Gen Z workers will be far more conventional than commonly assumed

Glued to the deskDespite being the first generation of workers to boast ‘native’ digital skills, so-called ‘Gen Z’ is far more conventional than previously assumed. The coming generation of 16-19 years-olds who are fast approaching the jobs market will care far more about their workplace and their employer’s ethics than Gen Y, new research from recruiter Adecco claims. The research shows that long-term security is more appealing to Gen Z than short term perks; with gym memberships (12%), free technology (16%) and time off to travel (26%) rejected in favour of qualifications and job security; at 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively. However, the research does show they have strong personal ambition and high expectations from employers, with half of those surveyed expecting a promotion within their first year of employment and the same number expecting to move on from an employer within two years.

Contrary to the assumption that Gen Z will kick start a new era in the digital job search, the research reveals that Gen Z prefer traditional approaches to recruitment. Over a third (34%) of the respondents think the best way for employers to engage with young people is at school and university level, ahead of the 27 percent who favour social media channels. A similar number (33%) would revert to family or friends, over online sources, when searching for their first job.

Gen Z are also as ethically minded as they are ambitious. The research shows that two-fifths (41%) of the Gen Z’ers surveyed said they would turn down a potential employer due to their ethical practices, compared to less than a third (30%) who would reject an offer due to an insufficient salary. In the long-term, though, nearly three-quarters (70%) of Gen Z expect to earn more than their parents at the height of their career.

In comparison, respondents from Gen Y are more concerned with securing bigger bonuses than their Gen Z counterparts, and care less about their workplace surroundings or their organisation’s ethics.

Alex Fleming, Managing Director of Adecco, said: “Contrary to popular opinion, this research shows that Gen Z have rather conventional expectations of the world of work. Our research provides key lessons for businesses recruiting the next generation: don’t be tempted to abandon tried and tested recruitment methods, such as university careers fairs, for digital only approaches.

“Employers should also prioritise a traditional package featuring a pension over more short term offers such as gym membership.

“Evidently, Gen Z are a focused bunch, with the determination and energy to succeed. With expert digital skills and global mobility on their side, top talent from this age group will be difficult to hold on to and messages from employers will have to be quite unique to stand out and get their attention.

“Listening to their values and expectations and developing recruitment and workplace engagement accordingly, will go a long way in encouraging young employees to stay loyal”.