Gen Z at Work: How are Generation Z Changing the Workplace?

Written on: 13 April 2022

Written by: Frances Hardcastle

Topic

[Employers]

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.

Generation Z: Workforce Statistics

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.

What Do Generation Z Want in a Job?

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.

What is the Ideal Work Environment for Gen Z?

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:

  • Generation Z enjoy a smooth user experience in all aspects of their digital lives, and in line with this, they expect to work with modern technology in the workplace. In fact, a recent survey suggested over one in five "wouldn't tolerate" outdated workplace technology.
  • According to a survey of nearly 50,000 16-24 year olds, 63% said that learning new skills was important to them. Whether that's through informal learning, workplace mentoring, or structured training programmes, Gen Z expect to learn and develop as they progress in their career.
  • Clear goals are important to Gen Z. One in four prefer managers to set clear goals up front, and one in five are motivated by a defined path to career advancement.
  • Generation Z value collaboration and personal interactions. While only 17% prefer feedback delivered through technology, 75% would expect to receive feedback from their manager in person. Generally, they also prefer to discuss things as they arise, rather than in a more formal performance review setting.

Managing Generation Z in the Workplace

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.

Related Content: What Makes a Good Mentor?

Generation Z and Work/Life Balance

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.

Sources & Further Reading:

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Written on: 19th May 2022

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