Pairing Social Values With Your Career Path

Pairing Social Values With Your Career Path

By Hayley Shaughnessy


As everyone’s favourite talked-about generation, we millennials have quite the amount of research, data and insights about us. And through all of this, stereotypes have blossomed to help others define our behaviours.

People who weren’t born between 1981 and 2000 (Statistics Canada) somehow know what we like, how we act and what kind of things we want out of brands and products. But do they really? Is it only a one-size-fits-all kind of thing?

As a millennial myself, I can safely say that we’re not all the same. But not much has been said about our social values.


But what are social values?


Social values account for the stability of social order. They provide the general guidelines for social conduct. According to Environics Research, there are actually six “tribes” of our generation that can help define and represent our more personal worldviews and approaches to life. *

The Canadian Millennials Social Values Study by Environics Institute takes a closer look at our generation’s life goals, financial prospects and more specifically, perspectives on career development.

Below are some ways of aligning your social values with work to motivate you or perhaps help you find better if you’re just starting your job search.  


Making more with what you have


According to the Social Values Study, 86% of millennials said making a valued contribution to society was important in their work and their career goals. So, if you find yourself in a job you love already, look for opportunities to expand the good in what you do in and outside of the office.

You can encourage your team to participate in non-profit campaigns or host a brainstorm to discuss what kind of initiatives you your colleagues are collectively passionate about.


Work for the cause


After dedicated time spent on social engagement and volunteering, there come opportunities to actually make an income working for a cause that you care about. When applying for positions at not-for-profit organizations, your years spent and level of involvement in volunteering are taken into consideration just as much as your work experiences.

The Social Values Study revealed that one-in-four millennials has been actively engaged in a cause or issue in the past year. Whether in regards to social justice, the environment, politics, health care and more – our generation is motivated by getting involved and making connections that are important to us.

There’s no need to say get out and find the opportunities, because millennials are already finding them. Fueling your work with passion is a win-win for you and your employer, too.


Read beyond the job title

If you’re just beginning your job search, try avoiding judging jobs solely by their title, but focus on the mission and vision of the organizations you’re curious about. You’ll likely find a quicker match with an organization before a job title, and ultimately the work you do is driven by company values day in and day out.

Specifically for jobs in social innovation and even the start-up community, they may not always have the most obvious names. If you have a specific skillset you’re looking to use and develop, do a match-up with job responsibilities and make a judgement call if it’s the right fit for you then.

Be your millennial you


At the end of the day, we’re not all the same. Our social values might differ, even if we may be categorized in the same “tribe.” We experience different things in different ways that help us shape the people we become and employees we strive to be.

If you relate to the 50% of millennials surveyed who would “like to make a lot of money in business” compared to the other half who would “prefer to do work that is in the public interest,” that’s completely okay too. Finding the perfect balance between work and pleasure or professional and personal can be a job of its own, but don’t be afraid to seek out the right fit for what matters to you.


For tips and tricks on being a millennial in the workplace, visit


*Also, you can figure out which tribe you belong to by taking a short survey here