Generation Z at Work: Their Motivations and Work Ethic

4min.

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Generation Z at Work: Their Motivations and Work Ethicd-tags
03 June 2024
In the industry, there’s a lot of talk about Generation Z: That they’re bad, entitled, and lazy. Scary, right? ;) One thing is certain, more and more of Generation Z is entering the workforce. Hence, it’s crucial not to overlook understanding who you’re dealing with (and yes, I’m speaking as a Gen Z myself). So, Generation Z at work: What are their characteristics and what do they expect from employers? Let’s get to know Generation Z better!

4min.

Comments:0

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m a Gen Z myself, and at the same time, I coordinate a team mostly comprised of… Gen Z members 😉.

Therefore, although I’m not a fan of putting labels on people, I keenly observe what the industry has to say about our generation and how it reflects in reality.

Read on to learn:

  • what characterizes Generation Z at work,
  • what Generation Z wants from work

Plus, a bit of my own reflections thrown in as a bonus.

Generation Z: Characteristics

The vast majority of sources I’ve come across indicate that Gen Z individuals are those born between 1995 and 2012.

They are the first generation to be born into the digital world: smartphones, laptops, and social media are second nature to them. Gen Zs can’t imagine the world without new technologies and electronic devices – they use them effortlessly.

They grew up in a world where their parents, often focused on chasing their careers, were absent from family life. Gen Zs don’t want to replicate their parents’ work style as they believe that success is not just about a career. They aspire to a full, satisfying life where work not only provides income but also respects their values, supports building and nurturing relationships, and pursues personal passions – and they will strive for it.

What do you value most in your life?%
Financial security 15%
Health 42%
Happiness 61%
Respect22%
Career development11%
Family60%
Friendship22%
Independence (Freedom)51%
Opportunity to pursue passions 56%
Love38%
Culture11%
Ecology51%
Spirituality (faith)2%
Other11%
source: Generation Z in the Job Market: Values, Priorities, Expectations

 

Individuals belonging to Generation Z are considered very self-assured and assertive. They know their worth and aren’t afraid to set demands.

Could it be these traits that make employers hesitant to hire Gen Zers?

There’s a lot of talk about how Generation Z will revolutionize the job market. And I think you’ll agree with me that if we’re using the word REVOLUTION here, it might indeed stir some concern (at Delante, we’re not afraid of this word, but we’re more fans of evolution). Additionally, new and unknown things always seem scarier than what we’ve already grown accustomed to.

But if we take another look at the traits I mentioned earlier – let’s consider self-assurance (not to be confused with arrogance) or assertiveness (not to be confused with entitlement): Is this something to be afraid of, really? I’d even venture to ask if these aren’t the kind of people we need in our teams? Especially considering that Generation Z can be attributed many other traits that can bring significant value to many organizations – such as highly developed digital skills, openness to change, adaptability, and innovativeness.

Regardless of whether your answer is yes, no, or I don’t know, one thing is certain – Gen Z is entering the scene, and it’s worth knowing what they expect from their future employees.

Not sure how to adapt your marketing strategy to Gen Z? Read: Make Them Fall In Love With Your Brand: Dos and Don’ts of Gen Z Content Marketing

Gen Z Content Marketing

Gen Z is a generation raised in a fast-paced world marked by constant change. They’re the first to grow up fully immersed in the digital age and are set to make up over a quarter of the workforce by 2025. Like every generation, they have their own strengths and motivations. They’re adaptable, innovative, and comfortable in the digital world.

For them, clear communication and a work-life balance matter most, and they’re already reshaping workplace culture worldwide. Prioritizing well-being and mental health, they expect employers to offer support programs. It’s the start of big changes that will redefine the job market.

Karolina Górska
Karolina Górska HR Coordinator

What Does Generation Z Expect from Employers?

According to the report Generation Z in the Job Market: Values, Priorities, Expectations, the most important elements for Gen Z, both in their professional and personal lives, are:

  1. Self-respect, relationship respect, and respect for the environment
  2. Value-based work
  3. Building relationships on various levels – personal and professional
  4. Work-life balance
  5. Openness to diversity
  6. Assertiveness
  7. Clearly formulated expectations for employees and candidates
  8. Creativity
  9. Environmental consciousness
  10. Pursuing passions

The phrase work-life balance is increasingly being related to work-life integration (combining both spheres), and it’s this latter concept I’d like to focus on for a moment. Let me quote from the report I mentioned earlier:

Members of Generation Z expect their employers to share their values, show understanding of their life priorities, and importantly, support employees in their extracurricular activities: social, civic, and charitable.

While work-life balance speaks to a clear separation between work and life outside of it, the concept of work-life integration (also known as work-life fit) suggests that personal life and work coexist – that these two spheres should be connected, and aligned. In the paragraph above, I cited an example of shared values or understanding of an employee’s life priorities, but today, I also need to mention:

  • remote work (not just from home or a coffee shop, but increasingly popular is also workation – the mix of work and vacation),
  • flexible work hours
  • autonomous time management

I know how important these elements are for my team, and observing industry trends, I believe they’ve become standard for Generation Z – and more and more organizations are adapting to this.

Of course, this carries certain risks, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

Generation Z and Work: A Final Thought I’d Like to Share

Your generation doesn’t define who you are.

You might be thinking, “She talked so much about Generation Z, and now she’s saying generation doesn’t matter.”

Hear me out.

While I work with Generation Z, Y, and X every day, I can’t deny that I notice generational differences. However, it’s crucial to understand that people can’t be neatly boxed into categories based solely on their birth years. Generational labels can provide some insight, but they don’t tell the whole story. What truly matters are individual experiences, values, and passions, which go far beyond any generational label.

I think it’s important to stay aware of what’s happening around us – in the world, the job market, our industries, and organizations – and adapt our approach accordingly. If the traits associated with Generation Z resonate with what you’re seeing, great, use that! But it’s essential not to pigeonhole people solely based on their generation – they can often surprise you 😉

What have your experiences been like working with Generation Z in the job market?

PS. Shoutout to my fantastic (almost all) Gen Z team!

Author
Ola Gajoch SEO Delante
Author
Ola Gajoch

SEO Coordinator

At Delante since July 2019, she began her Delante adventure in marketing. Since November 2021, she has been joining the ranks of the SEO department as its Coordinator. Privately, she is a graduate of Media Management at Jagiellonian University and a student of Product Management at the University of Economics. She enjoys Asian cuisine, dancing high heels and rejuvenating dating shows on Netflix.

Author
Ola Gajoch SEO Delante
Author
Ola Gajoch

SEO Coordinator

At Delante since July 2019, she began her Delante adventure in marketing. Since November 2021, she has been joining the ranks of the SEO department as its Coordinator. Privately, she is a graduate of Media Management at Jagiellonian University and a student of Product Management at the University of Economics. She enjoys Asian cuisine, dancing high heels and rejuvenating dating shows on Netflix.

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