Gen Z in the Workforce: The Must-Knows for Employers

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Born after 1995, Gen Z is rapidly entering the job market with high hopes of generating meaningful change. Perhaps the most tech-savvy, diverse, and well-educated generation to date, Gen Z constitutes about 36% of today's workforce. With such an influx, members of Gen Z are determined to change tomorrow's job market to better reflect their beliefs of entrepreneurship, innovation, pragmatism, and inclusiveness.

Despite their aspirations, zoomers often find themselves misunderstood and experience many dilemmas when first building a career and searching for jobs. To address these concerns, a generational gap must be bridged between employers and this up and coming generation.

What are some defining characteristics of Gen Z?

Digital & Human Communication

A common misconception facing Gen Z is their seeming unwillingness or lack of comfort with face to face interactions. While it's no secret that this generation is highly comfortable communicating and interacting through digital media, the vast majority of them do prefer face-to-face interaction.

One study reveals that nearly 75% of zoomers prefer face-to-face communication within a work setting. This willingness for direct human communication indicates a certain level of much-needed versatility in tomorrow's workplace. With an engrained online etiquette, Gen Z can navigate through nearly all forms of digital communication, but continue to value more direct and engaging methods.

Diverse & Inclusive

Perhaps one of the most notable characteristics of Gen Z is their diversity and value of inclusivity. In a more globalized society, this generation is most reflective of a vast ethnic, racial, and cultural landscape. In the US, one report shows that 48% of zoomers identify as a visible minority, while in Canada, another census reports 30% of zoomers identify as a visible minority.

Companies and recruiters should take these figures very seriously, not only for the well-being of their employees but also for their business/company success. This generation's diversity will be an immeasurable asset in a globalized economy, as young employees are knowledgeable and well-versed with different customs and cultural traits.

Long-term & Pragmatic Thinkers

Gen Zs can be portrayed as delusional or entitled; however, despite their young age, zoomers consistently exhibit qualities of prudence, pragmatism, and career-mindedness. Growing up during the 2007-08 financial crash, many zoomers have witnessed the hardships that their parents and loved ones had to endure. Coupled with an awareness of the intense competition they face in the workplace, Gen Zs have developed into very calculated and goal-oriented individuals.

As we move further into urbanization, with growing inflation and rising living costs, members of Gen Z have adjusted their saving and spending habits. So much so that 35% intend to begin saving for retirement during their twenties.

Moreover, despite being driven by meaningful work, zoomers value security as one of their top priorities. Concerning job search and career prospects, 88% of zoomers declare studying a major with a job in mind, and 69% admit they would choose a stable job over one they're passionate about. Not only are members of Gen Z pragmatic, but they are also flexible and motivated, with one survey showing that 75% are willing to relocate for a job offer and 58% view evenings and weekends as acceptable work hours.

While these qualities and tendencies are somewhat concealed, employers and businesses would undoubtedly benefit from having such a pragmatic and cautious generation join their team. Through years of careful life planning, Gen Zs will have no problem transferring this discipline and set of skills to their professional career.

Well Informed & Autonomous

With the help of the internet and access to nearly unlimited information, members of Gen Z are excellent researchers and well-informed consumers. Navigating the internet is second nature to Gen Z through multiple platforms, such as Youtube, Reddit, or Twitter; zoomers are teaching themselves more and more skills online at an exponential rate.

As more jobs require comprehensive and nuanced qualifications, zoomers are resorting to the internet to learn as much as they can. From coding to sculpting, almost every skill set can be self-taught, which is something Gen Z has taken immense advantage of.

Regarding consumerism, Gen Zs are taking more steps to be responsible consumers. They are well aware of the up-and-coming trends and care deeply for societal and environmental impacts. Zoomers have been exposed to nearly all facets of marketing and can easily detect an authentic message from a sponsored message. This generation is also wary of the companies they endorse, work for, and buy from. Zoomers pay close attention to company goals and intentions and strongly value a sense of integrity.

As consumers and members of the workforce, Gen Zs can provide essential insight into how a company can best optimize its image, while also communicating to younger consumers more effectively. Coupled with their ability to quickly and effectively learn different skills, members of Gen Z will prove to be diligent and creative additions to any company.

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