Gen Z’s Career Expectations Are Shifting: Here’s What You Need To Know

A study has revealed Gen Z as a generation driven by status and social impact above salary and benefits. Allwork.Space provides some tips for employers to create work environments for Gen Z employees to thrive.  

This article was originally published by Allwork.Space.

Gen Z, typically defined as the 72 million people born between 1997 and 2012, are a different breed of worker. By 2025, Gen Z employees will make up more than a quarter of the entire U.S. workforce.

According to a study by the global education platform Brainly, Gen Z employee values are rapidly shifting, as well as what their generation expects from their careers and employers.

The extensive survey polled over 4,000 Gen Zers against control groups of their three preceding generations: Millennials (age 26-41), Gen X (age 42-57), and baby boomers (age 58-76) to reveal the dramatic differences each group has on career considerations such as salary, benefits, status, and social impact.

What emerged was a portrait of Gen Z as a generation driven by status and social impact above traditional motivators such as salary and benefits.

What is important to Gen Z employees when considering a future job?

  1. Gen Z is less money-hungry: 85% of baby boomers say salary is important when considering a job, as opposed to 67% of Gen Z.
  2. Gen Z is less health-conscious: 74% of baby boomers say health insurance is important when considering a job, compared to 46% of Gen Z.
  3. Gen Z is more status-concerned: Only 29% of baby boomers say job title is important when considering a job, as opposed to 41% of Gen Z.
  4. Gen Z is more socially aware: Only 28% of baby boomers say a company’s social impact is important when considering a job, as opposed to 36% of Gen Z.
  5. Younger generations value personal time: Gen Z cares the most about time off or travel policy (15% say it’s most important). Baby boomers (3%) care the least.

Gen Zers expect more from the employer in terms of social responsibility

As well as making a living, workers want to know that their place of work is having a positive impact on society – especially Gen Zers.

McKinsey & Company survey found that employees are five times more likely to want to work at a company that spends time reflecting on the impact it has in the world.

“The days of relying on work to simply provide a paycheck, while spending free time on more fulfilling pursuits, are rapidly disappearing—if not gone already. Though they hope for more than a paycheck—including meaning, mentorship, and growth, among other things— young people today understand a paycheck as being the bare minimum of what work should provide,” according to Springtide.

Doing meaningful work is only part of the equation for Gen Z; 74% of Gen Z want to work for an organization that enables them to help others. 73% of them say they are more likely to do extra work when they believe in the work they are doing.

“Young people today want whatever organizations they join to reflect and uphold their personal values. When it comes to work, many are seeking spaces that are integrated with the other aspects and values of their lives. They want jobs that will help them contribute to the common good,” according to Springtide.

There’s a growing desire to make choices that align with our values, and people are evaluating whether their employer’s values align with their own.

Organizations that are seeking to bring in these employees and combat the Great Resignation should keep this in mind when navigating their own culture: making a difference in the world is attractive to today’s top talent.

Patrick Quinn, expert at Brainly, gave some tips for employers to create work environments for Gen Z staff to thrive:

  1. Prioritize visibility opportunities across all levels of your organization. A lot has been said about creating a culture of transparency and responsibility within organizations, but be sure you’re also creating opportunities and programs for younger Gen Z employees to showcase great work. Gen Z employees take pride in their work and seek recognition as much as any other type of remuneration. Always ensure Gen Z employees have an opportunity to shine across all levels of the company and are not working in a visibility vacuum.
  2. Cause and Effect: Make sure your organization is cause oriented and has a social mission beyond the bottom line. Gen Z is purpose driven, so ensuring your organization is aligned with causes important to the community it operates in will create additional value for employees.
  3. Thoughtful Titles: Gen Z loves to explore and manifest their identity whenever possible. Job titles are a great place to let them determine how they’re represented externally. Rather than “assistant,” “executive,” or “manager” – ask your Gen Z employees if there might be an alternative, more thoughtful way their job title could express their role and value to the organization.
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