- Generation Z trends in the workplace – What employers need to know
- Demographics: breaking down the characteristics
- Beliefs, attitudes, etc
- What they want
- Wrapping it up
- How to Manage Gen Z Workers
- Who is Generation Z?
- What characteristics define Gen Z?
- They're tech savvy
- Career development is a priority for them
- They want detailed instruction
- Diversity is their gamebreaker
- They question everything
- Mental health is top of mind
- What are the differences in Gen Z vs. millennials?
- Gen Z values stability over risk
- Gen Z is even more tech savvy
- Gen Zers aren't afraid to fail
- How do you adapt your culture to appeal to Generation Z?
- Gen Z Women in the Workplace: What do they want?
- Mentorship and Skill-building Opportunities
- A Strong Sense of Community
- Social Impact Initiatives
Generation Z trends in the workplace – What employers need to know
Step aside everyone, Generation Z is about to make an entrance. The generational cohort made up of those born between 1997-2015 is getting ready to enter the workforce, and they’re hitting the ground running. As employers, it’s crucial to understand the incoming group of job seekers that will inevitably make an impact on their organization.
What makes them tick? How do they learn best, what do they look for in an employer? In this blog, we’ll give you a detailed, but by no means an exhaustive, list of what you need to know of the ‘iGeneration.”
By 2020 Gen-Z is expected to make up 20 percent of the global workforce. As Boomers leave their roles, more and more of the youth are swooping in to take their places. If companies want to cultivate loyalty among their newer team members they need to get a good grasp of who they are.
Generational differences may cause conflict in the workplace which means that HR departments need to understand the characteristics that these cohorts share and the ones in which they differ.
Demographics: breaking down the characteristics
Unsurprisingly Generation Z is the most diverse one in the United States, made up of 55% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 14% African American and 4% Asian. They are also sizing up to be the most educated generation so far. They are more ly to be enrolled in college and to have a college-educated parent than their Millennial counterparts.
Among 18- to 21-year-olds no longer in high school in 2018, 57% were enrolled in a two-year or four-year college. This compares with 52% among Millennials in 2003 and 43% among members of Gen X in 1987.
Immigration patterns also differ for this group, Gen Z Hispanics are less ly to be immigrants than Millennial Hispanics. This is an important statistic as previous research has demonstrated that second-generation Hispanics are less ly to complete their high school education and attend college than foreign-born Hispanics (Grown and Yang).
Beliefs, attitudes, etc
Gen Z’s beliefs and attitudes are certainly a key factor to take into consideration given their importance in workplace politics, and interpersonal relationships. Data indicates that they are less patriotic than any previous generation, suggesting a more critical perception of the nation.
They are also known to be very passionate about social change. Gen Z members are more ly to look to the government for major changes rather than businesses.
Interestingly enough, 7/10 Gen Z’ers say the government should do more to solve problems.
They also acknowledge the reality of climate change, with 54% of Gen Z saying that rising temperatures and warmer activity is being caused by human actions.
This cohort has a tendency to view the world through a lens of equitability and intersectionality. Roughly half of Gen Z’ers consider the legalization of gay marriage to be a good thing for our society, compared to 47% of Millennials and 30% of Gen X’ers.
They also have a more inclusive view of gender and the way it plays a role in the office. They are more ly to say they know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns whilst only 25% Millennials and 15% of Gen X’ers say the same.
They are also by far the most ly to think that online forms should include other options for gender besides just “male” and “female,” 59% say that forms should include other options.
The future is progressive and so are these members of Generation Z. An equitable and intersectional work environment is a notable factor for Gen Z job-seekers.
What they want
Studies have also investigated what members of Gen Z want in the form of benefits, etc.
Work/life flexibility is a significant priority. A study recorded responses to the question: “When looking forward across your professional lifetime, what are the three most important HR benefits you hope that companies you work will offer?”
“Health-care benefits” and “financial stability” tied as most important followed closely by “flextime” and/or “family time” as well as a supportive work environment.
Whereas older generations are keen to work more, prioritize allocating time for their personal lives. This is an important distinction to note as different perspectives and values may create tensions amongst the different generations in the workplace and how they perceive each other’s efforts.
It’s good to understand these motivations so that HR leaders can adapt to the needs of the younger employees and offer benefits that align more with what they seem to prioritize. For Gen Z, this may be more vacation time or work flexibility.
Moving forward, a great portion of them wants to build a family of their own. In a study published in the Journal of Advertising Education, respondents expressed a strong interest in starting their own family, with as much as 93.3% of women and 94.6% of men stating that they saw a family in their future. This is something to consider when offering benefits.
The same study then questioned the participants about their parental leave expectations. When asked, “After having a child and assuming the company you work for offers paid paternity leave, would you take it?” 100% of women and 91.
9% of men reported they would take the leave. Moreover, 86.4% of women and 91.9% of men said they would also expect their partner to take paid family leave. This may be an important consideration when looking at long-term hiring.
If you’re looking to building a relationship with your hires and cultivate loyalty then you need to offer benefits that make your organization appealing for the long-haul. If you help Gen Z job seekers envision themselves at your company for a long period of time then they’re more ly to stick with you. Give them reasons to commit to you.
Wrapping it up
Arguably one of the most important assets of any organization is its people. As employers amp up their efforts to attract and retain the job-seeking force of Generation Z, they need to start paying attention to the main characteristics of these as well as how these differ from previous generations.
Generation Z will help you grow your business if you let them, but you need to be willing to see things from their perspective first and to understand how their experience has shaped their own views and character. By understanding their working patterns, as well as their goals and aspirations, you’ll be able to connect with them and find loyal workers devoted to your company’s mission.
How to Manage Gen Z Workers
- Generation Z already makes up 24% of the global workforce, and that's only going to grow larger in the coming years.
- These digital-native workers are the most diverse group ever to enter the workforce.
- Companies must show they are diverse, environmentally conscious, and on board with inclusion if they want to recruit and retain Gen Z workers.
- This article is for small business owners who have Gen Z workers on their payroll or are looking to recruit and retain them.
Most of the attention may be on millennials – a generation that has eclipsed even the baby boomers in size – but Generation Z is starting to be noticed as it enters the workforce.
There's good reason for this: According to ManpowerGroup, Gen Z will make up 24% of the global workforce by the end of this year. By 2030, that figure will jump to 30%. As it stands, 9 million Gen Zers are contributing to businesses across the U.S.
These digital natives are the most diverse group to enter the workforce, which means recruiting, retaining and managing them requires a unique approach. But before your small business can do that, it is important to learn what makes Gen Z tick.
Who is Generation Z?
Generation Z, which encompasses those born roughly between 1996 and 2015, is coming of age in tumultuous times. They witnessed the Great Recession and what it did to their parents' jobs and homes.
They're living through a global pandemic that has led to record unemployment, an environmental crisis that threatens the globe, and political and civil unrest. This impacts how they approach work and life.
Warren Wright, president of Coaching Millennials, said Gen Zers want to work with organizations that can provide them security and stability.
“They are growing up in a time of chaos, an age of disruption,” Wright told Business News Daily. “As a result of that, they are very cautious.”
Generation Z is also a highly educated and technologically savvy group. The younger ones have no memory of life before smartphones and mobile apps. Because they are so racially and ethnically diverse, they demand equality for everyone. According to a Generation Z survey by Deloitte, Gen Zers will turn down a job if diversity and inclusion aren't front and center at the company.
“One thing is loud and clear: Generation Z is extraordinarily socially aware to the issues of race, equality, climate and gender,” Wright said. “They are very much an activist generation. They expect leadership to be authentic about their beliefs.”
the millennials before them, Generation Z cares a lot about changing the world. They have a sense of purpose and want to align with businesses and employers that match their values and ideals. They are the ones using public transportation, eating less meat and avoiding fast fashion to help the environment. Gen Z is also driving positive change in their communities.
“They are not afraid to strengthen or cut ties with businesses that don't match their personal values,” said Christine Selph, global eminence and engagement leader at Deloitte. “During the pandemic, 70% of Generation Z made an extra effort to buy from local businesses.”
Key takeaway: Gen Zers were born in tumultuous times and crave stability. As the most diverse generation, they care a lot about inclusion, the environment and social justice.
What characteristics define Gen Z?
Without a doubt, Generation Z has lived through unrestful times in their formative years, from the Great Recession to the #MeToo and social justice movements. As a result, they bring distinct characteristics to the workplace.
They're tech savvy
Gen Zers take their smartphones everywhere, use social media to its full potential, and expect to work for companies that prioritize technology.
Unsurprisingly, they tend to be drawn to the tech industry.
According to a Dell Technologies study of 12,000 Gen Z individuals, 80% aspire to work with innovative technology, while 91% said technology would be the deciding factor between two similar jobs.
That doesn't mean they don't care about fields where they can help the greater good. The Deloitte survey found they're also drawn to education and healthcare.
Career development is a priority for them
millennials, Generation Z is an independent group. But while millennials are drawn to entrepreneurship and startups, Generation Z prefers to move up the corporate ladder.
Workers in this age group want challenges and career development without too much risk. A survey by InsideOut Development found that 40% of Gen Zs want jobs with security and stability.
Companies that can give them both an entrepreneurial environment and stability stand to win.
They want detailed instruction
Gen Zers expect a lot of instruction from their managers. They grew up watching videos to learn how to do anything. They had Google and hovering parents to guide them through their assignments.
“You need to be more explicit, and you need to use technology to do that,” Wright said. “Slack and Teams are there for a reason – to help you communicate and clarify goals. The more detailed you are in your instructions and what needs to be accomplished, the better off you'll be.”
Diversity is their gamebreaker
Generation Z is the most diverse group to enter the workforce yet – in terms of not just race, but also gender. As a result, they expect diversity to be a top priority for their employers.
That means things gender-neutral bathrooms, equal pay for equal work, and support for racial inclusion movements such as Black Lives Matter.
According to Deloitte, Gen Z is the most ly group to have individuals who identify as nonbinary.
“It's imperative employers show their commitment to making the world a better place,” Selph said. “Since we know Gen Z cares about societal impact and social justice, companies need to provide opportunities for them to engage in their communities and prioritize diversity and inclusion.”
They question everything
Against the backdrop of the Great Recession, the global health and climate crises, and societal unrest, it's not surprising that Gen Z is more suspicious than older generations. They are cautious and skeptical, and aren't afraid to question everything and everyone, including their managers.
They are also adept at deciphering between what's fake and what's true. They have better skills and intellect in that area than the older generations, according to Wright.
A recent Axios survey backs up that assessment, finding that 83% of Gen Zers get their news from social media or other online sources, but only 7% think it's trustworthy.
Mental health is top of mind
Generation Z workers have a lot of reasons to be stressed out, from the high unemployment rate to the cost of a college degree. Another recent Deloitte survey found that 48% of Gen Zers and 44% of millennials felt stressed or anxious all or most of the time. It's no wonder Gen Zers care a lot about their mental health and want to work for employers who care about it too.
“Employers who have a pulse on the mental health needs of employees are the ones that win the talent war,” Selph said. [Read related article:How to Monitor and Support Employee Mental Health]
Key takeaway: As a general group, Gen Z employees want to work with companies that embrace tech as much as they do, give detailed instructions for assignments, have diverse and inclusive environments, and care about their mental health.
What are the differences in Gen Z vs. millennials?
Gen Zers and millennials have similar qualities, but there are key differences that affect the way they do their jobs.
Gen Z values stability over risk
Both Generation Z and millennials value their independence, but Gen Z favors a more subtle approach. Instead of joining a startup or launching their own businesses, Gen Zers generally prefer to work at companies that will help them advance their careers.
“[Gen Zers] are the largest group of unemployed [workers] of all generations,” Wright said. “Millennials want purpose and a voice; Gen Z really want practical skills. They can't afford not to be practical.”
Gen Z is even more tech savvy
Millennials workers may not have been born joined at the hip with technology, but they do appreciate companies that embrace smartphones, cloud-based computing and collaboration apps. The digital-native Gen Zers, on the other hand, expect it. Many of them don't even remember life before Snapchat, and TikTok.
“If you ask Gen Z how to change a tire on a car, they are more ly to pop into a video and bring the screen out to the car,” said Jaime Klein, CEO of Inspire Human Resources. “This is a generation that takes great signals from emojis.”
Gen Zers aren't afraid to fail
Millennials have a reputation as the trophy generation that grew up with rewards for even a little effort. That's not the case for Gen Z. They have seen their parents struggle and recover, and they understand that failure isn't the end. According to an EY survey of Gen Zers, 80% view failure as a way to be more innovative.
Key takeaway: Generation Z and millennials are both independent, but Gen Zers want to grow with a company that can give them stability. They aren't afraid to fail and are more tech savvy than millennials.
How do you adapt your culture to appeal to Generation Z?
To recruit and retain Generation Z workers, companies must adapt and transform their cultures. It starts with leading by example, incorporating the values Gen Z holds near and dear.
Take their need to improve the world for starters. A diverse workforce from the top down, equal pay and an environmentally friendly mission all appeal to Generation Z. Companies can't get away with just paying these issues lip service with this group.
“It's important they work with a values-based organization that is very much inclusive,” Klein said. “This is such a big thing for Generation Z, coming at a time when they are more woke.”
Gen Zers may not need constant recognition for a job well done, but they do want to be heard. Employers need to engage with their younger workers, paying close attention to see what issues really matter to them. It's also incumbent on employers to provide the tools and training to help Gen Zers succeed, Selph said.
Retaining Gen Z employees might be easier in times of economic uncertainty, but this group ultimately stays with an organization the environment the employer creates. The good news is that companies are listening and responding.
“This is the first year both millennial and Gen Z [employees] are not inclined to leave a company in two years,” Selph said. She pointed to the Deloitte survey, in which 71% of the Gen Z respondents said companies are doing a good job of creating diverse and inclusive work environments.
“Employers have started to incorporate some of the things millennials and Gen Z have been asking for over the past few years,” Selph said.
Key takeaway: Companies that provide the environment Gen Z craves will receive loyalty in return. That means embracing diversity and inclusion in the office and the C-suite, giving them the tools and training to succeed, and empowering them to make a difference in their communities.
Gen Z Women in the Workplace: What do they want?
Take a look around your office. If you’ve hired any interns or entry-level employees who are 21 and under, you’re already working with the post-millennial generation, also known as Gen Z. With a population of around 61 million in the U.S., the generation born between 1997-2010 will shape companies and office culture for years to come.
There’s a lot to learn about Gen Z, especially what they’re looking for in a career. A recent report from RippleMatch, an automated recruiting assistant for early career hiring, sheds some light on what Gen Z actually wants in the workplace.
Through surveying tens of thousands of college students, RippleMatch found that as a whole, Gen Z highly values professional development and opportunities for upward mobility and is less impressed by things company prestige. The report also broke down Gen Z workplace preferences by gender, race, ethnicity, and education, revealing that what Gen Z cares about most at work depends on who you’re looking at.
So if you’re interested specifically in curating a welcoming environment for Gen Z women, where do you start? Here are some key things to know about what Gen Z women want at work.
Mentorship and Skill-building Opportunities
While some workplace preferences varied across Gen Z segments, professional development still ranked as the most important thing to Gen Z women at work. In fact, professional development is 35% more important to young women than company prestige.
Gen Z as a whole is known for being wary of brands, and well-known employers are no exception.
While a big name ly won’t turn Gen Z women away from a job opening – unless you’re in the news for the wrong reasons – opportunities for professional development are the most essential part of building a great workplace for young women.
A Strong Sense of Community
Following professional development, Gen Z women ranked a strong sense of community as one of their top preferences in the workplace, narrowly edging out upward mobility.
Women value both community and work-life balance about 6-7% more than men do, implying that a close-knit team and healthy culture is preferred over the promise of promotions at a toxic company.
Given the importance of professional development and the fact that upward mobility was ranked as the third most important workplace factor, it’s clear that Gen Z women are poised for highly successful careers. However, young women will look for companies that will allow them to thrive not just as employees, but as people too.
Social Impact Initiatives
One of the biggest differences between what Gen Z women and men value in the workplace is the importance of a company’s social impact, with women ranking it 10% more important than men did.
When it comes to making a difference, the gender divide extends beyond the workplace.
A study by MTV and the Public Religion Research Institute found that young women view things protests more positively than men do and tend to be more politically active and civically engaged than young men.
Black women, for example, valued a company’s social impact higher than any other racial or ethnic group, ranking it 18% higher than white men did.
The attractiveness of a company’s social-driven mission also varies across race and ethnicity. Black women, for example, valued a company’s social impact higher than any other racial or ethnic group, ranking it 18% higher than white men did. Hispanic/Latino women ranked it the second highest across female groups, followed by white women, then Asian women.
Compared to white and Asian women, young black women value a company’s social impact around 5% more. While the importance of a company’s social initiatives is more divided by gender than race or ethnicity, it’s interesting to note who is the most invested in social change, a fact that’s supported through external data the MTV & PRRI study and voting patterns.
The Gen Z workforce wave is just getting started and it’s essential to be informed about what young women want in a career.
Because professional development is so important to Gen Z women, it could be valuable to reach out and mentor a current student, or connect with a new hire.
By helping Gen Z women develop their skills and network now, you can have a hand in shaping a new generation of female leaders.