Move over Millennials, Generation Z (born after 1996) is entering the workforce.
While the youngest generation of workers- those under 25- are often lumped in with Millennials, Gen Z is its own entity.
In 2020, Generation Z outnumber Millennials and make up 24% of the workforce. However, just like millennials before them they bring different needs and desires to the workplace.
What can employers expect from the new generation of workers? How do companies attract- and retain- this new, different generation?
US Jobseeker site Zippia conducted a survey 1,000 American job seekers to uncover what Gen Z is looking for- and what they aren’t. The results? Employers and hiring managers have misconceptions about what young workers want.
The key findings of the study included:
- Gen Z’s three most desired benefits are health insurance (32%), remote work (25%), and 401k/retirement benefits(25%).
- Gen Z is 7% more likely than millennials to say “student loan assistance” is a most desired benefit.
- Cubicles aren’t cool, but that doesn’t mean open offices are the solution: 59% of Gen Z prefers to work remotely or in private offices.
- Nearly 1-in-3 Gen Zers say they would turn down a job due to a companies negative social impact.
- 93% of Gen Z workers spend their own time learning new skills to advance their career- more than any other generation.
- Gen Z workers are most likely to turn down a job due to an unpleasant office, long commute, or inflexible work environment.
- 36% of Gen Z say poor work-life-balance is a deal breaker when it comes to accepting a job, compared to just 28% of millennials.
- Shorter work weeks are a bigger priority than PTO for younger workers
- Gen Z is the generation most like to rely on friends, family, and social media when looking for a job
- 66% of Gen Z would consider turning down a job offer after an unwelcoming interview
- 31% believe staying at a job for less than a year is fine, compared to only 20% of millennials, 14% of Gen X, and 20% of baby boomers
- Gen Z leaves jobs sooner than they find appropriate due to lack of advancement opportunities
- Gen Z is the “most stressed generation”, due to long work hours that do not match their work life balance expectations
Benefits are no substitute for competitive pay when recruiting workers. In fact, 27% of Gen Z left their last job due to pay— not because their office was missing a foosball table.
However, a strong benefit package (consisting of benefits job seekers value) can make attracting talented workers easier.
There is a perception that younger workers seek new, fun benefits over more traditional offerings. However, when surveyed, Gen Z’s most desired benefits are healthcare, remote work, and 401k/retirement benefits. Overwhelmingly, these are the most desired benefits of workers of all ages.
Ultimately, to drawn in the majority of Gen Z candidates, HR’s best tool is a strong portfolio of benefits that appeal to all workers.
However, there are some distinct differences. According to Pew Research, Gen Z job candidates are the most highly educated generation yet. Since that education comes with a big bill, it is no surprise that Gen Zers are 7% more likely than millennials to say “student loan assistance” is a most desired benefits.
Gen Z candidates are also more socially conscious than millennials. 3% say charity contributions are one of their most desired benefits. 18% go further, stating a companies negative social impact is a deal breaker when it comes to accepting a job.
Other deal breakers? Unpleasant offices, long commutes, and inflexible work environments.
Many companies align “unpleasant offices” with cubicles, old furniture, and other trappings of the traditional office. This perspective has accelerated the move to open-office to attract talented, young workers, despite compelling research they lower face-to-face collaboration and are disliked by employees.
However, while Gen Z does prefer open offices more than millennials do, it is not their most ideal work environment. 59% of Gen Z prefer to work remotely or in private offices.
As a group, Gen Z values flexible work environments where they have some level of autonomy and the privacy to deep-focus on tasks. Two of the main reasons Gen Z would turn down a job offer come down to office environment; Companies that create pleasant environments aligned with job seekers core values, will see a recruitment benefit.