Generation Z is the cohort of consumers born from 1997 through 2012. Also sometimes referred to as post-Millennials, iGeneration, Gen Edge, or Digital Natives, they have never lived without technology and the Internet.
Gen Zers have an entrepreneurial spirit, having grown up during the Great Recession, and place a value on furthering their education. They care about the world and want to make an impact.
Worldwide, Gen Z has surpassed millennials (born from 1981 through 1996) as the largest generation, making up 32% of the global population. And this group of individuals is very different from generations past when it comes to their expectations of employers.
Fostering a healthy, happy workforce requires a keen understanding of the unique needs of all of the different cohorts working within your organization—including Generation Z. Learn more about this youngest generation in today’s workforce, and what they expect of their employers, below.
1. Generation Z Is the Most Diverse – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter to Them
Research finds 47% of Gen Z employees identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). By comparison, 39% of millennial workers surveyed identified as BIPOC, versus 34% of Gen X (born from 1965 through 1980), and only 25% of boomers (born from 1946 through 1964).
2. Gen Zers Make Their Workplace Demands Clear: They Want a Company That Is Invested in Their Happiness and Growth
Fifty percent said poor work-life balance would make them leave their job. Other reasons they would leave include a toxic work environment (47%), lack of professional development opportunities (43%), inability to advance within the company (43%), and having to work overtime regularly (41%).
3. The Gen Z Cohort Places a Value on Perks and Benefits
Research finds that benefits such as paid time off, mental health days, or activities that create a sense of community are essential for Gen Zers. Companies have some work to do in this space. Currently, 60% of Gen Z workers are unsatisfied with their company’s benefits programs.
4. Gen Z Wants Work To Be Meaningful
Generation Z ranks job duties and responsibilities higher than any other generation when it comes to accepting or rejecting a job offer – they want to do meaningful work. Almost two-thirds (63%) of Gen Zers feel it is very or extremely important to work for an employer that shares their values. Thirty-nine percent say they want to do work that will make a difference in the world.
5. Generation Z Wants Financial Security
While 84% of Generation Zers in the workplace say that they'd like to do purposeful work for a company in which they believe, financial security has greater relevance. Gen Zers are more likely to see their first jobs as stepping stones and are likely to change jobs as many as 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34.
6. Technology at Work Is Important to Generation Z
A whopping 80% of Gen Zers aspire to work with cutting-edge technology. When it comes to choosing employment, 91% say technology would influence their job choice among similar employment offers.
7. Generation Z Is Driving the Great Resignation – If They Are Unhappy at Work, They’ll Leave
Recent research finds that 25% of Gen Z respondents say they hope or plan to leave their current employers within the next six months. Comparatively, 23% of millennials, 18% of Gen X, and just 12% of baby boomers say the same. Gen Z is pushing harder when it comes to finding personal growth in the right setting. They are much more likely to leave a job for one that better aligns with their values (80%), for more opportunities to grow/learn (76%), and for better compensation and benefits (76%).
8. Gen Z Wants Guidance and Mentorship
Eighty-two percent said they would prefer to work under a boss who cares about them and can relate to them on issues beyond work. Seventy-three percent said they are motivated to do a better job when they feel that their supervisor cares about them.
9. Generation Z Needs Help With Stress Management
Gen Z reports higher levels of anxiety and depression than other generations [PDF]. They are significantly more likely to report their mental health as fair or poor, with 27% saying this is the case. Millennials (15%), Gen Xers (13%), boomers (7%) and older adults (5%) are less likely to report fair or poor mental health.
10. Generation Z Wants [You] To Protect the Planet
Environmental issues and sustainable practices are growing in importance for Gen Z. The majority (55%) of Gen Zers said they are very or extremely interested in environmental issues, up from 40% in 2019, and a striking 81% believe climate change is a problem for the United States. This influences how they buy products and also how they choose employers.
Generation Z is very different from its predecessors, and companies have their job cut out for them when it comes to tailoring the workplace experience for this group of individuals. This younger generation of workers wants to feel valued, respected, secure, and healthy in their place of work – and they are willing to leave their jobs in pursuit of the right workplace environment. Now is the time for companies to prepare by rethinking their approach to benefits, processes, programs, and more, to not only meet Gen Z’s needs, but to exceed them.
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