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Gen Z

As children, most Gen-Zs (born between 1997-2012) will have been raised with the mantra, “if you can dream it, you can do it”. There is the belief that this generation has access to better opportunities and futures than their predecessors. But what happens when Gen-Zs actually grow up and go to work?

Research shows us that they call out for greater flexibility, more variation in job roles, evidence of a diverse and inclusive workforce, and the chance to bring ideas to the table. In short, they bring disruption to the game and are unlikely to rest until their calls are answered.

What’s more, as quickly as Gen-Zs are entering the workforce, it seems that they have little to no hesitation in leaving either. Indeed, a recent Adobe study showed that 56% of 18-24-year-olds are planning to change jobs within the next year.

It could be easy to interpret the above statistic as a reactive response or a collective piggybacking off the ‘Great Resignation’ which saw 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 alone. However, it would be unwise to assume that this is a bluff, as Gen-Zs tend to spend an average of 8 months to 1.3 years per employment which shows that this generation is doing anything but crying wolf about finding something better.

From an organisational perspective, this begs the question of how businesses can both attract and retain great talent from this generation; and more, what can they really add to the ever-changing landscape of work?

Despite the perfectly curated Instagram photos of #wealth, you might find some Gen-Zs double-tapping, research has shown that money isn’t always the primary driving factor for choosing a particular workplace. Therefore, it’s important to dive into what this generation really does want from a job.

Surveys have shown that Gen-Zs, as a demographic, are deeply committed and passionate about actioning change with respect to various important social agendas. It is not nice to have, but a prerequisite for employers to truly lead by doing. As such, they are more likely to seek out workplaces in which they can really see diversity, inclusion and a commitment to environmental consciousness in action. From this, it’s evident that this generation is all about seeking impact and purpose, even if it’s uncomfortable to make it happen. What is more, they want to be able to have a voice at work and be part of the change - in their own Gen-Z unique way.

Being digital natives, most Gen-Zs will not have lived a day on this Earth without the internet existing. As such, there is an innate understanding of how this technology works and how it can be used to propel businesses forward and instil change. It’s reported that 68% of Gen-Zs have above-average coding in their skillset already. This type of technological knowledge and intelligence doesn’t have to be confined purely to roles in the tech industry but can have true impact and positive change in any role if the flexibility is accommodated.

On the subject of flexibility in work… it can either bring delight or dismay. But for this generation, it is met with open arms. Surveys from Deloitte bank have shown a staggering 2/3rds of under 35s want permanent remote work. It’s no wonder the notion of brick and mortar offices is becoming more obsolete considering most Gen-Zs will have completed a portion of their studies online from home. Of course, there are various issues that need to be addressed with regards to remote work (e.g., work/life balance), but what this offering can provide is a space for people to bring their A-game to work when and where it suits them - empowerment and autonomy in their roles...

It is clear that this generation can and wants to bring value to their workplace. And after all, change is the only constant in life, and so it might be worth reconsidering how businesses can embrace the disruptiveness this generation brings and how to use their skills and values to leave a lasting legacy.

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