Workplaces have undergone a substantial shift in the past few years. From work-from-home and hybrid work policies to AI being initiated into everyday work, there are relatively few things that have remained the same since the start of the pandemic. Perhaps the largest driver of change is the surge of Gen Z in the workplace. Not only are they increasing in number in the workforce, but they are also changing how workplaces function as a whole.

According to Zurich Insurance Group, Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025. They are often characterized by their outspoken voices, collaborative nature and technological savviness. While this new workforce powerhouse seems to be a mystery to many older generations, they have made it clear what they are looking for when it comes to their careers.

Gen Z Wants: Fair Compensation

Compensation is the most important motivator when choosing a workplace for Gen Zers according to a survey by Handshake. The cost-of-living crisis coupled with the rise of student loan debts are key drivers in this generation’s placed importance on pay. Gen Z expects salary transparency.

Before the first interview, Gen Zers have done their research on the average market salary and the position’s average salary in the company for whom they are interviewing. Being honest about compensation and providing fair, competitive pay set expectations early for Gen Z and allow them to feel trusting of their new company.

Gen Z Wants: Purpose

Finding a company whose mission is in line with the applicant's personal values has always been crucial in the job search. This could not be more true for Gen Z. They place high importance in enacting real change in the world and are not afraid to be vocal about it. Nearly half (42%) of Gen Zers said they would rather work for a company that shares their values than one that pays more according to a Lever report.

Mission statements should be clearly written, honest and aspirational to attract Gen Z’s attention. Seeing the mission statement put into practice in an organization is paramount to not only attract Gen Z applicants, but to retain them as well.

Gen Z Wants: Empathy

Entering the workforce during a pandemic was no light feat for Gen Z. Because of this, they place high importance on the empathy of their bosses, but Gen Z and their bosses do not see eye-to-eye in this regard. Deloitte research found that Gen Z rated empathy as the second most important trait in a boss, while bosses ranked it as the fifth most important trait.

Gen Zers feel more valued and engaged when their bosses place an increased importance on being empathetic and they will tend to avoid toxic workplaces.

Gen Z Wants: Flexibility

Four-day workweeks, hybrid work schedules and mental health benefits are all ways employers have worked to increase employee mental and physical health in the past few years. Gen Z seeks out companies who prioritize employee mental wellness over those who solely concentrate on productivity.

This generation is seeking a modern approach to benefits and rewards. Gen Z prefers time off and greater flexibility as rewards for their hard work while organizations tend to favor more conventional types of compensation according to Forbes. Employers who are flexible are more likely to draw in and keep Gen Z talent.

Gen Z in the Workplace: Winds of Change

With five different generations currently in the workforce, it is to be expected that there will be discrepancies in viewpoints and how things should be done in the office. It's critical to know what obstacles to expect and the best strategies for dealing with them. Gen Z is the future of the workforce and their outspokenness has and will continue to shake up the current workplace.