To truly understand this new generational cohort and what their entry into
the workplace will mean, employers first need to appreciate the environment
in which they came of age and forces that shaped their outlook:
• The Great Recession and the slow, decade-long recovery
that followed in its wake: watching parents lose jobs; seeing older
Millennial siblings having to move back home.
• The growing wealth gap between income groups: from 2007-2016,
the high-income group saw its income increase 1,425% more than
the low-income group and four times the middle-income cohort —
and the gap is widening15.
• Rising non-discretionary expenses, such as housing, transportation,
food and healthcare.
• A dramatic rise in higher education tuition and student debt will make
this generation the most educated and indebted generation to date16.
These key factors have shaped Gen Z behaviors and their view of
work, the future and those organizations and industries to which
The core values of the generation are reflected in their prioritizing
social activism more than previous generations and in the importance
they place on working at organizations whose values align with their
own, with 77% of respondents saying that it’s important. Gen Z no
longer forms opinions of a company solely based on the quality of
their products/services but also now on their ethics, practices and
social impact. To win the hearts of Gen Z, companies and employers
will need to highlight their efforts to be good global citizens. While
focusing on the quality of the goods/services you provide is still
important, a company’s ethics are more important than ever.
Moreover, actions speak more loudly than words: Companies must
demonstrate their commitment to a broader set of societal challenges,
such as sustainability, climate change and hunger. Not only must
companies have strong ethics, they have to demonstrate they take
action consistent with their ethics and values, and this action must be
front and center of their brand for prospective Gen Z buyers and
employees to see.
For more on the Gen Z perspective of work click here