Here’s what you need to know about Gen Z, boss
You might think they’re just kids glued to their smartphones—and many of them still are—but the successors to Millennials could be the most workforce-ready generation yet.
It’s easy to underestimate Generation Z, that is, if you estimate them at all.
As Millennials’ successors, Gen Z—the crux of whom were born after 2000—is all-too-easily chalked up as a gaggle of Snapchat-obsessed, smartphone-addicted kids, who are too wrapped up in Pokémon Go to be serious about their future careers. But a new Monster study suggests that Gen Z is harder working and more ambitious than you probably thought.
Recently, Monster and global research firm TNS fielded the inaugural Monster Multi-Generational Survey, which surveyed more than 2,000 working and non-working people across the Boomer, X, Y and Z generations to find out what makes them each tick when it comes to jobs. More than 500 of the respondents were aged 15 to 20—a.k.a. a core sampling Gen Z’ers that are starting to think about work.
Since you’re likely to be among this generation’s leaders when they enter the workforce, you might want to know whom you’re about to be dealing with.
When can I count on them to join my team?
If you don’t currently work with members of Gen Z, you will soon. Gen Z totals 60 million—outnumbering Millennials by 1 million.
While the oldest Gen Z-ers have just entered the workforce, 77% of Monster’s survey respondents say they’re still in school. The majority should be heading into full-time jobs over the next half-decade, however.
What do they want out of work?
Compared to the other generations studied by Monster, Gen Z’s approach to work habits is remarkably practical and money-minded. Seven out of ten described salary as their top work motivator, while 70% also described health insurance as their top workplace “must-have.”
So much for the XBox and office rock climbing walls companies have long been using to draw Millennials.
You may, however, need to think about shelling out a few more dollars per quarter for their tech. Some 39% of Gen Z respondents in the survey said a smartphone will be “essential” to their jobs, compared to just 25% of those polled in all prior generations, and 23% expect texting will be necessary for their work communications (vs. 13% across all other working generations). And you’d better get the full data package, since nearly a quarter of these always-on digital natives said “social networking” will be essential to their work vs. only 9% across all other working generations.
Additionally, with remote work becoming more common, it’s no surprise that Gen Z assumes you’ll be giving them laptop computers (37% said these are “essential” to their future job vs. 30% across all other working generations).
So they’re not going to be slackers?
No. In fact, they’re anything but.
According to the survey, 76% of Gen Z respondents described themselves as responsible for driving their own career.
Meanwhile 58% said they’d be willing to work nights and weekends for higher pay. Compared with previous generations: Only 45% of Millennials said they’d put in more hours for more money, while for Gen X and baby boomers the percentage dropped to 40% or lower. So the great news is that you will have some very productive heads-down workers joining your team—but they’ll come at a cost.
While salary is important to this group, it’s not the only thing driving them to work hard: 74% rank purpose ahead of a paycheck (vs. 70% of millennials, 66% of Gen X and 67% of Boomer respondents). In other words, these young people want to care about the work they do. So it’ll be important for you to help keep Gen Z engaged in the mission of what you’re doing if you want to keep them engaged in the job.
If your Gen Z hires do decide to quit on you, it may be because they’re ready to go solo. Nearly half (42%) said they want to have their own business. That’s 10 percentage points higher than all other working generations surveyed. In a world where apps like Snapchat (whose founder is the ripe old age of 26) and Uber (whose No. 2 executive is all of 33) can achieve seemingly overnight success, what’s to stop someone in the ranks of Gen Z from creating the next big thing?
Recognizing Gen Z’s entrepreneurial obsession, you might want to offer your future employees more opportunity to “own” their work to keep these hard workers on the payroll as long as you can.