The youngest demographics of the workforce are already having an impact on how the job market functions. Detractors have been quick to posit that Gen Z does not want to work and are not willing to follow tradition employment practices – but, as Kathy Bloomgarden writes for the World Economic Forum [1], “This generation has a different set of priorities, caring more about flexibility, values and diversity than others that came before them. This generation cares greatly about autonomy and work-life balance — almost two-thirds of Gen Z would prefer to work for themselves in a start-up. About half report that they would quit their job if it interfered with their work-life balance.”

Working Hard (Remotely)

Considering that this generation is already experienced burnout, high levels of stress, and facing the increasing pressures of a changing climate, their decision to challenge the employment status quo is a symptom of a shift in life priorities [2-4]. Gen Z stands for values and larger societal change, the idea of working a single well-earning job in an office goes against their grain, preferring to work in a sector they’re interested in regardless of salary. A tech-savvy generation, they value remote work and flexible employment structures – this means businesses must shift their work capacities to accommodate the incoming workforce [1-4]. 

A 2019 Deloitte study highlights how companies will need to adapt to Gen Z, and not the other way around, as organizational power transitions from management to employees [4]. This new generation is also acutely aware of the social issues facing them and future generations. Gen Zers demand widespread change and lead action on several core issues, and actively gravitate towards companies who are supporting similar causes [5, 6]. 

Social Responsibility

While Gen Zers shake up the employment sector, they also push for more social responsibility. Young consumers prioritize sustainable brands and become more adept at identifying greenwashing [7]. As such, they work towards pushing businesses to adopt a more environmentally friendly model – it is not surprising then that Gen Z have been labelled as “the most disruptive generation ever” by the Bank of America [6]. Not content with falling in line with a work-centric business as usual approach that has dictated employment and societal standards, Gen Z remodel global communities to be sustainable in more than one aspect [1, 5].

“Generations are shaped by the context in which they emerged,” explain Tracy Francis and Fernanda Hoefel [8], “For Generation Z, the main spur to consumption is the search for truth, in both a personal and a communal form. Its search for authenticity generates greater freedom of expression and greater openness to understanding different kinds of people. The influence of Gen Z—the first generation of true digital natives—is now radiating outward, with the search for truth at the centre of its characteristic behaviour and consumption patterns.” The status quo is changing with Gen Z at the helm – are you open to facilitating a sustainable future?

Key Takeaways

References

[1] Kathy Bloomgarden, 2022, “Gen Z and the end of work as we know it”, World Economic Forum.
[2] Andrea Yu, 2022, “Why Gen Z workers are already so burned out”, BBC.
[3] Terry Nguyen, 2022, “Gen Z does not dream of labor”, Vox.
[4] Karianne Gomez, Tiffany Mawhinney & Kimberly Betts, 2019, “Understanding Generation Z in the workplace”, Deloitte.
[5] Greg Petro, 2021, “Gen Z Is Emerging As The Sustainability Generation”, Forbes.
[6] Johnny Wood, 2022, “Gen Z cares about sustainability more than anyone else – and is starting to make others feel the same”, World Economic Forum
[7] Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Greenwashing within the Global Business Context”, LEAD-WiSE.
[8] Tracy Francis & Fernanda Hoefel, 2018, “‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies” McKinsey.