Younger Workers at Odds with Companies Over Value Systems

Younger Workers at Odds with Companies Over Value Systems

Feb. 21, 2023
Gen Z workers have different ideas about capitalism, work ethic and purpose in the workplace.

As the number of layoffs, both in the tech and other sectors, continues to increase each week, younger workers, especially Gen Z,are paying close attention.

“Roughly 60% of Gen Z workers are choosing to launch their own businesses or work in the gig economy rather than secure a full-time position with an established organization,” said Adam Gefkovicz, co-founder and co-CEO of talent recruiting platform Untapped, an online recruiting company that opened in 2018, and has secured more than 17,000 job offers for candidates with an average hiring time of just four weeks.

“That tells us that younger workers don’t believe that the corporate sector shares the same values as they do and have so little trust in corporate leaders that they would rather take on the riskier proposition of working for themselves,” Gefkovicz says. And he speaks from personal experience as turned down a prestigious full-time role at LinkedIn when he graduated from college five years ago to launch his own company instead.

One value that is an issue for younger workers is capitalism. A recent poll found that 43% of Millennials and Gen Zers hold negative views of capitalism, compared to 32% of Gen X and 24% of Baby Boomers.

Work Ethic

While it’s true that every generation thinks they work harder than the next generation, that’s not exactly true said Gefkovicz .“What most corporate managers aren’t getting is that it is not that young workers lack ambition—they are just ambitious about things other than their careers,” Gefkovicz said. “They want to have more time for volunteer or community work such as combating climate or fighting for social justice. Or they are interested in building stronger relationships with family members or friends, which require care and nurturing. Working 70 or 80 hours a week for a corporation doesn’t help them achieve these bigger goals.”

Technology and the Role of Work

As AI moves further into the workforce, it raises job issues as well. A study from the World Economic Forum, another study from the group shows that AI will create more jobs than it will take. The report estimates that 85 million jobs will be displaced while 97 million new jobs will be created across 26 countries by 2025.

“While there is no doubt that AI will allow society to resolve some extremely complex issues, it also raises tough questions about the value of human beings in relation to the nature of work, creativity and the human experience. We need to be having such conversations now and with workers of all generations if we are going to be able to successfully negotiate this next phase in the evolution of work.”

Work as Part of a Broader Purpose

In a report by Lever, 42% of Gen Zers said that would prefer to work for a company that gives them a sense of purpose as opposed to one that pays more.

In a survey from Porter Novelli, 64% said they believe companies have a role to play in addressing social issues, as compared to 66% of older workers.

And when they make their choice of where to work, 6% say they want to work for a company that is addressing social justice issues and speaking up about it. They don’t expect perfection, the survey found, but 68% said the company should be open and honest talking about social issues (compared to 75% of the older generation.

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