The Demands of Gen Z in the Workplace

5 minutes

A company consists of a diverse range of employees. There are different age groups, each representing a various generation. Past generations like Millennials, Gen Z and Baby Boomers have entered the workforce. Although now there’s a new generation coming through. Born between 1997 to 2012, Gen Z will make up around 27% of the workforce by 2025.

Each generation brings its own set of ideas and expectations, prompting societal trends. Companies have to adapt to ensure they retain the best talent and drive business growth. We put a poll out on LinkedIn, in an attempt to discover what Gen Z valued the most at work. The poll received 1240 votes. You’ll find each of the four options below as well as their respective results. 

Fair Pay

Like any generation before them, Gen Z is willing to work hard. But, there’s a caveat to this, they expect fair pay. In fact, 38% of the respondents agreed that fair pay is the most important factor a company can provide. Of course, this opens the door to the question, what’s fair pay?  

There are a variety of factors that determine an employee’s salary. This includes experience and the hours the role requires. But, there are some wider societal factors that contribute to increasing salaries. Whether there’s a high demand for talent in a particular sector or the role is in a fast-growing industry. Either way, these factors can contribute to increasing salary rates.  

Yet, many of those in Gen Z would have only entered the workforce in recent years. This means they aren’t going to get the same level of pay as their more experienced colleagues. While this is understandable, there’s the threat of recession on the horizon. Inflation is fast outpacing salary growth and we are in the midst of a cost of living crisis. This has led to pay being the biggest concern. After all, Gen Z have to pay their way in a fractured economy, before they can do anything else.

Job Flexibility

Job flexibility wasn't much of a topical issue for previous generations. Yet, it's important for Gen Z. In our poll, Job flexibility won 32% of the vote and came in a close second. So, it’s clear that working for a company that provides flexibility is a priority. The notion of job flexibility came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies had to allow their employees to work from home. This gave workers more control over the way they go about their work. 

During this period, workplace trends shifted. People had time to think about changing careers. Others left their jobs, prompting the Great Resignation. But, even when the pandemic began to ease, people’s perceptions of work had changed. Workers wanted a better work-life balance. This was so they could pay closer attention to other areas of their lives. 

Many from Gen Z had finished university and entered the workforce during this time. So, they became accustomed to working from home and achieving top results along the way. And now, Gen Z feels empowered to have more input over the way they work. Companies recognise this shift, leading to hybrid work schedules. This means employees can cut down their weekly commuting time. And this contributes towards a healthier work-life balance. 

Professional Development

Gen Z has grown up in a period of technological advancement. This means they see the value technology can provide in the workplace. But, technology continues to develop at a rapid rate. And to move further into the digital world means companies need tech-savvy workers. 

Employees can get ahead of the curve by ensuring they have the relevant digital skills. But, they can go one further, by choosing a career in technology. There are plenty of engineering, software and data roles out there. Those in tech-related roles help companies innovate and grow. And because of this, there are higher salaries on offer. 

Even in periods of economic downturn, there’s demand for top talent. So, professional development, remains a steady priority for many workers. After all, with more skills, workers will be able to provide more value to companies. And based on the results of the poll, it seems Gen Z recognise this. As 25% of respondents see professional development as their biggest motivator

Professional development is important to Gen Z for various reasons. Training opportunities help people find purpose and build careers. But, it allows them to earn more money while under the burden of inflation and a struggling economy. 

Shared Social and Environmental Values

The option with only 5% of the vote was social and environmental values. Now, this doesn’t mean, the respondents don’t care about these issues. But rather, it isn’t the most important factor in the workplace. Many young people started working during a period of economic downturn. So, they first need to focus on earning a reasonable salary. 

Don’t let the results fool you though. Gen Z is more socially and environmentally conscious than previous generations. Whether it’s issues relating to climate change or equality. Gen Z would rather buy from brands selling sustainable products. And work for organisations that share the same values.

But, one of the obstacles to this is money. After all, Gen Z isn’t as established in the working world. This means they don’t have access to the same level of resources. Because of this, Gen Z can’t always take action on their values.  

What the results tell us about Gen Z

Gen Z has a specific set of demands when it comes to working for a company. They want job flexibility and professional development opportunities. They also want an employer that shares the same values as them. But, most importantly, Gen Z demands fair pay. 

Also, generations before Gen Z stay in jobs for longer. In fact, the average time Baby Boomers spend in a job is 8 years and 3 months. Whereas, Gen Z only spend around 2 years and 3 months in a job. This shows they will job-hop, in search of a more fulfilling opportunity. 

The different timespans show the varying generational attitudes towards work. And of course, these attitudes come from lived experiences. Motivated by position and prestige, Baby Boomers want stability. As a result, they stay with a company for longer and rise through the ranks. Gen Z grew up during a period of economic uncertainty. They might have even seen their parents lose their jobs during the recession. Because of this, they aren’t as attached to their careers.

Gen Z are willing to leave their jobs if their needs aren’t met. So, as time goes on, there is more emphasis on employers to keep hold of their top talent. Download our whitepaper to learn how to retain employees in a challenging market.

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