Gen Z: How a world-changing generation is set to transform the workplace

Posted on: 8th March 2023

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Our brand new white paper explores the idiosyncrasies of a generation that is growing in the workforce. Find out what makes Gen Z tick and how to attract and retain the best young talent.

Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, and they bring with them a unique set of talents and insights. They are digital natives who have never known a time without the internet. They are strident when it comes to ethics (and they want their employer to be too), and while the paycheck is important to them, there is a lot more that enters the equation when choosing a role.                                                

“In a recruitment world that increasingly values skills over qualifications, Gen Z has much to bring to the table,” says IWG CEO Mark Dixon. “By better understanding them, we can begin to understand what the future holds for business.”

To help this process of understanding, our latest research on this diverse generation sets out exactly what they expect from the workplace, and how companies can adapt to these needs.

Hybrid natives

Many Gen Zers started their careers during lockdown. They met colleagues for the first time as little faces on screens and they were probably interviewed that way too. And so, the notion of ever having to go into a city centre HQ without a good reason, let alone having to do it every day, feels alien. According to our survey, 85% of Gen Zers want to work in an office close to home – and that’s likely to be in the suburbs, because that’s where Gen Z professionals tend to live.

Collaboration culture

So, what do they want from the office? A Gen Z survey by Dell found that 80% want to work with ‘cutting edge’ technology, while 91% said the technology offered by an employer would be a factor in choosing between job offers. They also want agile spaces where collaboration with colleagues is natural, whether that’s around a big table, or in a lounge or café area. And as well as that, they want separate quiet spaces for focussed head-down work. In short, they want flexibility and the freedom to choose.

As Mark Dixon explains, “[The workspace] is somewhere you should be able to find a wide range of options for people to come together, from large, open meeting rooms where team members can brainstorm, to long bench tables that encourage group working, to lounge spaces where colleagues can sit and chat over a coffee. But there should also be places for private work,” he says, emphasising the need for flexibility.

Financial hedging

Gen Z’s number one priority is a good salary. In our survey, 73% of respondents said it’s the most important factor when it comes to accepting a new position, and it makes sense when you think of their upbringing. These are the kids of the Great Recession, and the graduates of the pandemic. Finances may have felt risky or changeable in the past, so as working adults they want to earn enough to hedge against any potential instabilities.

Room to grow

But there’s something else that ranks high alongside money, and that’s having a job with potential for growth and promotion. This isn’t about naked ambition though. Gen-Z workers are looking for personal growth – opportunities to learn new skills and broaden their knowledge and experiences. “This is one of the things that make them unique,” says Hana Ben Shabat, Founder of Gen Z Planet. “This is the first time we’re hearing very young people talking about personal growth and looking to grow as individuals.”

Social responsibility

Another thing that sets Gen Z apart from their immediate predecessors is a very personal sense of environmental and social responsibility. They have grown up with a backdrop of disruption, conflict and a polarised political landscape, so one thing they can do to make a difference is to work for a company that fits their social conscience. Indeed, almost half (48%) of our survey respondents said they would refuse to join a business that doesn’t have clear environmental and social goals.

Gen Z might not have all the experience yet, but they do bring to the table a whole lot of insight and energy. Giving them the freedom to choose where and how they work will help to unleash their potential, boost their productivity, and ultimately, help to drive growth across your business.

Read our white paper to find out how you can offer Gen Z employers what they are looking for when it comes to work.

Topics in this article

  • Work Trends


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