Gen Z’s approach to work might not be that different after all

The goals and aspirations of Gen Z employees often perplex senior managers, who may struggle to understand this generation. However, this presents an opportunity for organizations to embrace new mindsets and work practices that can benefit all. Gen Z, comprising over a quarter of the global population, has distinct priorities and a strong desire for meaningful jobs. A recent Graduate Outlook Survey conducted by CFA Institute revealed that 75% of U.S. respondents prioritize a good salary. In an era of rising inflation and financial obligations, financial stability is understandably important to this generation. The survey also found that 49% of U.S. graduates prefer a mix of remote and in-office work, while 44% seek completely flexible working options. Employers should be mindful of these preferences and avoid rigid return-to-office policies that could deter current and future employees.

While salary remains crucial, Gen Z also emphasizes purpose. About 91% of respondents expressed a desire to make a positive social or environmental impact through their careers, with 25% considering an employer's overall impact. Financial institutions must do a better job of connecting finance careers with societal contributions, as Gen Z increasingly values this connection. The survey further highlighted that recent graduates expect continuous learning and upskilling opportunities in their jobs. Organizations should prioritize offering certifications and training courses that allow new hires to grow professionally and advance their careers. Upskilling and acquiring certifications were deemed important by over 90% of respondents, with 69% acknowledging the impact of professional certifications on job prospects and earning potential.

Contrary to the perception that Gen Z is prone to job-hopping, the survey indicated that recent graduates are likely to stay in their first roles for up to four years if their expectations are met. They value longevity at a company, indicating the importance of meeting their expectations. Additionally, despite the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and fears of a potential recession, respondents expressed confidence about their career prospects, with 75% feeling optimistic and more than half believing their prospects will surpass those of their parents.

Employers have always aimed to understand the values and goals of different generations to build resilient workforces. While times change, our survey revealed some fundamental truths: employees desire fair compensation and respectful treatment. In conclusion, Gen Z may not be as different as perceived.  

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