What Gen Z Want from Work

Written by Steven Marwick
Author

There is a lot of research going on at the moment to find out what Gen Z want from work. The term Gen Z or “Generation Z” is the generation after the “Millennials”. Generation Z is largely defined as those who were born between the years 1996 and 2012, so they will be somewhere between 10 and 26 years old at the moment. 

For the next ten years, they will be the predominant group who are entering the workforce, so it makes sense to try to understand how their needs and desires when it comes to the world of work can be met.

Luckily, there have already been several studies on the issue and one survey in particular from the BBC found that this generation was much more aware and concerned about the treatment of LGBT+ people, they had a real commitment to gender equality and were strongly against racism in all of its forms. We look at some of the information in more detail below. 

What Gen Z Want from Work: Workplace Diversity

Generation Z is the most open-minded of the generations to date and when asked, it is obvious that what Gen Z wants from work is more effort to increase diversity in the workplace and they are willing to put in the work to make that happen. 

LGBT+

Many people in Generation Z are either openly LGBT+ themselves or have grown up with friends who are. As a result, they are much more accepting of difference than even Millennials in this regard, according to the research cited earlier. Those who aren’t LGBT+ are very likely to  consider themselves to be “allies” and will be fiercely protective of LGBT+ friends and colleagues.

They value the idea of diversity in the workplace and can’t see a good reason why their values may not be reflected in their place of work. This may be a good time for employers to brush up on their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy if they wish to attract Gen Z workers going forward.  

Gender Equality

Compared to previous generations, Gen Z is far less likely to tolerate disparities in pay between the different genders. This is one generation which seems determined to consign the whole idea of a gender pay gap to the dustbin of history and rightly so. This is an area that is long overdue for the kind of radical change that Generation Z looks set to bring. The gender pay gap has been an insidious part of working life in the UK for decades and there is much more of an awareness from Generation Z men as much as women that this is a problem needing to be addressed.       

Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds

People from Generation Z are far more likely to value having colleagues and friends from different ethnic backgrounds. This is the generation that followed the Black Lives Matter movement so closely at home and abroad and it has left its mark on their priorities and interests in a positive way. If there isn’t true inclusivity in the workplace, Generation Z will be the first to question why this is the case and what is being done to resolve it. 

What Gen Z Want from Work: Better Work-Life Balance

Generation Z has seen the toll that a poor work-life balance has taken on their parents and relatives and is keen not to fall into the same trap. They have a realistic approach to work, don’t see it as their defining feature and have a keen appreciation that their time means a lot more than just making money for a company that doesn’t particularly value them. 

If they could afford to do so, many Gen Z would choose to work fewer hours in order to spend more quality time with the people that they love, whether friends or partners. 

What Gen Z Want from Work: Flexible Working

One of the things that Generation Z wants from work is the chance to work in a flexible manner that fits in with their lifestyle. They aren’t necessarily looking for 9 to 5 work and some of the jobs that they are choosing are those that can be done in an asynchronous fashion. 

By that we mean they may be programmers who do a lot of their best work at night from home when the rest of their office-based colleagues are sleeping. Having the freedom to work at the times that suit them most can also help with things like childcare, so they can be around and “present” for the kids during the day and then get some productive work done in the evening.  

What Gen Z Want from Work: True Remote Working Possibilities

Generation Z has become accustomed to the possibilities that have been opened up by working from home during the pandemic and they are unwilling to readily relinquish these, particularly when it comes to true remote jobs that can be done from anywhere.

When surveys have been done on how people feel about the return to the office vs work from home and remote work, the demographic least in favour of returning to the office seems to be the younger part of the workforce, which would encompass Gen Z. 

There has recently been a trend of companies bringing together information on remote working opportunities and marketing them to this group. The advertising typically shows some of the amazing places in the world that can be worked from and often includes photos of beautiful young people by a pool, with a laptop. 

It definitely feeds into the desire of young people to have the best of both worlds and being able to travel for extended periods of time while working sounds like an ideal lifestyle for many people. 

Many are attracted to programmes such as Remote Year which allow them to travel the world as part of a group of remote workers who they can socialise with and get to know. It is also a chance to visit places that they may not otherwise have ever thought to visit or where they maybe wouldn’t have had the confidence to go on their own and to live like a local for a month.  

Go to Top