Author: DANIEL HENSTRA and ROSEMARY A. McGOWAN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 40 No. 3

Canada?s public service workforce is aging, and all levels of government will experience a large number of retirements in the coming years. In an increasingly competitive labour market, governments face challenges in attracting and retaining new recruits, particularly among the ?Millennial generation,? who are entering the workforce, and whose outlook on work appears to differ significantly from previous generations. What motivates Millennials to pursue a public service career? What are their expectations concerning the benefits of a career in the public sector? This study explores these questions through a qualitative analysis of written statements of Canadian Master?s students seeking a career in the public service. The findings demonstrate that Millennials are motivated both by perceived intrinsic benefits, such as the opportunity to make a difference in society, as well as extrinsic rewards, such as opportunities for career advancement. In addition, many identify a public service career as a ?calling??a sense of obligation to contribute to the public interest? and the analysis reveals various events and experiences that inspire this ?call to serve.? Implications for public sector recruitment and retention of Millennials are presented.

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