How prepared are you to meet Gen Z in the workplace?
For years, businesses have been focused on attracting the millennial market – both as customers and as employees. But now, Gen Z – those born between 1997 and 2012 – are coming of age and entering the workforce.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Gen Z makes up 20.3% of the U.S. population. And worldwide, Gen Z has surpassed millennials as the largest generation, making up 32% of the global population,
With the oldest Gen Zs 26 years old in 2023, they’re still a relatively small portion of the U.S. workforce (only 11.6% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). But as they age up, they’ll become as much of a force as — some may argue even more so than — the millennial generation.
Through our research on , we’
Gen Z is the most diverse generation
Gen Z key:
Gen Z is looking for something better
In our survey results, Gen Z returned lower marks for their employers than any other generation and were more likely to intend to leave:
- 32% more likely to leave than millennials
- 2 times more likely than Gen X
- 2.8 times more likely than boomers
Gen Z key:.
Gen Z is working in tough industries at a tough time
Because of their young age, Gen Zs are typically working in part-time, frontline roles, mostly in the retail, hospitality and aging services industries. While these are common entry-level careers for young workers, the impact of COVID-19 on these sectors has given Gen Z a unique crisis experience.
In retail and hospitality, they’ve faced furloughs due to lockdowns, followed by an increase in harassment and safety concerns as stores and restaurants have re-opened. In the aging services sector, which was already a demanding environment, they’ve faced unprecedented challenges in caring for the at-risk elderly.
Companies wanting to attract Gen Z talent will need to earn back the trust of a generation that feels employers didn’t step up in a time of crisis.
According to ADP, Gen Z was hardest hit by job losses last year. That age population lost 11% of their jobs, above the national average and impacts to other age groups.
And for younger Gen Zs, who are just finishing up their education, they’ve been confronted with cancelled classes and exams, delayed graduations, halted internships, and an overnight switch to online learning. All of this at a time when they should be excited to prepare for entering adulthood.
Employers would be smart to monitor how this plays out in the workforce. The trauma of joining the workforce at such a tumultuous time may be long-lasting and is likely to impact how Gen Zs view the workplace overall.
Already, our data shows exactly that. In our survey responses, while Gen X and millennials had mainly positive comments about how their companies handled the pandemic and supported employees, Gen Z had a much different experience.
Gen Z were significantly more likely to mention COVID-19 as evidence of how their company could have been better to employees:
- 78% more likely than millennials
- 160% more likely than Gen X
- 183% more likely than boomers
As a result, companies wanting to attract Gen Z talent will need to earn back the trust of a generation that feels employers didn’t step up in a time of crisis.
Gen Z key:
Want to hire the best Gen Z talent?
Make sure candidates know you offer a diverse, supportive and inclusive workplace by getting Great Place To Work-Certified™. Plus, surveying your employees with our Trust Index™ will help you ensure you are living up to Gen Z’s expectations of the workplace.