- Gen Z will soon constitute one-fourth of the global workforce, and they’ll have very different approaches to work.
- Unlike previous generations, salary isn’t the only driving factor. Other factors include company-wide missions and flexible hours.
- Businesses that want to stay competitive should consider what motivates Gen Zers.
- Here’s a look at the shifting attitudes around work.
Soon, there will be more Generation Z workers than millennials in our offices. It’s estimated that by 2024, Gen Zers will constitute about one-fourth of the worldwide workforce. That’s significant because they’re a group with very different attitudes and approaches than those of previous generations.
Businesses will need to know how to attract Gen Z employees and their different priorities, values, and needs. For instance, this generation expects flexible work options, perhaps even more now that they’ve experienced remote work and school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because they grew up hearing news stories about fraud and other unethical business dealings, they consider ethical behavior to be the most important attribute of an employer.
Businesses that know what younger workers want and expect from their employers will be the ones that succeed.
The future of work looks different
A January 2021 PwC study confirmed that remote work has been overwhelmingly successful for both employers and employees. As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, many companies are going hybrid or remote. More than half of employees say that they’d like to work remotely at least three days a week post-pandemic.
Work from now on looks different in other ways, too. Culture is a top priority for Gen Zers, and 45% say having a job with meaning and purpose is more important than their pay. Thirty percent would take a 10–20% pay cut to work for a cause they care about. What do they find least important? Job security.
Here are five important facts about the newest generation of workers.
1. Salary is only somewhat important
While salary and compensation are considerations to Gen Z, this generation also values work-life balance, flexible hours, perks, and other benefits. If they have to choose between a better-paying job that’s boring and a more interesting one that pays less, they are fairly evenly split as to which they would pick.
Keep in mind that the employees who will soon make up a large part of your workforce have other priorities in addition to salary. Consider those factors, and you’ll have an easier time attracting good workers.
2. Remote work can be a struggle
While younger workers appreciate the flexibility to work remotely, this group sees some drawbacks about working away from the office. They’re at the start of their careers, often single, and can feel isolated by remote work. They find it harder to feel connected and have meaningful relationships when working from home. They miss out on the casual conversations that help them network.
George Anders, Senior Editor-at-Large at LinkedIn, said Gen Zers have found it very hard to “find their footing since they’re not experiencing the in-person onboarding, networking, and training that they would have expected in a normal year.”
Carefully consider your options when you design your post-pandemic work situation. Should there be a hybrid mix of remote and in-office work? Perhaps most importantly, how will you make sure your newest employees get the support they need?
3. Gen Zers are tech-savvy
The generation born in 1997 and later are digital natives who never knew the pre-internet world. When they come to work, they don’t only bring technological experience but also technological expectations.
They have little patience for out-of-date technology. Make sure yours is up to date, or they might seek techier pastures. You’ll want to provide productive business platforms, as well as a unified communications platform such as RingCentral Office®.
4. Diversity is critical
In a September 2020 survey of high school and college students, a striking 88% of Gen Z job seekers said it’s important to them that potential employers ask about their preferred gender pronouns. Yet only 18% have ever been asked that by a recruiter or potential employer. Sixty percent of Gen Zs report might or would definitely decline a job offer from someone who didn’t use their preferred pronouns.
What does this mean for employers? This next group of workers coming along doesn’t accept lip service, so make sure you and your company are an up-to-date, diverse, and inclusive workplace. Know that Gen Zers look for those factors online and in recruitment materials even before speaking with someone from a company.
5. They’re looking for mission-driven cultures
Gen Zers don’t just want to clock in and then clock out. They read mission statements and values documents to learn about a potential employer’s values. It’s a generation raised while climate change and its impacts are constantly in the news, and they consider global warming a worldwide crisis. They want to work for companies that align with their social values and make a difference in the world.
Deloitte found that purpose-driven companies have a 40% higher workforce retention level than other companies. Know what your company stands for and how you can make a difference, make it clear to those who want to work for you, and follow through.
Be ready for Gen Z
Research consistently shows that 83% of today’s Gen Z students plan to spend only three years or less at a job, so retention is a serious concern. More than a quarter report that an ideal length of time to stay at your first job is just one year or less.
Be aware of this, maintain the right company culture, and provide excellent training and professional development opportunities, and you’ll have a lead on helping young new employees fit into your company—and stay.