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Report: 14% of Young Adults Want to Work for Government

Young adults preferred businesses of any size to government or nonprofit work.

Young adults are much more likely to want to work in the private than public sector, according to an Axios survey.

The report found that young adults aged 18-29 are about twice as likely to want to work for any size business. Specifically, 14% of young adult respondents would want to spend most of their career in government or nonprofits, in comparison to large companies (31%), medium companies (27%) and small businesses or startups (28%).

Moreover, personal fulfillment (49%) ranked higher than societal impact (3%), for respondents when looking at what they want to maximize in their career.

Generation Labs conducted the study for Axios from Jan. 11-18, 2023, on a representative sample of 824 young adults nationwide. 

This survey is the latest to show that young adults are less likely to consider government roles.

An August Qualtrics study found that recent graduates are less likely to consider government positions, at 44%. Additionally, roadblocks also include slow recruitment processes, unawareness of openings and outdated or non-essential job posting requirements. 

However, the challenge for the government to appeal to young adults as a place to work is not new. In 2018 only 3% of the federal tech workforce were less than 30 years old. In comparison, FedScope data for the most recent quarter––last updated in June 2022––shows that the government's workforce is made up of only 4% of adults under 30 years old.