Considering that Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, it is imperative to understand how they will affect the workplace. Gen Z is an umbrella term used to refer to individuals born between 1996/7 and 2010/12. They follow the millennial generation (Gen Y, spanning 1981-1995/6).
While millennials were often considered more idealistic, teamwork-oriented, and possessing a limited ability to multitask across windows and devices, Gen Z excels in these realms. Gen Z individuals are 55% more likely to start a business than millennials. They are also more tech-savvy, choosing communication tools like Slack over face-to-face communication.
However, a tech-heavy workplace is just the start of the changes Gen Z will bring to the table. A 2019 study showed that Gen Z would build a value-driven workplace, with 60% of the surveyed individuals wanting to change the world for the better (compared to 39% of millennials). With Gen Z, we step into the workplace of the future – one driven by personal values, diversity, and greater prosperity.
What does a value-driven Gen Z workplace look like?
A criticism often heard regarding this generation is that they are “too woke.” This phenomenon refers to the social, cultural, political, and economic awareness Gen Z has about the world. However, growing up on the internet rather than with it means that Gen Z is constantly “bombarded” with negative news, as Dr Zachary Blumkin explains. They have more negative information about the world than any previous generation. Then, how surprising is it that they want to change the world?
In the backdrop of these factors, there are two significant areas Gen Z focuses on when choosing a workplace.
- Personal morals. Gen Z is far more likely to choose jobs that align with their morals. As Workforce Institute’s 2019 report revealed – “working for a company that does meaningful work” ranked second among the most significant factors in choosing the first full-time job. Alongside this, Gen Z’ers have expectations about transparency and authenticity from management, with 34% of Gen Z preferring accessible and available senior management. Thus, a Gen Z workplace would be molded along these lines, offering essentials like paid time off and mental health days to promote a better work-life balance.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Representation across race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality is essential to Gen Z. A 2020 Tallo survey revealed some fascinating insights into the generation’s mind in this regard. Out of over 5000 Gen Z’ers surveyed, Tallo found that 88% thought recruiters or potential employers should ask about gender pronouns. Additionally, 69% would be more likely to apply for a job that had an ethnically and racially diverse workplace. Therefore, today, more companies are implementing hiring strategies designed around diversity and inclusion. Such trends allow us to believe that the Gen Z workplace will represent the real world better than its previous versions did.
In 2022, the oldest Gen Z individuals are 24-25 years old. They are still gaining their footing, and the job market is actively shifting to accommodate their interests. Given their value-driven attitude towards prospective employers, we can hope that by the time Gen Z’s successors, Gen Alpha, will come of age, they will enter a workplace that truly celebrates diversity and showcases the realities of the world we live in.