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Gen-Z – Who are they and what do they want from employers?

The UK’s workforce is currently made up of a mix of the below generations:

Baby Boomers: People born from 1944-1964.

Generation X (aka Gen-X): People born from 1965-1980.

Generation Y (aka Millennials): People born from 1981-1996.

Generation Z (aka Gen-Z): People born from 1997-2012.

With an estimated 4.3m1 people employed within the gen-Z bracket, this generation is a rapidly growing proportion of the UK workforce and a demographic like no other before them.

They are the first generation to grow up as ‘digital natives’, with the internet so deeply integrated into their daily lives. They have an online ecosystem that informs and influences their personal and professional choices – it’s there go-to information source.

The Gen-Z population are far more focused on ‘people and the planet’, with a strong connection to sustainability, diversity, equity & inclusion, and wellbeing. In fact, these areas are key drivers to their career decisions. Recent research reported that a third2 of Gen-Z workers rejected job offers based on a company’s poor green credentials, 83%3 said they consider an employer’s commitment to diversity & inclusion when deciding where to work, and 51%4 are more likely to prioritise health and wellbeing over work, listing positive culture, mental health and wellbeing benefits and a sense of purpose as their top three priorities

So, how do employers attract and retain the Gen-Z workforce and deliver upon their expectations?

Work life balance

Seeking careers that allow them to have flexibility in managing their personal and professional lives makes work life balance incredibly important to them. Remote work options and flexible working are growing in popularity, with many businesses embracing this change and recognising the business benefits of adopting this approach. Whilst not viable for all businesses, if this may work for you and you haven’t considered this yet, you could be excluding your business from a pool of talent.

Promote the good you do

This generation seeks meaningful, purpose-driven careers, and want to make a positive impact in society. They look for employers that align with their values and have a strong environmental, social & governance agenda. Work is no longer about just earning a paycheck, it’s about helping people and the planet thrive. Ensure you highlight your business’ green credentials to demonstrate this is important to you too. 

Career progression

This is an ambitious and career-focused generation, seeking opportunities for growth and development. They prioritise continuous learning and are open to changing jobs frequently to advance their careers. They also value job security and seek employers who offer the potential for advancement and mentorship. Shouting about your business’ learning & development opportunities or strengthening your offering can help you stand out from the crowd.

Take a digital lead

Being a digitally native generation, Gen-Z are attracted to tech-driven careers or businesses that adopt a digital ethos. Try not to be stagnant in this space and don’t be afraid to move away from more traditional approaches to business. Attracting Gen-Z workers can be hugely advantageous as they can help and support businesses embrace and implement new technology and bring fresh ideas to the table.

Get your culture right

Work environment is critical and perhaps somewhat contrary to popular belief, this generation value and seek out approachable and collaborative cultures that foster teamwork, communication, and diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. They also have a strong social agenda and are drawn to companies that promote togetherness and offer a fun and social workplace environment.

Implement a wellbeing strategy

Employee wellbeing is continuing to rise up the agenda for businesses and remains a hot topic within the news given the current economic challenges we are all facing. A holistic approach to wellbeing, focusing on mental, financial, physical and social, and one that is tailored to the unique make up of your workforce, will undoubtedly bring a variety of benefits to your business. Gen-Z expect their employer to support their wellbeing therefore ensure your employees are aware of what’s available to them, drive engagement with your offering, and if you feel you could be doing more in this area, make this a high priority for enhancement.

Overall, Generation Z expects careers that offer a healthy work life balance, meaningful work that aligns with their values, continuous learning opportunities, potential for growth, and their employer to have a duty of care to their wellbeing.

On reflection, these expectations are not unreasonable. In fact, most of them are likely to resonate with many of us in the workplace, and to an extent, follow the career paths and development of the generations before them. The key difference is that they know what they want and are unlikely to compromise on their expectations from within the employment market.

Whether you agree with their expectations of the employment market or not, they are the future of our workforce, and if as employers we do not react to their needs, in a generation where entrepreneurship and start-ups are a growing trend, they are likely to go out alone and the labour market shortages we are currently experiencing will most likely continue.

Whilst some employers may worry this generation has less experience, they are well-educated, have an abundance of skills, and are an ambitious generation wanting to make a difference.

For more information and advice on employee health & wellbeing, please reach out to Steve Hope via 07920 840 741or email