In today's fast-changing work environment, businesses are noticing a big shift. The younger generation, known as Generation Z or Gen Z, is becoming a part of the workforce.

The torch of generational influence is moving from the older baby boomers to millennials and Gen Z. This change is causing noticeable differences in the way things work.

Experts predict that Gen Z will become more numerous than millennials in the workplace by 2045. This means that employers need to understand the unique characteristics, dreams, and priorities that define this generation.

In this article, we'll explore what you should understand about Gen Z workers. We'll also look into how to create a balanced work environment that meets their needs.

Man working on a manufacturing site.
Man working on a manufacturing site.

the rise of gen z

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, are digital natives. They grew up in a world filled with always-changing technologies. And they are more connected than previous generations. What else do we know about them?

they're practical and realistic

Gen Z is the first generation to come of age after significant events. They experienced 9/11, the great recession or a global pandemic. These events have shaped their view of the world. For them, job security is a top priority when it comes to choosing a future employer.

Many Gen Zers grew up during times when money was scarce, and the adults around them were facing financial challenges.

As a result, they're cautious about taking risks. They hold a more traditional outlook compared to Millennials who grew up in the prosperous 90s and early 2000s, when they were encouraged to pursue unconventional paths to achieve their dreams.

These young workers are more interested in pursuing stable, traditional jobs like office work. In fact, 36% of Gen Zers expressed a preference for working in an office. And with the advent of remote work, many of them have adopted it.

They prefer non-traditional work arrangements. In particular, those that allow them to work from home, set flexible hours, wear casual attire, or travel frequently.

Would you like to know more about what Gen z employees wants? Download our research on what talent wants.

they value education

Gen Z is following a traditional education path. They are poised to become the most educated generation in history.

They strongly believe in the importance of higher education and view obtaining a degree as the best route to securing a stable, well-paying job.

Approximately 59% of Gen Z has pursued or is on track to complete a post-secondary education, compared to 53% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Xers.

they embrace diversity

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in terms of race and culture in history. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half (48%) of Gen Zers identify as non-Caucasian. This contrasts with earlier generations: Millennials (44%), Gen Xers (30%), and Baby Boomers (18%).

It's highly likely that in the generation succeeding Gen Z, Caucasians will be in the minority for the first time.

Younger generations have grown up in an environment where diversity is the norm, influencing their perspectives, politics, and interactions with people from different backgrounds.

values and priorities

Younger workers put a lot of importance on ethics, social responsibility, and values. An impressive 80% of Gen Z prioritize finding a job that aligns with their values and interests, compared to 59% of Millennials.

This shows how crucial it is to create a workplace culture that matches their beliefs.

flexibility and work-life balance

Flexibility is really important to Gen Z. More than half of them value work arrangements that offer flexibility, like remote work and time off.

They want work to be part of their lives, and this comes from their comfort with technology. They can handle many tasks at once and communicate well in a digital world.

diversity and inclusion advocates

Gen Z is really committed to fairness, diversity, and inclusion. About 59% of them think it's really important.

Employers who support these values will attract them because they want a workplace that's fair and inclusive.

personal freedom and being unique

Gen Z workers want personal freedom, privacy, and self-expression. They like to be themselves and appreciate different viewpoints.

Employers who aim to attract and retain Gen Z workers should think about providing a work environment that prioritizes psychological safety.

Notably, this type of workplace atmosphere doesn't only benefit Gen Z, but it also promotes the retention of workers from all generations.

thinking long-term and developing skills

Even though they're young, Gen Z is focused on stability and their future careers. They want to learn new skills and build a strong foundation for their careers.

building a multi-generational workplace

Understanding what Gen Z wants is important, but it's also good to know that there are things all generations value.

People of all ages want fair pay, chances to grow in their careers, flexible work setups, and meaningful work.

Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, companies should create a plan that fits individual needs.

making the job offer special

Instead of only focusing on the differences between generations, companies should make a job offer that speaks to everyone's desires.

By respecting the differences in what people want at different stages of life, organizations can make a fulfilling work environment for everyone.

In short, Gen Z workers have unique qualities and dreams. Their focus on ethics, diversity, personal expression, and digital skills means companies need to change their strategies.

But by understanding what all generations value and making a work environment that fits different needs, businesses can create a balanced workplace that attracts, keeps, and engages people of all ages.

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