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Gen Z Says It’s the Hardest-Working Generation

In addition to working hard, Gen Z believes they “had it the hardest” when entering the working world compared to all other generations before it.

Different views of work often characterize particular generations of workers. Well Gen Z is no different.  A new study found that 32% of Gen Z respondents say they are the hardest-working generation ever, and 36% believe they “had it the hardest” when entering the working world compared to all other generations before it.

The study, from the Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, surveyed 3,400 members of Generation Z 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.  "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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