3 Key Ways Generation Z’s Workforce Ideals Differ from Millennials

3 Key Ways Generation Z’s Workforce Ideals Differ from Millennials

Given most generation-focused content seems to be centered around Millennials (those born roughly between 1980-1995), it can be somewhat easy to overlook the new kids on the block: Generation Z (Gen Z). Born between 1995-2009, Gen Z is largest population group in the world. And with their eldest members starting to enter the workforce, it won’t be possible to ignore them for much longer.

Similar to their millennial predecessors, Gen Zers’ workplace values emphasize diversity and representation, underscore that businesses should strive to make a positive impact on society, and recognize the value Industry 4.0 can provide as a job enabler, among other things. However, while there are several core similarities in values and desires between millennials and Gen Zers, here are three discernable differences to be aware of when looking to recruit the newest workforce generation for your clients:


1. Gen Zers are Even Less Loyal Than Millenails

Millennials are notoriously known for their lack of company loyalty. Looking at year-over-year averages from 2016-2018, more than 41% of surveyed millennials expect to leave their company within two years; with less than 30% planning to stay with their current organization beyond five years.

While those numbers seem dismal enough, Gen Z is giving those stats a run for their money. With 61% of Gen Zers planning to leave their current employer within the next two years, and only 12% of respondents planning on staying with their organization beyond five years, it’s clear that Gen Z is even less phased by company loyalty than millennials.


2. They’re Slightly More Optimistic

While both millennials and Gen Zers are more optimistic about the economy than they are about the world’s current social and political situations, Gen Z’s responses seemed to reflect a slightly higher economic confidence.

In addition to 47% of Gen Zers anticipating economic situations to improve across the global market (compared to 45% of millennials), nearly 80% of Gen Zers in emerging markets believe circumstances will improve (versus 53% of millennials in the same market).

Further evidence of Gen Z’s optimism is demonstrated in the fact that half of respondents predict that they will be better off than their parents, despite anticipating having fewer opportunities for a fulfilling working life/career than millennials, their parents, or their grandparents.


3. Gen Z Appears More Inclined to Join the Gig Economy

With nearly a third of the U.S. workforce expected to move towards contingent roles by 2026, it seems Gen Z is welcoming this shift.

When asked for reasons why they’d consider joining the gig economy, 62% of millennials and 56% of Gen Zers listed “earning more money/increase my income” as their top reason. However, more Gen Zers than Millennials (41% vs 39%) indicated that “work[ing] the hours I want to work” was more of a reason to consider contract or freelance work—a facet very specific to the gig economy.

Overall, Gen Z seems more open to the gig economy’s appeal than millennials. With 15% of Gen Z respondents noting they already have worked temporary or freelance jobs (compared to 14% of millennials), and only 13% saying they would never consider it (compared to 17% of millennials).

Furthermore, when asked about considering joining the gig economy instead of full-time employment, Gen Z demonstrated an even bigger receptiveness. In this instance, 49% of surveyed Gen Zers said they would consider (compared to 43% of millennials), while 18% of Gen Zers said they already have. Ultimately, only 27% of Gen Zers said they wouldn’t consider joining the gig economy full-time, while nearly 40 percent of millennials said they wouldn’t.


While researchers are just starting to scratch the surface on Gen Z and how their ideals might impact the future of recruiting, these early findings are indicative of what’s to come and what we can expect as more Gen Zers enter the workforce in the coming years. As a staffing company/recruiter, knowing what Gen Z workers value can help you be more innovative in how you attract younger talent, as well as enable you to be more consultative to your clients about what workers will want in their companies/roles!

Source: Research and numbers found in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey