The newest generation into the workplace also values work-life balance and positive mental health initiatives. Employers looking to attract younger people should take note.
Pola Orzechowska – Aprais
The same but different
As with any generation, Generation Z (born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s1) face unique circumstances that have shaped their worldview and outlook.
This is the most diverse generation in history both ethically and racially. This has forced Gen Z to try to understand themselves earlier on and try to navigate previously homogenous cultures.
Many within this generation experienced the recession of 2008 as children, watching parents and older siblings lose their jobs and struggle financially.
Throughout their lives, the wealth gap has grown wider and wider with the higher earning group seeing an income increase 1425% greater than the lower group2. The rising cost of living and rising university fees have also placed significant importance on financial stability.
“It’s about financial stability, entrepreneurial opportunities and company values”.
So, it’s not a surprise that Gen Z prioritises financial stability and security over personal fulfillment. However, they still desire entrepreneurial opportunities. They just prefer to do it in the safety of stable employment.
This also means that if a Gen Z person finds a company who promotes these opportunities, they are likely to stay loyal to it. When choosing a company to work for, Gen Z favours companies and industries that are a part of their personal lives as well.
Corporate values – perception vs. reality
However, the driving force of how companies are perceived by Gen Z is how the company’s values align with theirs specifically with their ethics and social impact. 77% of Gen Z respondents say that it is important to focus on the values of a company2. It’s clear to see that social activism is a core value in this generation. Although Gen Z does value salary and financial security, they also care about the social impact of their company, work-life balance, and other benefits.
A passionate focus of Gen Z, alongside sustainability and diversity, is mental health. 2022 research has found that stress and anxiety remain heightened post-pandemic for Gen Z, especially for women.
53% of Gen Z women say that they felt ‘regularly stressed or anxious’ in comparison to 39% of Gen Z men3. The effect of the rising costs and income gaps is particularly felt in Gen Z’s mental health. 47% of Gen Z say that “their long-term financial future is contributing a lot to the stress” and 42% say that they consider their day-to-day finances to be a top contributor3.
Hybrid work and mental health
Many within Gen Z are eager to maintain hybrid work models as many are seeing the benefits of relieving their day-to-day stresses. 75% of Gen Z respondents say that they would prefer either hybrid working by splitting their time between remote and on-site working or just entirely working remotely3.
They cite benefits such as saving money and having a greater work-life balance through having time for hobbies and family. Another added benefit some have found is feeling like they can be their authentic self.
This all contributes to more positive mental health. As with anything, there remain some challenges to working remotely. 20% of Gen Z said that ‘it made forming connections with colleagues more difficult3. Less than 15% said that the opportunities for mentorship or sponsorship were more difficult to find3.
It is clear that the hybrid working model or remote working does still need to be properly implemented to help alleviate negative mental health.
Since the pandemic, it’s clear that there has been a growing emphasis on mental health in most companies. However, Gen Z are yet to feel a noticeable difference at work.
53% of Gen Z acknowledge that their place of work talks about mental health but they’re yet to see any meaningful impact on the employees3. 33% also say that they would not be comfortable discussing their mental health with their manager and opt out of using regular catch-ups for that3.
Adapting to Gen Z priorities
Gen Z are adamant on prioritising mental health not only in the workplace but in society as well. This will require changing the way companies operate and creating inclusive cultures focused on empathy.
As alien as the younger generation can seem with their trends and vibes, it is clear that they are focused on using their experiences to better the working environment for all generations. By understanding their core values and needs, organisations can be better suited to attract the most educated and diverse generation.
About the author
Pola Orzechowska is Client Services Executive with Aprais. She is Gen Z.
Pola joined Aprais after graduating from New York University with a degree in biochemistry. She began her career in immunological research at NYU before making the switch to marketing consulting. As a member of the client services team, she oversees the Aprais process for several global clients and provides an analytical and methodical perspective to the evaluation process for our clients and consultants.
- “Generation Z Definition and Meaning: Collins English Dictionary.” Generation Z Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/generation-z.
- Gomez, Karianne, et al. “Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace.” Deloitte, Deloitte, 30 Aug. 2019, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/understanding-generation-z-in-the-workplace.html.
- “The Mental Health of Gen Zs and Millennials in the New World of Work.” Deloitte, Deloitte, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/deloitte-2022-genz-millennial-mh-whitepaper.pdf.