Gen Zers in the workplace
Generation Z, or simply Gen Z, is about to enter the workforce. The latest Monster Multi-Generational Survey paints a clear picture of what to look for from this new generation of workers: their expectations, their views and their values. According to the survey, Gen Zers are entrepreneurial, self-responsible, purpose-driven, money-hungry, tech-savvy, social, mobile and flexible. The older generations they will initially work for will certainly welcome the willingness of Gen Zers to move and work odd hours for their jobs. Yet the desire of Gen Zers to one day strike out on their own may eventually disrupt the landscape of large corporations that we see today.
Surveying a new generation of workers
In January 2016, TNS, a global research firm hired by Monster Worldwide, conducted an in-depth survey of 2000 individuals across four generations of current and likely future U.S. workers. The Monster Multi-Generational Survey included respondents from Generation Z, aged fifteen to twenty, who were either working or planning to work. 60 million strong, more than three-quarters of Gen Zers were students as of last year.
Expectations, views and values
Purpose-driven:According to the survey, Gen Z is far more purpose-driven than millennials when it comes to the workplace. An overwhelming majority of Gen Zers (74%), versus less than half of millennials (45%), think of their jobs as more than just a paycheck. This is not to say, however, that money is not a strong driver for Gen Zers. They are also more motivated by money (70%) than any other working generation.
Entrepreneurial: Nearly half of Gen Zers (49%) want to own their own business, far more than the survey average (32%).
Self-responsible: Of the four generations surveyed, a greater majority of Gen Z respondents (76%) consider themselves responsible for their own careers than any other generation. Compare this to millennials, who came in at 64%, the lowest percentage of the four generations.
Tech and networking savvy: It will come as no surprise that Gen Zers value new technologies more than other working generation. Although they certainly value their laptops and smartphones more than the average respondent, when it comes to texting the difference begins to approach two to one, and with social networking it surpasses two to one.
Mobile and flexible: A strong majority of Gen Zers (67%) are willing to move if they find the right job. Moreover, a significantly greater percentage of Gen Zers (58%) are willing to work nights and weekends than the survey average (41%).
What to expect in the workplace
How well Generation Z will perform in the workplace depends in part on how open older generations are to their differences in values and expectations. Perhaps the most striking difference is how much more driven Generation Z seems to be than their older counterparts. This may simply be the bright-eyed, idealistic optimism expected of a generation that technically hasn't entered the workplace in full force yet. Will their idealism quickly dampen to the degree that it has with millennials? A few years in the workforce may tell.
One thing, however, is certain. Their new bosses won't complain about Gen Zers willingness to work odd hours to get the job done, or to move across the country to start their new career. Yet large, highly-structured companies may find themselves uneasy with this new generations' need for autonomy. And unless Gen Zers' eagerness to strike out on their own fizzles out, they could slowly erode the ranks of large corporations.
Preparing for Generation Z
It's only a matter of months before Generation Z, or simply Gen Z, begins to enter the workforce in rapidly rising numbers. Their expectations, views and values have already come to light, at least if the latest Monster Multi-Generational Survey is any indication. Under the influence of Generation Z, we should expect the U.S. workforce to slowly grow more purpose-driven, money-hungry, entrepreneurial, self-responsible, tech-savvy, social, mobile and flexible. While we'll have to wait and see if Gen Z's purpose-driven idealism survives the reality check of their first few years in the workplace, their new bosses will certainly welcome their willingness to relocate and work nights and weekends to get the job done. Yet their strong urge to eventually strike out on their own may challenge the status quo of corporate America.
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