The College Financial-Aid Scramble Students are bearing the brunt of the disastrous FAFSA overhaul. That may affect where they go to college—and whether they enroll at all.

Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010, has often been unfairly characterized as entitled, disengaged with work, and challenging to work with. However, this portrayal falls short of capturing the true nature of this generation, which is poised to become a significant part of the workforce. By the end of this year, Gen Z is set to surpass Baby Boomers in the U.S. workforce, with a projected 30% representation in the workforce by 2030.

### A Mature Outlook on Work

Contrary to common misconceptions, Gen Z brings a mature long-term perspective into the workplace. They prioritize upskilling, retirement benefits, stability, security, and wellness. Although they are willing to work hard, they expect a new standard of employer support to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

### Essential Insights for Employers

Drawing on findings from Handshake's annual survey of this year's graduating class and new research on emerging talent with SH, here are four essential insights for employers regarding Gen Z:

1. **Retirement Benefits and Stability Matter:** Despite being in the early stages of their careers, Gen Z places a high value on retirement benefits and job stability due to the financial challenges observed by their parents during the Great Recession and the global pandemic.

2. **Success Defined by Skill Development:** Gen Z views success through the lens of skill development. They consider learning and developing advanced skills as essential components of their careers. They prioritize skill development over traditional indicators of success, such as a high salary or advancing to a senior role.

3. **Preference for a Flexible Workplace:** Gen Z places significant importance on a flexible workplace, seeking a mix of remote and in-person work and valuing flexible schedules. They consider a sustainable work-life balance as their primary definition of career success.

4. **Alignment of Values:** Gen Z seeks alignment between their own values and those of their employers. They prioritize corporate activism but do not necessarily expect their employer to spearhead social initiatives. They appreciate employers who acknowledge social issues and support causes they care about, without requiring public pronouncements on these matters.

### Strategies to Attract Gen Z

Employers can stand out to Gen Z by offering role-specific skills courses, tuition reimbursement, and personal time off for learning. Creating a supportive and flexible workplace, aligning with their values, and investing in the long-term well-being of their employees are critical strategies for attracting and retaining Gen Z workers.

In conclusion, Gen Z represents a generation not accurately reflected by common misconceptions. They are driven, ambitious, and focused on long-term well-being. To succeed in the future, companies must understand and adapt to the preferences and priorities of this upcoming generation of workers, as this investment will ultimately benefit the entire workforce.  

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