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Gen Z in the Workplace – Part 2: Job Preferences

As the “young employee” scale tips further away from Millennials, and increasingly towards Gen Z, it is paramount that executives understand what motivates a whole new generation of employees. In Part I of this mini-series, we discussed what employers should do to attract and retain Gen Z talent. This article asks a related question:

What is Gen Z looking for in their actual jobs?

As always, discussions like these are about trends — never hard and fast rules. With that in mind, let’s dive into two key topics.

What Job Characteristics Will Gen Z seek?

Autonomy - Research suggests that Gen Z wants feedback, but prefers not to be micromanaged. Since they were raised in the “just Google it” era, they often prefer to conduct their own research before requesting a manager’s help, especially when it comes to non-essential details. Still, they do desire feedback, praise, and guidance.

Job Security - Growing up during the 2008 recession (including its aftermath) likely played a role in forming Gen Z’s collective psychology, which places an emphasis on job security. Gen Z is not looking for careers characterized by slow incremental advancement (as in the highly predictable careers of past generations). Gen Z is looking for competitive salaries, health insurance, and management they can respect.

Freedom and Flexibility - Gen Z wants to work hard, but is the least excited of all generations when it comes to adhering to traditional norms. Gen Z is interested in alternatives to 9-5 work days, and the majority cite the idea of work-life balance being important to them. For this reason, they may seek jobs that offer more freedom.

Value Alignment - Gen Z is the most likely of all generations to consider the social impact of their career choices. Growing up in a highly politicized social environment, many Gen Z applicants will look for jobs that align with their values, helping them make an impact on society.

Technology - Growing up in the age of smartphones and drones has made Gen Z extremely comfortable (some might even say reliant) on technology. They are more likely than any previous generation to look for jobs in which they can put these skills into practice.

Collaboration - Gen Z isn’t afraid of, and even embraces collaboration. Hyper-connected through the use of social media and tech, Gen Z is accustomed to crowdsourcing opinions and expressing viewpoints.

Great Managers - All professionals want to work for talented managers. Gen Z is no different! Gen Z craves feedback and wants managers that will invest in their growth.

What Industries will Gen Z Gravitate Towards?

Research from Microsoft and Glassdoor gives us a peek into what kinds of career opportunities are in high demand with Gen Z. Notably “most in demand” isn’t the same thing as “most common.” But it does mean these will be competitive, growing areas for Gen Z talent. Here are a few trends:

To learn more, check out research from Glassdoor 2019 and TechRepublic.

Next up - There’s no denying it, Gen Z is here to stay! Part I of this mini-series covered what employers can do to be attractive to Gen Z. Next up, Part III covers what qualities Gen Z seeks in their supervisors and managers.

Topics : Articles, Employee Management, Hiring

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