ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Fast Company conducted a study of 500 Gen Zs across the U.S. ages 18 to 24 to better understand what the generation really wants and how companies can create work environments, including compensation and benefits packages, that will both attract and retain this generation.
The biggest finding Fast Company found was that Gen Z’s expectations of potential employers are much different from what the previous generation expected. If we want to attract and retain Zs, we need to acknowledge they aren’t millennials, says Fast Company.
Here are four key findings about Gen Z, according to the study.
The created narrative around compensation: Salaries matter to Gen Z despite the assumption that this generation will take a job that offers cushy benefits such as unlimited vacation but low pay. Sixty-one percent of Gen Zs said fair pay and benefits are most important to them.
Mental health support: Gen Z’s want mental health support, with 51% placing this expectation in the top three most important things they look for in a job—and that preference held true across ages, geography and political affiliation. For Gen Zs, mental health has a medical basis, as one in three people ages 13–18 will experience an anxiety disorder, and teen suicide rose 56% between 2007 and 2017. To help support their mental health, Gen Z wants paid sick leave for mental health care, mental health benefits, and they want employers to emphasize a better work/life balance.
Remote work fallacy: Remote work isn’t that much of a priority for the generation. Only 34% of Gen Zs rated remote work options in their top three most-important job benefits, and only 30% of Gen Zs wanted a fully remote position. Fast Company says that Gen Z want to be in an office setting because they never got to experience an in-person internship or take a business trip. Many working Gen Zs have never even set foot in a physical office. Although Gen Zs are comfortable working and interacting digitally, they realize the importance of connecting with people face to face.
Traditional jobs: Gen Z actually wants traditional jobs but an updated version that speaks to their priorities. That may seem selfish, but the generation realizes that asking for certain benefits not only helps them but also other generations and creates a better work environment for everyone. Fast Company advises to not think of Zs as the generation that opts out of the traditional workplace, but instead, think of them as opting into jobs that deliver a new kind of workplace culture, and shift what you offer accordingly.
NACS Magazine recently dived into how to hire Gen Z in the article “Are You Ready for a Gen Z Workforce?” in the September 2021 issue. NACS also hosted a two-part webinar series “Finding and Hiring Employees in a Post-Pandemic Economy.”