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What Do Gen Z Workers Want? Pay is Still Top of List

What Do Gen Z Workers Want? Pay is Still Top of List

Dec. 9, 2021
But social responsibility is important as well with nearly 1 in 3 workers saying they would turn down a job due to a company’s negative social impact.

Although it’s unfair to classify an entire generation, we will do it anyway. Generation Z, who are currently 24 and younger, have different ideas than the Millennials, who are now 25 -40.

A study done last year by Zippia, of 1,000 Gen Z job seekers uncovered things we probably knew, but things we might not have. This group, in 2020, made up 24% of the workforce.

First, pay is still important in a job.  Poor pay caused 26% of Gen Z workers to leave their jobs.

After pay, they want health insurance (32%), remote work (25%), and 401k/retirement benefits (25%).

A more unusual, but certainly understandable, request from 7% of the survey respondents was for student loan assistance.

We have repeatedly heard that this generation has a large social conscious and the study revealed this to be true as nearly 1 in 3 say they would turn down a job due to a company’s negative social impact.

As for deal breakers, this one might not be a surprise, especially given the impact of COVID-19. Thirty-six percent say that poor work work-life balance is a deal-breaker when it comes to accepting a job, compared to 28% of millennials. The study showed that this generation knows from where it speaks as it’s the “most stressed generation”, due to long work hours that do not match their work-life balance expectations.

As for the general belief that these young workers won’t stay as long in a job as other generations. Well, this survey found that to be true.  Staying at a job less than a year is alright with 31% of Gen Z, compared to only 20% of millennials, 14% of Gen X, and 20% of baby boomers. And one reason they leave the jobs is that they feel there is a lack of advancement opportunities.

Advancement is key to this generation and they are willing to do what it takes. As many as 93% of Gen Zers spend their own time learning new skills to advance their career --  more than any other generation.

Gen Z Works Hard

This generation has also claimed the title of the "hardest working generation," according to a 2019 study from the Workforce Institute at UKG, which involved 3,400 Gen Zers across 12 countries. 

“Despite younger generations being called lazy by older generations, Gen Zers consider themselves the hardest-working,” said Dan Schawbel, research director, Future Workplace, in a statement. "To inspire them to do their best work, companies must meet them at the starting line – give them training, flexibility, and mentorship. This digital generation, primarily relying on technology to communicate, suffers from anxiety. Thus, Gen Zers are looking for leaders who are trusting, support their needs and express care for them as humans – not just employees. Focusing on Gen Zers' human needs will be the best way to address their workplace needs.”

Below are key findings, which paint a picture of both hopefulness and anxiety for Gen Z:

  • Anxious optimism: 50% of those who are currently serving in an internship and one-third of those working full-time are only “moderately” optimistic about their professional future. This generation feels it has emotional barriers like anxiety (34%), lack of motivation (20%) and low self-esteem (17%) to conquer before they can be successful at work.
  • People over tech: Despite being digital natives, 75% of Gen Zers prefer to receive manager feedback in-person, and 39% prefer to communicate with their team in-person. About one-third of Gen Z measures their success based on how respected they are by their co-workers (34%) and the recognition they receive from their manager (32%).
  • School did not prepare them: Despite record-high enrollment, less than half of Gen Z credits their high school (39%) or college (42%) education for preparing them to enter the working world. Gen Z also says it isn’t prepared to be managed by another person (21%), but that they are well-equipped to handle working in a team (57%); hitting project deadlines (57%), and working with customers (56%).

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