Written on: 13 April 2022
Written by: Frances Hardcastle
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Generation Z are turning 25. The generation born between 1997 and 2012 are often characterised as TikTok-obsessed teens, but the reality is that more than half of Gen Z are over 18 and are joining the workforce in droves.
Feel old yet? Fear not, gentle reader - allow this aged millennial to be your guide.
According to 2020 figures, Generation Z make up 19% of the UK population. Meanwhile it’s estimated that 20% of the UK workforce fall into the Generation Z age bracket.
Generation Z embrace inclusivity, empathy, and sustainability. As a result of these core values, this group can bring unique skills, insights, and principles to the workplace, with the potential to make a big difference in the way we work.
In this blog, we’ll cover what younger people are looking for in the workplace, how Gen Z’s core values define their approach to work, and how managers can effectively harness Generation’s Z extraordinary work ethic.
So, what is it that younger people want from their career? While social media might give you the impression that Gen Z want selfie walls, ping pong tables and on-site fitness, the data tells a different story.
According to an in-depth survey of Generation Z’s approach to work, 30% of 16-25 year olds favour comprehensive employee benefits – such as paid sick leave, competitive wages, and generous holiday allowances. By contrast, just 11% of those surveyed prioritised in-office perks such as free snacks, gym access, or a weekly happy hour.
Rather than style-over-substance, Gen Z are drawn to companies who get the basics right.
There are many contradictory reports as to whether Generation Z thrive best in an office or working remotely. Just like the debate workers of all ages have on LinkedIn every week, there’s no right answer. Different people prefer different working environments.
However, there are some key trends and expectations to be aware of – no matter where your youngest colleagues are working:
When it comes to managers, Gen Z identify trust, support, and care as their top leadership traits, while 32% say that they're motivated to work harder and would stay longer in a company if they have a supportive manager.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Gen Z aren’t impressed by authoritarian environments. According to survey results, 33% would be put off by an employer who gave them no say over their work schedule, and 35% "wouldn’t tolerate" being told they couldn’t book holiday when they needed to.
The evidence shows that Generation Z thrive under supportive leadership and are turned off by absolute authority.
As the stats above touched upon, Gen Z have a healthy expectation of work/life balance, and aren’t afraid to ask for it. Whether that’s wanting input over their work schedules, or taking their full holiday entitlement, this is a generation who work to live, rather than live to work.
As a result, flexibility is an important factor. 26% say they’d work harder and stay longer at a company with flexible schedules, and 37% would prefer their employer to offer flexible hours.
What Can We Learn from This?
So, what can we learn from this insight? According to the available research, Generation Z are a group of people with a passion for their interests, strong values, and a lot to contribute to the workplace.
The main takeaways from this data demonstrate a simple truth: young people want to be treated with respect and consideration at work, just like the rest of us. Once you put this principle at the centre of your management philosophy, managing Gen Z is easy.
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