How are young people in Germany experiencing the world of work today—and how do their impressions compare with slightly older workers?

A new MTV Knowing Youth study called “New Work” sought to answer that question through a survey of 1,000 German respondents aged 16 to 29 and 30 to 49.

Here are key findings from this project:

Fun comes first

Germans aged 16 to 29 ranked having a good time at work ahead of professional success, performance and even job security. More than 9 out of 10 (92%) said that “fun at work” is an important aspect of their lives. Enjoying themselves on the job was only outmatched by “fun and pleasure” in general (94%) and “financial independence” (93%). In contrast, 30- to 49-year-olds place higher importance on family and relationships.

Good salary + pleasant environment = a good job

Money still matters to young workers, however. For 16- to 29-year-olds, being well-paid was the essential criterion for a job, followed by work environment, work-family balance, professional appreciation, career prospects and professional development. The latter two factors were notably more important for 16- to 29-year-olds than for 30- to 49-year-olds.

Satisfied with their work environments, not so much with pay and work-life balance

For 16- to 29-year-olds, there is satisfaction with their work environment (74%) but room for improvement in pay, work-life balance, career prospects and professional development. Workers ages 30 to 49, on the other hand, would like to see more professional appreciation.

Jobs are a source of pride

Work is tied to self-image for 16- to 29-year-olds and 30- to 49-year-olds alike. They like the responsibility that comes with their job (74%) and are proud of their career accomplishments (74%). At the same time, they don’t define themselves exclusively by their jobs and prefer to keep their personal and business lives separate (56%).

Tough job market

Almost half of 16- to 29-year-olds and nearly a third of 30- to 49-year-olds had sought a new job in the last three years. Both groups perceived the job search process as more difficult the actual recruitment process.

Younger workers punch in more hours

Compared with 30- to 49-year-olds, workers 16 to 29 put in slightly more hours in an average week and are more likely to work overtime. Work-life balance and flexible hours are equally important to both groups.

Work-family balance could be better

Compared with 30- to 49-year-olds, 16- to 29-year-olds who either have or plan to have children possess a more positive–though still critical–impression of the compatibility of work and family life in Germany. Additionally, 16- to 29-year-olds are more likely than 30- to 49-year-olds to agree that “children always have an impact on their mother’s career no matter how much one tries” (66%).