What Gen Z Wants from Employers

Claire Hastwell

Author

Claire Hastwell

Author

CATEGORIES

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Gen Z is coming to your workplace.

The generation born between 1997 and 2012 may be just entering the workforce, but smart employers are already thinking about how their company culture can attract and retain Gen Z.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16- to 24-year-olds made up 11.6% of the workforce in 2020, primarily in the industries of retail, hospitality, and senior living — all of which were hardest hit by the pandemic and lockdowns. Because of this, this generation has a unique perspective as new workers under extraordinary circumstances.

In our research of workplaces around the country, we’ve collected over 32,000 Gen Z employee responses from over 350 companies. Here’s what Gen Z says they want from employers in 2021 and beyond.

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What Gen Z wants from employers

 

1. Diverse and inclusive workplace

Gen Z is tracking to be the most diverse workforce yet, with our data showing 47% of Gen Z employees identifying as

BIPOC By comparison, 39% of Millennial workers we surveyed identified as PoC, versus 34% of Gen X and only 25% of Boomers.

Pew Research Center points to changing immigration patterns —immigration to the U.S. peaked in 2005 and then declined — that have shaped Gen Z’s demographics. There are fewer Gen Zs than Millennials who are foreign-born, but a higher number who were born in the U.S. to immigrant parents.

As Gen Z grows into the workforce, employers must learn how to best manage a diverse team and get serious about DEIB initiatives. This includes:

•  Ensuring a diverse slate of candidates to secure the best talent

•  Training other employees (particularly older generations) on DEIB, and

•  Ensuring there’s representation across the leadership team.

 

2. Livable pay

Pay was the number one topic Gen Z employees commented on in our research, with calls for better minimum wage and increased hourly pay. Only 69% of Gen Z employees said they feel they’re paid fairly, which is 7 points below other generations.

Because of their young age and career stage, most Gen Z employees are working in industries such as retail and hospitality, which tend to be lower-paying or reliant on tips. These were also the industries most impacted by lockdowns, leaving Gen Z workers bearing the brunt of COVID-19 furloughs and closures.

According to payroll company ADP, Gen Z was hardest hit by job losses in 2020, losing some 11% of their jobs, well above the national average (6.7%) and impacts to other age groups.

With the current hiring crunch slamming retail and hospitality in particular, employers wanting to attract Gen Z talent will need to offer fair pay and earn the trust of a generation uniquely hit by the crisis.

 

3. Mentally healthy and safe place to work

Some of the widest gaps between Gen Z and other generations are around feeling their workplaces are psychologically and emotionally healthy.

In our research, Gen Z employees showed a 7-point difference on statements measuring:

•  Psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace environment

•  Ability to take time off from work when necessary

The American Psychological Association has identified Gen Z as the most stressed generation, attributed to growing up while the world has faced severe global challenges like gun violence, climate change, political instability, racial reckoning and a pandemic.

Great employers will need to ensure Gen Z feels emotionally supported in the workplace, through things like regular check-ins and encouragement to practice self-care (although, to be clear, that’s something all generations could benefit from after the past year).

 

4. Special meaning

Finding purpose and special meaning is something that has typically been associated with the Millennial generation. But our research found the meaning deficit is even more acute for Gen Z, who scored their employers:

•  8-points lower than other generations on how much their work has special meaning

•  7-point lower than other generations on how much they feel they make a difference at work

Grocery chain Wegmans is one example of a company that’s giving employees a voice, and 93% of Gen Z respondents at the company ranked it as a great place to work.

Wegmans management frequently seeks out ideas from the front-line workers who interact with customers the most, and all staff are invited to make suggestions and ask questions through “Ask Jack,” the company’s SVP of operations, Jack DePeters.

Since launching in 2002, Jack has responded to over 16,000 employee comments, with 68% of employees choosing to identify themselves by name rather than submit anonymously.

 

5. Warm welcome

Gen Z is still young. Many of them are just getting started in the workforce. A warm and thoughtful welcome can go a long way when you’re onboarding new grads and first-time employees.

With many employers switching to remote or hybrid workplaces post-pandemic, this can present a challenge — the usual practices of showing a new hire around the office or taking them out for lunch may no longer be an option for some workplaces.

But companies like YNAB are making it work. The software firm sends out welcome packages in the mail, timing them to arrive on an employee’s first day. The packages include YNAB swag, a booklet about the company’s vision and mission, personalized welcome messages from the team and a dinner gift card for the employee to celebrate their new job.

For someone new to the working world, efforts like this can go a long way to keeping them enthusiastic and engaged.

For years, Millennials have been the talked-about generation as brands have worked to woo them, either as customers or as employees (or both). But now that the next generation is on the workplace doorstep, employers need to start thinking now about how they’re going to attract the next gen of talent.

 

Recruit and manage Gen Z in the workplace

Want to effectively manage a diverse workforce and appeal to Gen Z? Find out why Emprising™ is trusted by Best Workplaces™ around the world. With an employee survey and data analysis in one place, you can know exactly how your company culture is engaging Gen Z in the workplace.

 

 

Claire Hastwell

As the Content Program Manager at Great Place To Work, Claire helps decode the psychology behind high-trust workplaces using Great Place To Work’s extensive data repository on employee experience. Claire has co-authored noted reports such as “Women in the Workplace” and “The Power of Purpose at Work,” and contributed to Fortune with her profiles of the Best Workplaces™. Her latest report on employee retention strategies draws on the experience of 1.3 million employees to give leaders strategic guidance on retaining their top people. 

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Micro 10-29 Employees
  • Small 30-99 Employees
  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from