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The priorities for the Gen Z workforce

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We recently looked at how Milliennials have changed the workplace, in terms of work/life balance and their professional goals and expectations, while much has been written about how their attitudes differ to their Baby Boomer or Generation X employers. 

Then, as the first Milliennials from Generation Y were becoming employers themselves, we also took a look at their successors entering the job market: Generation Z. While we outlined who they were and what we might expect, some recent survey results in the USA have underlined our suggestions, as well as highlighted a gulf between what Gen Z think about the world of work compared to previous generations and where their passions lie.

Surveyed on what they thought should be a priority for employers, the four generations mentioned above had progressively varying views, resulting in Baby Boomers and Generation Z being miles apart on most opinions. Some of the standout results included:

Diversity or Merit?

  • As expected, the older generations believe that merit supersedes everything else when it comes to hiring – 45% of Baby Boomers agreed.
  • However, just 15% of Gen Z felt that merit should be the priority
  • 51% of Gen Z want to see diversity as the focal point in hiring, a number that has increased with each generation.

Environment or job creation?

  • 40% of the oldest generation believed that businesses should prioritise their effect on the environment over job creation – that increases to 55% for Gen Z
  • Only 19% of the youngest generation agreed with the statement: “The most important thing in business is to grow jobs, foster entrepreneurship, build growth and satisfy stockholders.”

Climate change – natural or manmade? 

  • Only 11% of Generation Z think that climate change occurs naturally, compared to 36% of Baby Boomers.
  • Not even half of the oldest generation think that humans have seriously impacted the climate.

While the stats move in the same direction across the four generations surveyed, there is a stark jump when it comes to Gen Z, even when their answers are compared to those of the Millennials before them. This suggests that they are firm in their beliefs and are looking for employers to change accordingly. We already know a lot of what they think about work/life balance and careers, but the interesting takeaway for employers from these survey results is the importance those entering the job market today place on bigger picture issues and how the stance a business takes could affect their decisions on where they work.

Definitive answers on subjects such as climate change, the environment and diversity mean that employers will not only have to be on board with all of those items high on the agenda, but will also have to prove their authenticity if they want to attract the best young talent on the market.