The Emerging Gen Z Workforce
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Generation Z, the cohort born from the mid-90s to the early 2010s, otherwise known as iGen or GenTech, is beginning to enter the workforce. While it’s easy to look at Gen Z as too young to be focused on their careers, the reality is that the oldest members of this cohort are finishing college and entering the workforce right now. Gen Z is about to dominate the labor pool.
Many of our MYN Group team members are part of Gen Z, and we’ve learned a lot about supporting and educating iGen in the workplace. We want to help you learn about how iGen’s background, needs, and desires differ from other working generations so you can best bolster and understand your Gen Z hires. If you haven’t worked with a Gen Z-er yet, you will be soon: the iGen cohort is 32% of the global population, or 2.47 billion people.
Gen Z grew up in arguably one of the most acute periods of change in our history. It weathered an insecure world during events such as September 11, the Great Recession of 2008, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. Members watched their parents lose jobs during the Great Recession not from poor performance, but rather because of the global unemployment crisis. They were told about the importance of education, only to see others work for years to pursue worthless college degrees and get stuck in debt. The insecurity created by these events made them wary of employer institutions.
Along with devastating world events, Gen Z also grew up during the Digital Revolution. It is the first generation to be digitally fluent (hence the nicknames iGen and GenTech), which means that their work methods differ drastically from other generations. iGen, for example, is much more likely to expect technology from the workplace (including 37% saying that work laptops are “essential” to their future jobs vs 30% across other working generations). Technology and digital fluency are crucial to Gen Z.
iGen also has its own unique employment trends. Gen Z is the first generation with the widespread ability for office jobs to work remotely (which has become especially normalized after the COVID-19 pandemic). While working from home can be a positive, the influx of opportunities to work from anywhere increases the likelihood that employers will get “ghosted” by Gen Z members. 43% of Gen Z hires say they have accepted a position offer and disappeared before work begins. This number decreases to 26% for Millennials and only 13% for Baby Boomers.
What Gen Z Wants:
Mental Health Support. 34% of Gen Z claims mental health is holding them back from professional success. A workplace that understands and prioritizes anxiety around work expectations is important to iGen.
Transparency & Authenticity. Having grown up in the age of social media, only 40% of Gen Z-ers call themselves “very trusting.” iGen wants authenticity and openness from its employers to assure they aren’t being taken advantage of in the workplace.
Networking Support. 34% of Gen Z-ers are not confident about having adequate professional connections or experience. Creating a “coffee chats” or another system to promote networking will appeal to and aid Gen Z hires or potential hires.
Work-Life Balance. 39% of Gen Z-ers care about a work-life balance and personal well-being when seeking jobs. A workplace that favors work-life balance will appeal to iGen.
Positive Workplace Relationships. 90% of the Gen Z workforce wants relationships with humans when it comes to their job. 37% worry that technology is weakening their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships. Show potential Gen Z hires how their job role allows them to interact and develop relationships with coworkers.
Technology. As mentioned, iGen is digitally fluent and expects the workplace to incorporate time-saving and convenient technology. 23% of Gen Z members expect texting to be essential to workplace communication.
As iGen begins to overtake the workforce, it’s important to adapt to the generation’s needs by promoting workplace technology or maintaining relationships with startup companies. These adaptations will make your workplace more appealing to young, talented hires who will plan to stay.
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