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What HR pros must recognize about Generation Z in the workplace

Posted by Deepshikha Shukla

December 16, 2021    |     3-minute read (593 words)

Generation Z is the youngest workforce in the U.S., comprising individuals born in 1997 or later, with the eldest members 24 years old in 2021. Apart from being extremely tech-savvy, members are considered to be part of the most inclusive, politically motivated, fashion-forward and open-minded generation ever.

LinkedIn’s recent Workforce Confidence survey of 5,000 U.S.-based members finds that around 65% of Gen Z job seekers have either switched industries or are considering it.

Reasons why Generation Z is ready for a change 

Respondents to LinkedIn’s Gen Z survey cited the following six factors as reasons for switching industries:

  1. 72% … better compensation.
  2. 69% … better alignment with their interests or values.
  3. 59% … more opportunities to move up.
  4. 52% … better benefits.
  5. 42% …  job stability.
  6. 41% … more flexible hours.
The survey confirms what other research has found: Gen Z job seekers care deeply about quality-of-life factors like benefits, job stability and flexibility. At the earliest stage of their careers, earning more and advancement are their prime motivators for job switching. 

Meanwhile, a record number of job openings and too few workers to fill them have left 42 states with more available jobs than people looking for work, according to Stateline, a nonprofits news service of the Pew Charitable Trust. This mismatch between job openings and underused talent has likely contributed to Gen Z’s desire for career advancement.

Benefits that keep Gen Z employees loyal 

Even with the record numbers of people quitting their jobs or switching industries in favor of something new, we can’t ignore people who decided to stay. That includes the 35% of Gen Z job seekers who have chosen to stick with their current industries.

The top four factors reported in the survey that are keeping employees (35% of Gen Z job seekers) loyal comprise:

  • Enjoyment of the nature of their work … 86%.
  • Opportunity to build more expertise in their industry … 80%. 
  • Ability to apply, sharpen or grow their skills … 70%.
  • Chance to form/strengthen relationships in their industry … 63%. 
Separately, an April 2021 survey by McKinsey found that 60% of Gen Z employees consider mental health resources vital in selecting an employer, and that 57% deem them decisive in their decision to stay with an employer. This shows that mental health benefits are critical for employers seeking Gen Z talent. 

Gen Z’s expectations in the workplace

Gen-Z workers will make up 27% of the global workforce by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. Businesses are updating their recruiting strategies accordingly, to align their benefits with Gen Z’s priorities. Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft are among companies developing new tactics to attract Gen Z candidates.

Here is a list of Gen Z workers’ most coveted characteristics among employers:

  1. Diversity, equity and inclusion. Some 69% of Gen-Z respondents in a Tallo survey said they are more likely to apply at a company with a racially and ethnically diverse workforce.

  2. Opportunity for positive relationships. According to an EY survey, 90% of Gen-Z workers desire and value a human connection at their workplace.

  3. Good compensation. A higher salary is the top priority for their first job among 54% of Gen Z job seekers, per The Workforce Institute. And 58% of Gen-Z workers are willing to work nights and weekends if it helps them achieve a higher salary, a Monster study found.

  4. Frequent communication. About 66% of Gen Z workers want feedback from their managers at least every few weeks, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics’ “State of Gen Z Annual Research Study.” 

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