What Gen Z Wants from Employers

CLAIRE HASTWELL

Author

Purpose and meaning at work has become a buzzword in workplace cultures around the world in the wake of the global pandemic, and is particularly a sought after factor for GenZers in choosing their employers.

Known as the generation who has never known a life without Google, some optimistic claims state that they are set to take over the economy in the next decade or so.

This article shares what our research revealed, as what this generation wants from their employers.

Gen Z is coming to your workplace.

The generation born between 1997 and 2012 may be just entering the workforce, but smart employers are already thinking about how their company culture can attract and retain Gen Z.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), by 2025, Gen Z will account for almost 30% of the global workforce.

This generation has a unique perspective as new workers under extraordinary circumstances.

In our research of workplaces around the country, we’ve collected over 32,000 Gen Z employee responses from over 350 companies. Here’s what Gen Z says they want from employers in 2023 and beyond.

What Gen Z wants from employers

1. Diverse and inclusive workplace

According to a new report, by 2026, about 25% of Singapore’s population is expected to be over 60 years old, which means an aging population and a lack of digital skills. However, Vietnam is the opposite, with favorable conditions for a young population, the Gen Z generation, who are joining the workforce in large numbers.

According to the General Statistics Office, in 2021, Vietnam has nearly 5.1 million workers aged 15-24, equivalent to more than 10% of the total workforce of the entire economy.
This is both an opportunity and a challenge for Vietnamese businesses, which is how to attract this young workforce.

As a result, employers must learn how to best manage a diverse team and get serious about DEIB initiatives. This includes:

  • Ensuring a diverse slate of candidates to secure the best talent
  • Training other employees (particularly older generations) on DEIB, and
  • Ensuring there’s representation across the leadership team.
2. Livable pay

Pay was the number one topic Gen Z employees commented on in our research, with calls for better minimum wage and increased hourly pay. Only 69% of Gen Z employees said they feel they’re paid fairly, which is 7 points below other generations.

Because of their young age and career stage, most Gen Z employees are working in industries such as retail and hospitality, which tend to be lower-paying or reliant on tips. These were also the industries most impacted by lockdowns, leaving Gen Z workers bearing the brunt of COVID-19 furloughs and closures.

According to payroll company ADP, Gen Z was hardest hit by job losses in 2020, losing some 11% of their jobs, well above the national average (6.7%) and impacts to other age groups.

With the current hiring crunch slamming retail and hospitality in particular, employers wanting to attract Gen Z talent will need to offer fair pay and earn the trust of a generation uniquely hit by the crisis.

3. Mentally healthy and safe place to work

Some of the widest gaps between Gen Z and other generations are around feeling their workplaces are psychologically and emotionally healthy.

In our research, Gen Z employees showed a 7-point difference on statements measuring:

  • Psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace environment
  • Ability to take time off from work when necessary

The American Psychological Association has identified Gen Z as the most stressed generation, attributed to growing up while the world has faced severe global challenges like gun violence, climate change, political instability, racial reckoning and a pandemic.

Great employers will need to ensure Gen Z feels emotionally supported in the workplace, through things like regular check-ins and encouragement to practice self-care (although, to be clear, that’s something all generations could benefit from after the past year).

4. Special meaning

Finding purpose and special meaning is something that has typically been associated with the Millennial generation. But our research found the meaning deficit is even more acute for Gen Z, who scored their employers:

  • 8-points lower than other generations on how much their work has special meaning
  • 7-point lower than other generations on how much they feel they make a difference at work

Grocery chain Wegmans is one example of a company that’s giving employees a voice, and 93% of Gen Z respondents at the company ranked it as a great place to work.

Wegmans management frequently seeks out ideas from the front-line workers who interact with customers the most, and all staff are invited to make suggestions and ask questions through “Ask Jack,” the company’s SVP of operations, Jack DePeters.

Since launching in 2002, Jack has responded to over 16,000 employee comments, with 68% of employees choosing to identify themselves by name rather than submit anonymously.

5. Warm welcome

Gen Z is still young. Many of them are just getting started in the workforce. A warm and thoughtful welcome can go a long way when you’re onboarding new grads and first-time employees.

With many employers switching to remote or hybrid workplaces post-pandemic, this can present a challenge — the usual practices of showing a new hire around the office or taking them out for lunch may no longer be an option for some workplaces.

But companies like YNAB are making it work. The software firm sends out welcome packages in the mail, timing them to arrive on an employee’s first day. The packages include YNAB swag, a booklet about the company’s vision and mission, personalized welcome messages from the team and a dinner gift card for the employee to celebrate their new job.

For someone new to the working world, efforts like this can go a long way to keeping them enthusiastic and engaged.

For years, Millennials have been the talked-about generation as brands have worked to woo them, either as customers or as employees (or both). But now that the next generation is on the workplace doorstep, employers need to start thinking now about how they’re going to attract the next gen of talent.

Recruit and manage Gen Z in the workplace

Want to effectively manage a diverse workforce and appeal to Gen Z? Find out why Emprising™ is trusted by Best Workplaces™ around the world. With an employee survey and data analysis in one place, you can know exactly how your company culture is engaging Gen Z in the workplace.

CLAIRE HASTWELL

Author

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Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

To determine the 2022 Vietnam Best Workplaces™, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 20,000 employees across different industries in Vietnam. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️.

85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified™ standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. 

Companies with 10-99 people were considered for the Small category, companies with 100-999 people were considered for the Medium category and companies with 1000+ people were considered for the Large category.