As the most racially and ethnically diverse generation to date, Generation Z (Gen Z) is expected to surpass 20.2% of the U.S. population by the end of 2022. To put this in perspective, Millennials are the current largest group, making up 21.8% of the population.
While more Gen Zers continue to graduate and enter the workforce, it is important for us to familiarize ourselves with their expectations for future employment.
Here are five qualities that Gen Z looks for in the workplace.
1. A shared set of values. When it comes to ethics and business practices, Gen Z holds companies and organizations to a high standard. According to a Gen Z Spotlight Report from the Washington State University Carson College of Business (CCB), 70% of Gen Z employees want to work for a company whose values align with their own. Most are even willing to turn down job offers from places that don’t meet this condition.
As a generation that has become known for wanting to change the world, Gen Z truly cares about their employers’ emphasis on social responsibility, inclusivity and sustainability. The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that those who were satisfied with their employers’ environmental and societal impact were more likely to stay with their employer for five years or more.
2. Meaningful work. Similar to the standards that they hold for companies and organizations, Gen Z employees want their position to hold weight. In a recruiting study by Yello, job duties and responsibilities were ranked higher for Gen Z than any other generation in terms of accepting or rejecting a job offer.
Not only does Gen Z want to genuinely enjoy their role, but they also want their work to fulfill a greater purpose or need for those around them.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they expect every single item on their to-do list to be ground-breaking. Gen Zers understand that achieving the big picture goal requires many steps in between.
3. Face-to-face relationships. Despite being digital natives, Gen Z wants face-to-face relationships prioritized within the workplace. In Yello’s recruiting study, they reported that Gen Z employees ranked their relationship with their recruiter as having the highest impact on their decision to accept a job.
Personal connection is vital for Gen Z, especially after the pandemic. Many were left feeling isolated and lonely with the increase in remote work, and their supervisors and coworkers appeared as impersonal identities on a screen. They want their bosses to show genuine interest in building and establishing a relationship.
4. Opportunities for growth. Gen Z is often characterized as forward-thinking. CCB’s Gen Z Spotlight Report found that younger workers are much more concerned about the future of their career than older colleagues. So much so, that 68% of younger workers confirmed that they frequently worry about their potential for career growth.
If Gen Z employees are unable to identify that a company offers opportunities for professional development, they are less likely to see a future there.
Gen Z is always looking to continue to grow and learn new skills, and they seek work environments that can foster this passion. More than any other generation, they are willing to leave their current position if better opportunities come along.
5. Emphasis on mental health. Although they have a strong work ethic and are willing to put in the occasional long nights or weekends, Gen Z also sees the significance in making time for rest. They search for companies that create the space for their employees to maintain and focus on their mental health.
According to Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 46% of Gen Z employees reported feeling burned out due to their work culture. In addition, a good work-life balance was ranked as the leading reason for where they chose to work.
Within the next few years, the amount of Gen Zers flooding the workforce will only continue to increase. Rather than being resistant or skeptical of the change they may bring — look for ways to learn from them.
Having a wide range of ages from varying backgrounds all working together under a unified cause can offer many benefits. The diversity in perspectives and experiences will bring new possibilities to a company or organization that may have never been thought possible.
As leaders, welcoming Gen Zers onto our teams is the perfect opportunity to discover fresh ideas for improving our company culture, or even new methods for how we operate in the day-to-day.