In recent years, focus has been concentrated on the millennial generation and their influence on the modern-day workplace. While this demographic will constitute a considerable proportion of the workforce for years to come, there is a new generation emerging: Generation Z.
As an imminent arrival to the employment fray; Gen Z represents a new set of opportunities and challenges for prospective employers. Made up of those born between 1996-2010, the group's influence and stake in the workplace will be steadily rising over the coming years. But what are they looking for and what impact will they have?
According to a recent global survey from Monster, there are several important characteristics of Gen Z which differ from their millennial predecessors:
They Want Real Rewards
Although the temptation for many employers when appealing to young adults is to promote the quirky and cool aspects of their organizations, the top three things that Gen Z look for in an employer are health insurance, a competitive salary, and a healthy working environment. This contrasts with previous generations where the provision of quiet areas, flexible working hours, and social rewards were more highly valued.
They Want Meaningful Work
For Gen Z, the term ‘work’ has more meaning than a simple 9-5 pursuit to earn money. Career happiness and longevity is a primary concern, and three quarters of those surveyed suggested that they want their work to be meaningful and fulfilling.
They Have an Entrepreneurial Quality
Gen Z is self-motivated. Over three quarters see themselves as the owners of their careers, driving their own professional advancements. Nearly half said they want to run their own business in the future, in comparison to 32% across all working generations, and the majority would be happy to work nights or weekends if it meant earning a better salary.
A key element of Gen Z's potential to change the way we work is their comfort with and immersion in technology. Having never known a time without the internet, Gen Z were born into a fast-moving, ultra-connected world, and this fast-paced outlook is mirrored in their career aspirations.
Gen Z believes that technology allows them to be more productive and mobile. They rate smartphones as indispensable and heavily rely on laptops. These tools enable Gen Z to be "always on" while determining their own schedules, so flexible working and remote working are trends that will likely resonate well.
According to the Way to Work survey 79% of Gen Z are optimistic about finding a job within the first 5 months post-study, while the majority consider being in their dream job within 10 years to be an achievable aspiration.
This ambition means that job-hopping could be a major concern, especially since 83% of today’s students believe that three years or less is the appropriate amount of time to spend at their first job. Furthermore, over a quarter (27%) of students believe you should stay at your first job for a year or less.
By providing professional development opportunities, listening to their desires and ideas, and successfully integrating leading workspace technology, employers can appeal to the strengths and aspirations of Gen Z to retain their skills into the future.
While many businesses are touting friendly workplace cultures with impressive holiday allowances and transparent salaries to lure talent, their efforts may be better spent offering career-focused benefits. Gen Z value career growth, fulfilling work and stability, so to attract and keep the right talent, organizations should show how they can help their employees reach their most important career goals.
The emergence of Gen Z into the employment pool is set to influence the workplace significantly. As desires shift from social benefits to the pursuit of a dream role, Gen Z will increasingly prioritize companies that are engaging and encouraging over those that are not. Only by appealing to Gen Z's desire to work flexibly and remotely, and offering substantial growth opportunities, will employers be able to successfully attract and retain the next generation of talent.