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Understanding Gen Z: Who Are They?

Published 10 Mar 2020
4 min read
Understanding Gen Z: Who Are They?

Gen Z is entering the workforce and they’re not like anything we’ve seen before. They share different values to Millennials and have different expectations when it comes to the workforce. Let’s break it down and take a look at who Gen Z really is. This will help prepare your organisation for the next generation knocking on our doors. Want to learn more about what’s new to the HR world this decade? Take a look at our 24 HR trends we can expect to see in 2020 and beyond here.

Gen Z - born 1996 - 2012. Two Gen Z'ers standing next to eachother - Employment Hero

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z is the cohort born between 1996 and 2012, and when it comes to work, they know what they want. So why do you need to be thinking about this now, I hear you ask? Because they’re coming in the door as we speak and will make up the majority of the workforce before we know it. With this being said, it’s important you’re aware of their values, expectations and behaviours so you can attract and retain top talent in a way they respond positively to. If you want to find out more about Gen Z, we recently held a digital roundtable discussion with industry experts. In the roundtable Alex Hattingh (Employment Hero), Michael Osmond (JobAdder) and Dan Fish (Go1), discussed:

  • Key findings from our Gen Z at Work report
  • Developing a future-proof employer brand and EVP
  • Skills-gap analysis and career mapping
  • Implementing new strategies to foster young leaders

Interested? You can watch the Gen Z at Work Digital Roundtable discussion here.

What does Gen Z look like?

We recently conducted research into Gen Z. The 35-page report covers everything you need to be a future-ready employer so you can attract and retain this upcoming generation knocking on our doors. You can register to access the full report when it’s released, here. Based on our own research, the majority of Gen Z still live at home (68%) and are just beginning to enter the workforce. Currently 16% work full time, 25% work part-time, 20% work casually, 17% are not currently working and 19% have never worked. They love all things digital, personalised experiences, diversity and place significant value on leading a lifestyle they enjoy.

What is Gen Z looking for in the workplace?

Top Priorities in a Job - Gen Z Employment Hero - Graph showing money, culture, commute, career trajectory When it comes to Gen Z in the workplace, they’re looking for a fulfilling career. With roughly 37% of Gen Z working in their desired career, this leaves an overwhelming 63% of employees dissatisfied with their work. However, for those aged between 20-24, the number increases to 46% being satisfied with their roles, a trend suggesting that as they become older they’ll settle into a career they enjoy. Alongside career trajectory, Gen Z prioritises income, with 15% of Gen Z stating this is their top priority when job hunting. This proves that they’re savvy and not willing to settle for low rates of pay. They know their worth and are looking for employers to invest in their potential and skills. Add in great work culture and genuine care for employee mental health and you’ve got the recipe for attracting and retaining Gen Z. They’re aware of the saying – working to live, not living to work, so they place a high value on having a positive work culture. Additionally, 75% of Gen Z workers now expect their employer will provide mental health tools, such as an employee assistance program (EAP). If you’re looking for an EAP, Employment Hero can help you. We’ve partnered with Acacia Connection to offer your employees 24/7 support either over the phone, face-to-face or online. The EAP sessions are strictly confidential and each user will have a dedicated account contact to help book their sessions. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch with one of our small business specialists today to walk you through a demo.

What does the future of work look like for Gen Z?

Currently, the oldest Gen Z is 24 years old. They’ve recently finished studying and will continue to enter the workplace in force over the next 16 years. With Gen Z, 75% of workers plan to leave their current place of employment in the next two years and 49% plan to leave within one year. This is because they’re looking for roles that can expand their knowledge and have a strong career trajectory. Their digital nature naturally puts them in front of other generations who have had to learn technology. 75% of workers plan to leave their current place of employment in the next two years and 49% plan to leave within one year - Employment Hero

What about the not so distant future?

The average age of a CEO is 58 years old. This means that in 35 years time, Gen Z will be the CEOs of the world. They’ll have different values to leaders today and until then, we can only watch on as they begin their climb of the career ladder. Based on their values, we can expect their management style to take a more relaxed, creative approach, with a focus on technology. Surprised? Nope. Neither are we. With this in mind, it’s important you invest in their learning and development to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

The Wrap Up

Gen Z is here and they’re like no other generation we’ve seen before. If you want to attract and retain top talent, it’s crucial you adapt to their expectations and values. If you don’t, you could see top talent walk out the door. They’re looking for employers who are ready to invest in their learning and development, they value good pay and want to work for a company that has a good culture. If they don’t experience this, you can expect them to already be looking for their next role. Ready for Gen Z? Go on, start strategising how your organisation can adapt to attract and retain top Gen Z talent!

Want more?

If you’re now up to speed with attracting and retaining Gen Z, why not take a look at what your current employees want in the workplace? We’ve created this handy whitepaper to help you find out what employees want. 👇👇👇

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