2 in 3 Americans Adults Would Choose Great Friends Over A Great Career

October 9, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Boomers & Older | Europe & Middle East | Global & Regional | Household Income | Men | Staffing | Women | Youth & Gen X

Economic uncertainty and unemployment concerns might be ruling the airwaves – particularly during this election season – but most Americans haven’t forgotten about the value of a good friend. According to Ipsos survey results released in October, about two-thirds of the American adults (aged 18-64) surveyed would rather have great friends than have a great career. But, younger Americans (18-35) are 12% less likely than the average (58% vs. 66%) to say they’d choose great friends. This may be a function of having a longer career horizon to navigate and more worries over the future of the economy. Indeed, according to a July report from Penn Schoen Berland in partnership with Burson-Marsteller, younger Americans are pessimistic about their opportunities. When asked if the US economy is on the right track or off on the wrong track, 69% of respondents aged 18-29 chose “wrong track” versus 62% of those 65+ choosing “right track.”

Highly-Educated More Career-Minded

Further results from the Ipsos survey indicate that adults with higher educational attainment are more likely to choose a great career over great friends than those with lower levels of education, a result that seems logical on the surface given the former group’s investment in their education. Still, a majority 60% of those with high educational attainment would choose to have great friends, compared to 70% of those with low levels of education.

Adults from low income households are also more likely to eschew their friends for a great career than those from high income households (31% vs. 38%).

Biz Owners, Big Wigs Value Careers

Although a majority of business owners and senior executives would choose great friends over great careers, there is a significant gap between those groups and their counterparts. For example, 41% of business owners would rather have a great career than great friends, compared to 33% of respondents who don’t own a business. Similarly, 43% of senior executives, decision-makers, and leaders would choose a great career, versus 32% who don’t hold those roles.

Interestingly, the unemployed were far more likely to choose great friends over a great career than the employed (73% vs. 62%).

Other Findings:

  • American women are more likely than men to choose great friends over a great career (70% vs. 63%).
  • Chief income earners favor great careers more than those aren’t chief income earners (38% vs. 30%).
  • Respondents in some key developing markets appear to be more focused on their careers than their friends. In Indonesia, 65% would rather have a great career than great friends. A majority in India (57%), Mexico (54%), South Africa (54%), and China (53%) would also choose a great career, as would almost half (48%) in Brazil.
  • Respondents in Sweden (82%) and Hungary (74%) are the most committed to great friendships.

About the Data: The Ipsos data is based on 12,000 online interviews conducted in January 2012 across 24 countries with adults aged 18-64. The US data is based on a sample size of 500.

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