The older end of Gen Z is surpassing 21 years old. They are finally flooding enter into the U.S. workforce in both entry-level jobs and career starters (not to mention active participants in the gig or “side hustle” economy). The current challenge facing employers of Gen Z is how to create a work environment and overall work experience that goes beyond the trend of superficial amenities—such as a free t-shirt from your employer—and embrace this emerging generation in ways that meet their deeper needs and workplace drivers.
Why even consider this approach? Research from The Center for Generational Kinetics on Gen Z, including our 2017 State of Gen Z study, reveals that this generation values hard work, has a utilitarian approach to spending, and intends to graduate college with less debt. The combination of those makes them a potentially powerful generation in the workforce—and one intentionally trying not to be known for entitlement or supersized expectations.
Below are a few of the emerging trends on Gen Z in the workforce:
Workplace as Residences
Gen Z grew up in the “shared economy” era that is defined by crowdsourcing and interaction, meaning they are more collaborative. The lines between home and work are blurring with an emerging trend towards workplaces that have a more residential feel. In fact, companies like WeWork are literally combining shared residences with shared workplaces as work becomes not only a requirement but a lifestyle. This is particularly attractive to start-up companies.
77% of Gen Zers earn their own spending money either with an allowance or part-time job. Even as teenagers, Gen Zers are showing that they are inventive and have a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. This desire and track record of earning their own spending money rather than simply receiving it as a gift (which is normal given their teen age) reveals a generation that connects work and effort to money. This is great long-term for them, their parents, and employers.
Work environments are being modeled to be more flexible. Cubicles are being replaced with more collaborative concepts that include spaces specifically designed for teams to work. The collaborative office space approach takes the best of the open space concept but adapts it to different work styles, roles, and ever-changing workplaces responsibilities. Gen Z has come age working in collaborative groups, both in person and aided by technology, so continuing this in the workforce is a natural trend for them.
At The Center for Generational Kinetics, we lead original Gen Z, Millennial, and cross-generation research to separate myth from truth through real data and practical solutions.
Contact us today to see how we can help you unlock new sales and bridge the generational divide.