From Instagram to the Office: How Gen Z is Shaking Up Tradition

How Gen Z is Reshaping the workplace
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Summary

An extraordinary shift is transforming the workplace, driven by advances from AI to Zoom. The rapid expansion of digital technology, accelerated by the pandemic, has fundamentally altered how we work. However, a potentially even more significant change is emerging: the influx of a new generation into the workforce.

Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2009, makes up roughly 2 billion of the global population. By 2025, they are projected to constitute 27 percent of the workforce. As a result, employers are increasingly motivated to adapt and evolve their practices to attract and retain this emerging talent.

However, attracting and retaining them requires understanding and meeting their unique expectations. This includes offering meaningful experiences, development opportunities, and promising career paths. By addressing these needs, we can attract exceptional talent characterized by new skills, innovative thinking, and diverse viewpoints.

How is Gen Z different from earlier generations?

Generation Z, typically born from the mid-1990s through the early 2010s, exhibits distinct characteristics and values that set them apart from their predecessors. Unlike older generations, Gen Z is defined by its profound connectivity, having grown up with the internet and smartphones. This has not only influenced their communication preferences—favouring brief, digital interactions—but also their approach to shopping, learning, and entertainment.

Moreover, they tend to have a strong social and environmental awareness, often prioritizing sustainability and ethical issues in their choices. They are also seen as self-reliant and innovative, driven by a competitive job market and rapid technological advancements that require adaptability.

In essence, Gen Z’s unique experiences have shaped a generation that values efficiency, inclusivity, and authenticity, standing out significantly from those before them.

What do Gen Z want from their careers?

It has been reported that some people have been quitting their jobs without making a fuss, but a recent survey by Deloitte suggests that almost half of the Gen Z population (49%) consider their job as a significant part of their identity. This percentage is lower than that of Millennials (62%). For Gen Z individuals, their family, and friends hold more importance. Therefore, around 42% of them prioritize work-life balance, remote working, and flexible leave when searching for a job.

According to recent studies, while salary remains the most crucial factor in job selection for many individuals, Gen Z places lesser importance on it compared to older generations. Unlike their predecessors, Gen Zs do not necessarily subscribe to the traditional notion of a career ladder, starting at the bottom and gradually moving up the corporate ranks. Instead, they prefer a more flexible and customized approach to their career paths.

Empowerment and flexibility play vital roles in career choices. For example, Generation Z individuals seek more than just companies with hybrid work setups – they desire the autonomy to decide their work locations and schedules. Moreover, Generation Z individuals aim to shape their career trajectories, allowing for flexibility to adjust their paths as needed for skill development and ongoing learning.

Flexibility is key when it comes to changing employers. According to a survey of U.S. students, Gen Z employees may switch jobs as many as 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34.

Achieving a good work-life balance is a top priority for Gen Z, surpassing the traditional focus on career advancement. Cultivating friendships and nurturing positive work relationships often takes precedence over job titles. Additionally, Gen Z individuals are driven by the desire for a meaningful career that enables them to make a positive impact on society. Many seek employment in organizations that align with their values and empower them to instigate change.

Values that Matter

What values are important to Generation Z when they consider potential employers?

Generation Z expects companies to actively demonstrate their support for people and the planet, not just talk about it. This message should be conveyed in a way that resonates with them through the platforms they engage with. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities, and Gen Z also values a company’s environmental consciousness. Interestingly, 55 percent of Gen Z individuals investigate a company’s environmental practices before accepting a job, with 17 percent changing jobs or industries due to environmental concerns.

Generation Z desires to be heard, moreover, they expect opportunities to enhance their skills and broaden their horizons. This shift necessitates employers to rethink how they attract, recruit, develop, and retain talent, focusing on personal growth. These changes could have positive effects across all generations.

Connecting Generations

After attracting Gen Z individuals, the next step is to seamlessly integrate them into a workforce that comprises five different generations. This integration can assist traditional leaders in embracing Gen Z team members without feeling overwhelmed by their digital proficiency. It also encourages seasoned employees to share their knowledge with younger colleagues, fostering their professional growth.

Each generation has its distinct style, needs, goals, and characteristics, therefore, creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels appreciated and engaged is crucial. This involves establishing a culture of openness and transparency where employees of all ages can excel, collaborate, and learn from each other.

Each generation has left its mark on the workplace, from the increased participation of women during World War II to Millennials advocating for mental health awareness. However, Gen Z is entering the workforce during a time of significant global challenges, including a pandemic, geopolitical unrest, and a looming climate crisis. Their expectations at work, along with their boundaries, are expected to have a lasting impact on the workplace.

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