Gen Z is the age group that has been most affected by the harsh realities of pandemic job loss, career confusion and burnout. It's about time that all employers started to think about nurturing their young talent! The poster people for creativity and trailblazers in crafting a new way of working, we looked at the stats to see exactly what Gen Z wants from the world of work.
Mental health pushed to the forefront
Over the past few years, frank conversations surrounding mental health have dominated both mainstream media and interpersonal dialogues alike. Struggling openly has become, to an extent, legitimised and is on the way to becoming rightly destigmatised. For Gen Z, protecting mental health in the workplace is vital.
According to Voxburner, 84% of Gen Z have experienced mental health issues as a direct result of the pandemic. And when we say ‘push mental health to the forefront we don’t mean by hosting a performative wellbeing day once a month where you get given an Innocent smoothie and some essential oils (true story), we mean solidifying fundamental structures that protect employees.
Diversity in the workplace
Gen Z has been dubbed ‘the queerest generation ever’ by Gallup with 1 in 6 adults from the group identifying as queer. Whilst queerness is just one small slice of diversity, the generation calls for increased diversity in every aspect of the workplace. 64% of young professionals cite diversity and inclusion as a key factor in whether they accept a role! The numbers speak for themselves, there is no excuse for diversity to not be the first thought when hiring and creating an accessible and welcoming company culture. Also, a diversified workforce paves the way for more dynamic decision making. It’s something that employers should always be thinking about.
A brand that reflects current social attitudes
When you’re confronted by a brand, it’s hard to get fully on board if what they stand for doesn’t reflect your social attitudes. The same goes for getting on with someone in real life when they don’t have the same morals or opinions as you - it doesn’t work! In June 2020, 83% of people who were asked ‘Would you boycott a brand if you disagree with their values?’ answered with a hard yes! That was up 30% from when they were asked in January of the same year. What does this tell us? It tells us that brands and companies have no excuse to not be socially conscious. Failure to do so could ultimately lead to a direct decline in Gen Z employees, customers and clients. Social justice is a massive talking point for our generation, and it simply isn’t good enough to promote fast fashion or bypass the needs of local communities. Furthermore, it is also not good enough for brands to preach social activism and consciousness without putting in the actual work. We want to see you show genuine support for demos, and funding relevant charities. Transparency is key.
Opportunities to grow
If there’s one piece of information that you should take away from Gen Z as a social group, it’s that they know their worth! Giving up your soul and time to companies and employers without being aptly appreciated just won’t cut it for our feisty Gen Z’rs. They need to be challenged, and they need growth opportunities, otherwise, it’s on to the next, we’re afraid! And it’s not just promotions and job changes that fall under career growth, it’s having ideas championed and being given ample chances to prove their skills and autonomy within the workplace. The last thing you want is to feel stuck and bored in a work role. So yeah, trust the generation and give them the credit they deserve. According to LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace learning report, 76% of Gen Z consider learning as the key to their advancement. So say what you will about Gen Z sitting on their bums, waiting for opportunities to come their way, the figures speak an altogether different truth.
The thing about the office is, you simply don’t need it. If the last year has shown us anything it’s that work from home is more than just a possibility, it works. And although some employers resist letting their staff work from home every day (let’s be honest it’s good company culture to be able to have a pint with your workmates after a long hard slog of a day) flexi work should be championed. Give employees the choice. Let them work flexible hours, and let them develop a working pattern that benefits them, and subsequently you. A recent report carried out by Citrix Systems illustrated that 90% of Gen Z and Millennials combined don’t want to return to full-time office work post-pandemic. It’s cringy but true, a happy workforce equals better work. You do the maths! Of course, some careers don’t allow for flexible work, but when it’s a possibility it should be ready for the taking.
Words: Grace Goslin