For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Declining Work Centrality Among Millennials—Myth or Reality?"

by Bjarnason, Tómas (2019)


The alleged decline in work centrality has been a popular theme in recent decades, though research findings have been somewhat inconsistent. This chapter examines levels of absolute and relative work centrality in Germany, Japan, Spain, Sweden and the United States over 16 years (1995–2011) and four generations: the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials—using data from the World Values Survey. A progressive decline in work centrality was not found, but higher levels of absolute and relative work centrality were apparent in wave 3 (1995) than in the two subsequent waves (2006 and 2011). The pattern of work centrality developed differently in the countries under scrutiny. The financial crisis likely explains the divergent trends in some of them between 2006 and 2011. Comparing relative work centrality in three generations between 2011 and 16 years earlier reveals lower work centrality scores in 2011 than in 1995 for the Boomers in all five countries, for the Gen Xers in four countries, and for the Millennials in three countries. We conclude that relative work centrality declined between 1995 and 2011 across three generations in most of the countries examined.


Millennials, Empirical Research, Empirical Study, Work Centrality


Centrality of Work

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