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Get ready to witness the rise of Gen Z, the generation set to dominate the workforce. They are entering the workforce in droves and are set to change the workplace as we know it. This generation, the first to grow up with the internet and digital technology as a constant presence in their lives, brings a unique perspective to the table. They are tech-savvy, socially conscious, and value diversity and inclusion.

Gen Z is projected to make up 31% of the global population by 2025 and in the UK alone, Generation Z makes up approximately 24% of the population, according to the Office for National Statistics. This means that in the coming years, they will form a significant part of the UK workforce. As such, understanding their values, expectations, and ways of working is crucial for businesses to thrive in the future.

In the latest episode of Coffee Mornings, hosted by Sam, CEO of Northreach, and Robbie Blake, a Senior Recruitment Consultant, we delve into the fascinating world of Generation Z (Gen Z) and their growing influence in the workforce.

“We’re seeing a seismic shift in the workforce, with Gen Z now making up a significant portion of employees. This is a generation that’s grown up in a world of rapid change and it’s reshaping the way we work.” – Sam, CEO of Northreach

As the youngest generation in the workforce, Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is bringing a fresh perspective and new expectations to the workplace.

Robbie, a Gen Z quotes “There’s definitely a difference in how generations have grown up reflected in their mindset and the way they work.”

This episode offers a deep dive into understanding Gen Z, their workplace expectations, how they are different from other generations, and how they are reshaping work culture. Join us as we explore the strategies to attract top Gen Z talent and ensure a successful future for your organisation.

Watch the full video below:

Who are Gen Z?

Quite simply put Gen Z are the future of work. The entry of Gen Z into the workforce is not just changing the way we work; it’s changing the future of work. They are pushing companies to be more innovative, more inclusive, and more forward-thinking. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo and are driving significant changes in workplace culture, communication, and practices.

So, let’s start with understanding who they are and what sets them apart from their predecessors.

Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, are distinct from their predecessors, the Millennials. Growing up in a digital world, experiencing economic uncertainty, and having diverse backgrounds are some of the key differences that set Gen Z apart. The impact of technology on Gen Z’s upbringing has led to a greater emphasis on digital fluency and the ability to adapt quickly.

“Gen Z is a generation that’s grown up with technology at their fingertips. They’re digital natives and it’s shaped their expectations and the way they interact with the world.” – Robbie, Senior Recruitment Consultant

You see Sam agrees with the point Robbie makes:

As Sam noted, Gen Z is “so fluid with technology” and can easily adapt to new advancements.

Some of the defining characteristics of Gen Z include:

⦁            Diverse

⦁            Open-minded and progressive

⦁            Tech-savvy

⦁            Individualist and creative

⦁            Self-directed

Gen Z’s workplace expectations and how that is reshaping the future of work

  1. Work-life balance: Gen Z places a higher emphasis on work-life balance compared to Millennials. They have observed the burnout and time poverty experienced by older generations and are demanding more flexibility and time off from their employers.
  2. Salary expectations: Gen Z workers, having grown up in a time of economic uncertainty and witnessing the financial struggles of previous generations, have developed higher salary expectations for their careers. Business Insider reports that Gen Zers have higher salary expectations compared to Millennials. Additionally, a study found that 54% of Gen Zers leave their jobs due to unsatisfactory salaries. This shift in values is likely due to the changing economic landscape and the financial stressors that Gen Z faces, such as rising inflation outpacing salary growth.
  3. Job loyalty: Gen Z is more likely to quit if they’re unsatisfied at work. They are willing to job-hop for better opportunities and higher wages. This is a significant shift from Millennials, who were more likely to stay with an employer whose values no longer met their expectations.
  4. Prioritise ESG: Gen Z expects more from their employers in terms of environmental, social responsibility and the way companies are governed. 76% of Gen Z employees want to work for companies that prioritise these values (BBC). They want to see companies follow through on their mission statements and if they aren’t “practicing what they’re preaching, Gen Z will hold them accountable”. This is a shift from Millennials who were more willing to sacrifice corporate social responsibility for companies they admired as consumers.

“I think Gen Z are not afraid to call out the either, and I think that’s the one thing that we’ve kind of seen, you can tell them one thing but if they don’t see that corporate governance and note that whole kind of corporate mess that we kind of spoke about in episode one, that is definitely being called out.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Recruitment Consultant.

  1. Clarity on ‘WIIFM’ and ‘why’: Gen Z employees are more likely to be motivated by a sense of purpose and the impact they can have on the world. This has led organisations to define and communicate their mission and values more clearly, aligning their goals with the aspirations of their Gen Z workforce.
  2. Prioritise Inclusiveness and diversity in a meaningful way: Inclusiveness and diversity are paramount to Generation Z in the workplace. 77% of Gen Z respondents believe that a diverse workforce is crucial for innovation and problem-solving (McKinsey).Gen Z, being the most diverse generation yet, values workplaces that reflect this diversity. They are drawn to organisations that demonstrate a genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion, from hiring practices to company culture. To attract and retain Gen Z talent, companies must meaningfully prioritise inclusiveness and diversity, ensuring diverse individuals not only join the organisation but also feel included, valued, and supported.
  3. Digital natives: Generation Z, often referred to as digital natives, have grown up in a world dominated by technology and the internet. They are comfortable with using digital tools and platforms, and they expect to use these resources in their professional lives as well. Their tech-savviness allows them to adapt quickly to new technologies and digital trends. For Gen Z, technology is not just a tool; it’s an integral part of their lives that influences how they communicate, learn, and work.
  4. Mental health and well-being: Mental health and well-being are significant to Gen Z. A HBR study shows that 73% of Gen Z state that mental health support is a priority for them. They are more open about discussing mental health issues and expect their employers to prioritise this aspect of their well-being. They value workplaces that offer mental health resources, promote work-life balance, and foster a supportive and understanding culture. For Gen Z, a company’s commitment to mental health and well-being can be a deciding factor when choosing an employer.
  5. Demand autonomy and trust: Gen Z values autonomy and trust in the workplace. They appreciate employers who trust them to manage their own work and make decisions. They prefer a flexible work environment where they can work independently and at their own pace, without being micromanaged. However, this desire for autonomy doesn’t mean they want to work in isolation; they also value collaboration and open communication with their team and managers.
  6. Constant need to Upskill: Gen Z has a strong desire for continuous learning and development opportunities. They view their careers as a series of stepping-stones and are always looking for ways to acquire new skills and knowledge. They value employers who offer robust L&D programs, provide opportunities for growth, and support their career development. For Gen Z, the opportunity to learn and grow professionally is a key factor in job satisfaction and loyalty.

Strategies for organisations to become Gen Z ready

  1. Digital transformation: Embrace digital tools and platforms to enhance collaboration, communication, and efficiency, ensuring that the workplace is aligned with Gen Z’s digital fluency.

“Companies need to adapt if they want to attract and retain Gen Z talent. That means embracing digital transformation, offering flexible work options, and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.” – Sam, CEO of Northreach

  1. Flexible work options: A survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 37% of Gen Z employees in the UK would prefer to work for a company that offers flexible work options. So, offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, flexitime, and compressed work weeks, to accommodate Gen Z’s desire for work-life balance and autonomy.

“Gen Z is looking for more than just a paycheck. They want flexibility, opportunities for growth, and a company that aligns with their values.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Recruitment Consultant

  1. Diversity and inclusion: Develop and implement comprehensive diversity and inclusion programs, fostering a culture of belonging, equity, and respect for all employees.
  2. ESG commitment: Integrate ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles into business strategies, operations, and decision-making processes, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable and responsible practices.

“Embracing ESG principles is crucial. While CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is a familiar term, ESG encompasses a broader scope. Sustainability is a significant part of this, and it doesn’t necessarily require grand gestures. Simple actions, like reducing paper usage or participating in initiatives like beach clean-ups, can make a difference. It’s about the tangible steps we can take to contribute positively. Moreover, the ethical aspect of business operations is also a key consideration for Gen Z. They are keenly aware and concerned about the ethical practices of the businesses they engage with.”– Sam Ingram, CEO of Northreach

  1. Learning and development opportunities: Invest in employee training and development programs, providing opportunities for skill enhancement, mentorship, and continuous learning.
  2. Collaboration and teamwork: Encourage a collaborative work culture that promotes teamwork, open communication, and cross-functional projects, leveraging the collective strengths of diverse teams.
  3. Transparency and authenticity: Foster a culture of openness and transparency, maintaining honest communication with employees about company goals, challenges, and successes.
  4. Purpose-driven work: Clearly define and communicate the company’s mission and values, aligning them with the aspirations and values of Gen Z employees to create a sense of purpose and motivation.

Sam, a millennial, reflects, “When I started working, it was all about getting a stable job and climbing the ladder. But for Gen Z, it’s different. They want to do work that aligns with their values and makes a positive impact.”

  1. Adapting to speed: To effectively engage with Gen Z, companies must be agile and quick to evolve. This generation is accustomed to the speed and spontaneity offered by digital technology, and they expect the same from their workplaces. They seek immediate responses and instant results, which requires businesses to be proactive and responsive. Therefore, to cater to Gen Z’s expectations, it’s not just about adopting the latest technologies, but also about fostering a culture of swift decision-making, rapid innovation, and instant communication. Companies that can move at this pace will be better positioned to attract and retain Gen Z talent.

“I think a lot of it is novelty but it’s just that instantaneous of it if that’s the massive thing that I think the younger generation in Gen Z look for.” – Sam Ingram, CEO of Northreach

In conclusion, as Gen Z enters the workforce, they are set to bring significant changes. Their digital fluency, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and desire for meaningful work will shape the future of work. Businesses that understand and adapt to these changes will be well-positioned to attract and retain this new generation of workers.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gen Z is the future of work: Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is entering the workforce in large numbers. They bring a fresh perspective, being tech-savvy, socially conscious, and valuing diversity, and inclusion. They are expected to make up 31% of the global population by 2025.
  2. Gen Z’s unique characteristics: Gen Z is distinct from its predecessors, the Millennials. They are digital natives, having grown up with technology, and are comfortable adapting to new advancements. They are diverse, open-minded, progressive, individualistic, and self-directed.
  3. Workplace expectations: Gen Z has specific expectations from their workplaces. They value work-life balance, have higher salary expectations, are not afraid to job-hop for better opportunities, prioritise ESG, seek clarity on ‘WIIFM’ and ‘why’, and value inclusiveness and diversity.
  4. Mental health and well-being: Gen Z places a high emphasis on mental health and well-being. They are open about discussing mental health issues and expect their employers to prioritise this aspect of their well-being.
  5. Demand for autonomy and trust: Gen Z values autonomy and trust in the workplace. They appreciate employers who trust them to manage their own work and make decisions.
  6. Upskilling: Gen Z has a strong desire for continuous learning and development opportunities. They view their careers as a series of stepping stones and are always looking for ways to acquire new skills and knowledge.
  7. Strategies for organisations: To attract and retain Gen Z talent, companies need to embrace digital transformation, offer flexible work options, develop diversity and inclusion programs, integrate ESG principles, invest in learning and development opportunities, encourage collaboration and teamwork, foster transparency, and authenticity, and promote purpose-driven work.

The entry of Gen Z into the workforce is a transformative moment. Their unique perspectives, digital fluency, and demand for immediacy are reshaping the workplace in significant ways. As we navigate this new landscape, understanding and adapting to these changes is crucial for businesses to thrive. So, tune into this episode of Coffee Mornings to gain valuable insights into the world of Gen Z and the future of work.

“What I’m trying to convey is that the new generation doesn’t have to follow the same path or undergo the same experiences as previous generations to achieve success. It’s crucial to understand that there isn’t just one way to do things. We should take the positives from past experiences, consider the current context and what people want now, blend these insights, and then evolve. This process is iterative, and the knowledge gained should be transferred to future generations. So, when today’s Alpha babies grow up and face similar challenges, both you and them can continue this cycle of learning, adapting, and evolving.” – Sam Ingram, CEO of Northreach

Begin your journey today towards building a future-ready business. If you’re seeking professional guidance, we’re just a conversation away. Our team, backed by years of recruitment experience, understands the evolving dynamics of the modern workforce. We’re equipped to align your values and goals with the aspirations of the future generation, helping you assemble a team that fosters collective success. Reach out to us and let’s explore how we can play a pivotal role in your journey.