The definition of the future of work has evolved quite a bit in the last few years.
With the rise of remote work, digital advancements, new expectations around employee benefits and more, employers have been continuously redefining what work looks like—and what that means for talent attraction and retention. However, with all the question marks surrounding the fluid future of work today, one thing is for certain: Generation Z is going to be a big part of it. In fact, it already is.
By 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce will belong to Gen Z—those born between 1997-2012. In fact, about 13% of the workforce is already comprised of Gen Z employees. The addition of a new generation to the workforce means that employers will need to learn how to balance five different generations of workers—when it comes to benefits design, workplace design and much more. But that’s not all: Like no generation before it, Gen Z brings an entirely new set of expectations to the workplace, which creates new challenges—as well as opportunities—for HR and recruiting managers.
Gen Z has come into the world of work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as hybrid and remote work became temporary-to-permanent solutions for many organizations. That sets flexibility up as no longer a nice-to-have, but rather, a must-have benefit for any company looking to attract Gen Z workers; a recent study by GOBankingRates, for instance, found that only 16% of Gen Z workers surveyed prefer to work entirely in an office setting. That’s not a stat that employers can afford to ignore: ADP found that 70% of Gen Z workers said they would resign if they were required to report full-time in -person.
Beyond expecting flexibility around where they work, however, Gen Z employees also anticipate a corporate culture where flexibility is embedded throughout—from user-friendly onboarding, to policies that allow employees to work when and how they perform best, to career development programs that enable workers to try out new skills and roles. In that vein, Gen Z takes a much more flexible approach to employment than previous generations; a LinkedIn survey, for instance, found that, since the pandemic, Gen Z workers are job-hopping 134% more—compared to Baby Boomers at just 4%. That means employers today need to be prepared to pull out all the stops to keep this younger generation engaged and eager to stay on the job—because they’re likely already looking at their next opportunity.
A big part of that work is going to come down to employers proving to Gen Z workers that they belong at their organization, as diversity, equity and inclusion—and an employer’s genuine investment in it—are critical for this segment of the population. Nearly half of Gen Z identifies as a minority, making this the most diverse segment to ever enter the workforce. And they want their employer to reflect that: Nearly 70% of Gen Zers, according to a recent survey from Tallo, would be more likely to apply at an organization whose recruiting process communicated its commitment to DE&I.
All of these expectations are going to evolve in the coming years, as Gen Z gets acclimated to its place in the workforce. Prepare as much as you can but be ready to be agile: The future of work is here, and so is Gen Z.
If you want to learn more about what Gen Z is looking for from employers, check out our white paper, Are You Ready for Generation Z?