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What Do Gen Z Want From Work?

what do gen z want from work

Gen Z are no longer just "digital natives"[1] creating short videos and "thinking they are better than you"[2]. They are challenging the long-established workplace and initiating the "Great Reshuffle"[3], questioning the traditional, bureaucratic, 9 to 5 day. Instead, Gen Z proposes flexible working with 75% wanting to have multiple roles in a business[4].

Perhaps what has spurred on this change is their entrepreneurial streak. This may have been initiated from their childhood. Unlike Millennials, they grew up during an economic recession which means they tend to be more pragmatic.[5]


Young people take responsibility in driving their own career. 71% believe the phrase ‘if you want it done than do it yourself.’[6]


So, what does this mean for work? Well, it is not perhaps what you would initially think as 77% expect to work harder than previous generations[7] with 58% saying they were willing to work nights and weekends for extra pay, compared to 45% of Millennials and less than 40% of Gen X and Baby Boomers.[8]

what generation z want from workThere are many other ways this generation differs to those who have come before it, perhaps it is because they are "more racially and ethnically diverse"[9] with 48% coming from ethnic minorities[10]. This increased awareness then spills over into the workplace as 72% think a lack of diversity in work is the most critical issue today[11]. Therefore, Gen Z wants a workplace for everyone, without discrimination, and that aligns with their values.

How can a company appeal to the best of the generation? The way people are attracted to businesses is changing as 74% of Gen Z rank the purpose of a business ahead of the paycheck when looking for a potential employer[12]. Gone are the days when how attractive the company is was based simply on monetary value. The new working generation expects more; 54% would take a pay cut to work for a business that reflects their ethics, on average sacrificing more than 27% of their salary[13].

Another difference with Gen Z is that they are not afraid to quit if a job is not suited to their values. Retention rates in early careers are low with 79% having considered leaving their current employer with 21% doing so for a better benefits package[14]. So, what benefits do they expect? Gen Z are increasingly aware of the effects of ill mental health and 93% believe their employers can do more to strengthen relationships across the business[15] with another 44% seeking mental health schemes at work believing it’s a benefit companies should be providing.[16]

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40% say their employer does not offer any health or wellbeing services[17] yet 88% are willing to participate in Learning & Development programmes if offered.[18]


In summary, Gen Z expects organisations to have the same mindset as them when it comes to diversity and company culture with 66% wanting a culture built on health and wellbeing[19]. To be able to retain and attract the best of the generation, employers need to understand that health and welfare rank above pay as a motivator. Without such benefits, you are likely to be unable to keep your early careers workforce. In fact, there is a substantial gap in the market where recruiters cannot understand how to appeal to Gen Z with only 28% of employers equipped to attract the generation and accommodate their needs[20]. It is time for a change.

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[1] Marc Prensky 2 Forbes 3 LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner 4 Zero Cater 5 Business Insider 6 Ryan Jenkins 7 World Economic Forum 8 Monster Survey 9 Pew Research Report 10 Pew Research Report 11 World Economic Forum 12 Monster Survey 13 Bupa 14 Perkbox 15 Perkbox 16 Women In Stem 17 Perkbox 18 Business Insider 19 LinkedIn 20 YouGov & Applaud