As seen in part I of our three-part series on generation Z, we know that this new and upcoming generation of workers is a tidal storm of change that will hit the corporate world and shake things up. In this piece, we shall delve deeper into what this generation’s expectations are from the workplace that they will join so that the employer doesn’t get caught unawares. We have compiled a list of their expectations that we found recurring trends when Gen Z candidates look for a job, according to Forbes, Deloitte, and other such industry big-shots.
Value-based career selection:
Gen Z expects that the job they choose adds meaning and value to their personal life as a priority rather than focusing on them adding value to the company.
Because they are also going through so many global events, like a significant pandemic, international aggression, and economic recession, they have a laser focus on what they want and how their job impacts their world. Consumers have always been conscious of what they buy, what the brand stands for, ethics, morals, and values. They follow the same trend while looking for a job. According to “The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey,” nearly half (49%) of the respondents said they had made choices on their career path and potential employers they’d like to work for based on the organization’s values and ethics.
The Great Resignation:
This global social phenomenon can shake companies worldwide, where employees are taking agency into their own hands and leaving jobs that make them feel like they aren’t working in line with their code of morals or society’s best interest.
The popular trend started when the American administration refused to provide employee benefits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, a shift to work-from-home culture, a desire to move into a more suitable profession, and long-term goals fuelled this new trend.
Industries should be wary that being slow in social growth or being resistant to change will not be able to survive the storm of Gen Z’s crusade against unethical practices.
Social and Environmental impact:
According to Gen Z, companies should be not only non-damaging to the environment and to the marginalized sections of society, but they should also take it a step further and do their bit to help out. They wish to work in a place with a strong stand on matters like these and not just be a profit-generating operation. Employers can help them actualize their vision by leveraging their passion, establishing company activities that reflect the same, and policies for change like ESGs (employee support groups), and VTO (volunteer time off).
This generation spent a good chunk of their critical college years in a remote setting, and any jobs they had were primarily the work-from-home kind. That fuelled by the staunch belief in a good work-life balance leads to Gen Zs demanding a flexible work schedule. This flexibility does entail coming into work physically and experiencing a classical formal work setting. Still, at the same time, they vie for part-time, choice of remote or in-person work hours, more of a project-based contract rather than an hour-based workday.
The classic 40-hour, 9-to-5 workweek is not what these young workers want since they prefer space to pursue personal and professional fulfillment on their terms.
At Wonolo, recently published data showed that many Gen Zs are gravitating toward gig work as a flexible way to pay off student loans and focus on other entrepreneurial endeavors and personal passions. Enabling employees to work from other offices or remotely from a location they have aspired to live or providing the flexibility to pursue a graduate degree part-time allows Gen Z to grow professionally and personally.
Pro change environment:
Deloitte asked employees what they thought led to company success; 40% of Gen Z respondents cited flexibility and adaptability; this sentiment was notably higher than those who listed “expertise and proficiency in the roles for which employees were hired” (24%) and having “values that align with our organization” (14%). The promising news is the same survey found that more than 60% of Gen Z respondents said their companies had developed policies to support flexible working hours and personal and sick leaves, pushing for reforms like paternity leave, mental health support, and better healthcare packages, etc.
These new workers are but recent graduates, many of whom have crushing student loans to repay. The class of 2019 graduated with an average of $29,900 in private and federal student loan debt. They want not just a paycheck from their place of employment but support in the non-professional parts of their lives. Some employers are doing loan assistance programs, like Chegg, Estee Lauder, and Google, which is not all that commonplace yet, but with more new entrants in the job market, it is a trend that is slowly on the rise. There are other ways of ensuring fiscal fitness for employees, which is something they actively want, like financial planning services.
Perks and benefits:
Many fresh entrants are looking for jobs that give them additional benefits. Lifestyle benefits like gym and wellness center memberships, or even more popular since covid has been the rising number of mental health services, meditation services, and holistic programs being offered. Many employers have begun offering free access to meditation apps or counseling apps to keep employees’ minds fit. According to Forbes, new lifestyle perks such as flexible spending accounts for items or activities that keep employees healthy and well-rounded have also emerged as a popular perks. These allow employees to expense anything within a specific dollar limit — from a once-in-a-lifetime ski experience to art supplies to a subscription to the opera — that helps them to unwind, expand their horizons and let off steam.
This gives us a good idea of some of the baseline expectations that Gen Z employees have. The reason to carefully consider their expectations and understanding how they work and function are extremely critical to the smooth functioning of companies and enterprises since a company is but its employees. Their demands are some very new concepts and things that Gen Xers could never fathom. Due to the left-field nature of these expectations, being prepared and meeting them midway is of utmost importance that the employers know where these are coming from and what is feasible for them to change and develop, so both parties are satisfied and on the same page.
● Hussain (2022), India Times. https://bit.ly/3tYl2Eu
● Evans- Reber (2021), Forbes. https://bit.ly/3u120gy
● Argento (2021), Student Loan Hero. https://bit.ly/38cZ4oG