Gen Z workplace myths busted

There’s little question that the impression of the pandemic and the Nice Resignation on our nation is unprecedented. Nineteen million workers stop their jobs between March and July this yr. Job openings surged to an all-time high of 10.1 million in June. 

Whereas informative, these numbers are inherently flawed as a result of they don’t differentiate between generations—which implies that they aren’t telling us the entire story. Give it some thought: there’s a giant distinction between a 37-year-old Millennial who has been working for 15 years and a 22-year-old Z who’s simply coming into the workforce. What every appears to be like for in a job is wildly totally different, however the information doesn’t give us perception into their distinctive needs and desires.

To rectify this, we carried out a research of 500 Zs throughout the USA, ages 18–24. Our objective? To raised perceive what Zs actually need and the way firms can create work environments (in addition to compensation and advantages packages) that may each entice and retain this gifted, inventive era. As we reviewed our findings, one factor rapidly turned clear: What Zs anticipate from potential employers is far totally different from what the earlier era anticipated. If we wish to entice and retain Zs, we have to acknowledge they aren’t Millennials.


The created narrative round compensation

Listed below are the primary two bombshells we found within the outcomes of our survey: distant work is being overrated. And salaries—yeah, that really issues to Zs fairly a bit. Sixty-one p.c of Zs advised us honest pay and advantages are most vital to them. 

In the meantime, distant work—which has develop into the assumed desire for youthful employees who entered the workforce in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic—isn’t that huge of a precedence for Zs. In truth, in our research, solely 34% of Zs rated distant work choices of their prime three most-important job advantages, and solely 30% of Zs wished a completely distant place.

Together with honest pay, one other space of emphasis was psychological well being help. Fifty-one p.c positioned this expectation within the prime three most vital issues they search for in a job—and that desire held true throughout ages, geography, and political affiliation. It is a robust indication of how broadly Zs prioritize (and have de-stigmatized) psychological well being. 

Clearly, Gen Z’s concentrate on psychological well being and wellness is a generational hallmark—one which employers would do nicely to heed. However what does that really seem like in observe?

The parable round psychological well being 

When Gen Z talks about psychological well being help, they aren’t speaking about squishy self-care. For them, psychological well being has a medical foundation.

Based on a Nationwide Institutes of Well being research, one in three folks ages 13–18 will experience an anxiety disorder. Teen suicide rose 56% between 2007 and 2017.


It ought to come as no shock, then, that Zs need paid-time-off—assume sick days, not trip days—to care for his or her psychological well being. In addition they need mental-health advantages, like remedy, they usually need employers to emphasise a greater work/life stability.

It may be exhausting for prior generations to empathize with Zs on this. In many years previous, lengthy hours, poisonous management, harassment, discrimination, and workplace dysfunction have been the norm.

Permissive attitudes in direction of poisonous workplace behaviors are quickly shifting, although, and older generations must shift too. If firms need Zs of their workforce, they need to embrace the cultural shift that’s occurring round psychological well being and the way persons are handled at work.

The distant work fallacy

Let’s return to the subject of distant work. A part of the explanation our outcomes confirmed that working remotely is a low precedence for Zs is that they really wish to work in an workplace. In truth, 70% of respondents mentioned they most well-liked a hybrid work mannequin (48%) or working principally within the workplace (22%). Solely 30% of Zs who took our survey wished to work principally remotely.

That’s fairly stunning, proper? Nicely, for those who think about the context, it begins to make extra sense why Zs really feel this fashion. Due to the pandemic, most Zs by no means had in-person internships or have taken a enterprise journey. Many working Zs have by no means even set foot in a bodily workplace.

That’s why the overwhelming majority of Zs are wanting to expertise what it’s wish to work in an workplace. They wish to get out of their home (which has served as each faculty campus and workplace for the previous two years) and set up a routine. They wish to meet different younger professionals and expertise the sense of neighborhood and connectedness that’s solely doable in individual.

In addition they wish to collaborate with others and obtain mentorship on a deeper degree than they’ve skilled earlier than. Whereas Zs are very snug interacting digitally, in addition they understand there’s a sure degree of connection that may solely be achieved when persons are face-to-face.

The reality about conventional jobs

On the finish of the day, Zs aren’t towards conventional jobs. They only need firms to take the time to know what their era prioritizes (and why), then craft workplaces and roles that ship on these expectations. Whereas this will likely appear egocentric, it’s not—Zs are acutely conscious that what they’re asking for advantages everybody within the workforce, not simply their era, they usually’re keen to demand the modifications that result in a greater work setting for all.

My recommendation? Don’t consider Zs because the era that opts out of the normal workplace. As a substitute, consider them as opting into jobs that ship a brand new form of workplace tradition, and shift what you provide accordingly. When you do this—provide this era what it needs and desires—it is possible for you to to draw and retain Zs, even within the face of the Nice Resignation.

AnneMarie Hayek is a cultural guide, generational skilled, and founding father of International Mosaic and ZSpeak. She is the writer of Technology We: The Energy and the Promise of Gen Z.