6 things Generation Z want in the workplace


With most Millennials either in the workforce or about to enter it, it’s time to start focusing on the generation that follows. This next generation, known as Generation Z, is coming up quickly and will soon be applying for jobs. And, as is always the case, this next generation has some key differences when it comes to their career goals compared to the generations before them.

Generation Z watched their parents struggle through the financial crisis of 2008, which might have resulted in them wanting different “must haves” out of their jobs. If companies want to recruit the brightest young minds going forward, they are going to need to make sure their workplace is desirable to this upcoming generation. A recent study by Monster.com revealed the top 6 things Generation Z is looking for in the workplace, and in some cases, they showcase a stark difference from past generations.

1. Health insurance

One of the most common things Generation Z listed as an absolute must for their job was health insurance coverage. Seventy percent of the respondents said health insurance was something they needed at their job, compared with sixty-eight percent for everyone else. This shows that while medical coverage is important to most people, this is especially true for those in the upcoming generation.

This stat is not all that surprising. In the United States, healthcare is constantly being discussed, and millions of people stand to gain or lose healthcare based on the decisions of their elected representatives. It should come as no shock then when the younger generation, seeing this play out, wants to have security in their healthcare, and not have to worry about it.

2. Salary

The next most important item on their must-have list is a competitive salary. Again, this should come as a surprise to no one, as just about everyone wants to be paid fairly for the work they provide. However, Generation Z may have more cause for placing an emphasis on salary. A large portion of this generation will have large student loan debts when they enter the work force, and they will need a competitive salary in order to pay it off.

Luckily for them, Generation Z is at a slight advantage over older generations, as there are now many tools available to help determine what a competitive salary looks like. Generation Z can bring stats and figures into the interview, and will have a stronger argument when it comes time to determine their salary. If they feel that the company is undervaluing them, they may just look elsewhere for employment.

3. Maternity (and paternity) leave

When comparing the must-haves of Generation Z against those of all the other age groups, the biggest difference comes with maternity and paternity leave. Thirty-three percent of those in Gen Z want this provided by their employer, while only twenty-five percent of respondents from other generations said the same. This highlights a growing shift towards personal benefits, rather than work benefits. Past generations may have looked for jobs with perks – such as a good parking space, a company car, or an office with a view – but this new generation is more practical. They don’t want their jobs to interfere with their personal lives, and also want the security of knowing their job will still be there if they decide to take time off to raise a child.

4. A good boss

Another big factor for Generation Z is having a boss that they can respect. Generation Z knows that if they are going to be in an office every day working for another person, it better be someone they can get along with. Another study showed that seventy-two percent of Generation Z wants to start their own business – meaning they would be their own boss. If someone from this generation is working for a boss that they don’t like or respect, they may very well just start working for themselves.

5. Professional development

Generation Z doesn’t want to be stuck at the same level in their career forever. They want a job that will help train and promote them to do more so that they can eventually move up to a larger role. We have also seen that younger generations tend to job hop more between companies, and that staying with one company for only a few years is not uncommon. Generation Z wants to contribute to a company, but they also want that company to contribute to their own professional development.

6. Flexibility to change roles

Lastly, if someone from Generation Z does decide to stay with a certain company, they want the ability to change roles within it. They want to be able to try new things, learn new skills, and take on different responsibilities throughout their career. If a company is able to offer them some flexibility, they are more likely to stay with that company on a longer term.

This was one of the largest differences in the survey, with thirty-two percent of Gen Z respondents wanting flexibility, compared to only twenty-five percent for everyone else. Generation Z wants to try new things, so if your company wants to keep its employees, you’ll need to offer them that flexibility.

Start preparing for Generation Z

The young people making up Generation Z are going to be a major part of the workforce before we know it. Soon, every company will be after the youngest and brightest talent, competing against one another in order to attract these newcomers in. If you want your business to be an attractive landing spot, you need to focus on what Generation Z is looking for. While some of the items on their wish list are common amongst all generations – a good salary and a good boss, for example – Generation Z places more importance on these and other factors. If you want your company to thrive, you’ll need to place an importance on them as well.

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