Top Career Motivations of Gen Z and Reasons They Choose an Employer

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In the dance of generations at work, Gen Z holds the floor now. They will be the fastest-growing generation in the workforce over the next decade. To attract this emerging talent, employers should consider the top items Gen Z is looking for at work.

A recent study of 11,495 of the highest-achieving high-school students, college students and recent college graduates in the United States reveals the preferences, attitudes and goals of the next generation of workers.

Top three career motivations for Gen Z

1. Entrepreneurial culture

Gen Z is incredibly entrepreneurial, 60% express a desire to start their own businesses. Leaders must create an entrepreneurial culture that nurtures innovation, creativity and risk-taking.

Encourage Gen Z employees to explore and develop their ideas, providing opportunities for them to spearhead projects and initiatives. Foster an environment that embraces experimentation and learning from failure. By fostering an entrepreneurial culture, leaders can tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of Gen Z, harnessing their innovative ideas and driving organizational growth.

Related: The 5 Things Gen Z Is Looking for in a Job and Career

2. Personalization and individuality

Gen Z craves personalization and desires to bring their authentic selves to work. 92% of Gen Z prefer to have the option of personalizing their workspace. Leaders should embrace individuality and create a flexible environment that allows for personal expression and customization.

Provide Gen Z employees with the freedom to design how, where, when and what they work on. Encourage diverse perspectives and opinions, valuing the unique contributions that each individual brings to the table. By embracing personalization and individuality, leaders can foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among Gen Z employees.

3. Social impact and purpose

Gen Z is deeply passionate about making a positive impact on society. 76% of Gen Z prioritize working for organizations that align with their values. Leaders must incorporate social impact and purpose into their organizational mission and values. Clearly communicate the organization’s commitment to social responsibility and highlight initiatives that contribute to the greater good.

Provide opportunities for Gen Z employees to engage in volunteer work, community service, or sustainability projects. By integrating social impact into the workplace, leaders can attract and retain Gen Z talent who are driven by a desire to create a meaningful difference.

Understanding and adapting to Gen Z’s expectations is crucial for leaders to build successful organizations in the future. By cultivating an entrepreneurial culture that embraces innovation, encourages personalization and individuality, and incorporates social impact and purpose, leaders can expect to attract, engage and retain Gen Z.

Understanding Gen Z’s career drivers is part of the formula for effectively attracting and engaging new talent. The other part is understanding what factors they are considering when working for an employer.

According to another recent study of 14,483 Gen Z respondents across 44 countries, these are the top reasons Gen Z chooses an employer.

Top four reasons Gen Z chooses to work at a company

1. Good work-life Balance

When it comes to choosing an employer, work-life balance is a paramount consideration for Gen Z. This generation grew up in a hyperconnected world, witnessing the potential downsides of an “always-on” culture. They prioritize their well-being and seek employers who understand the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Gen Z craves flexibility, autonomy and the ability to pursue their passions outside of work.

To attract Gen Z talent, companies must prioritize work-life balance initiatives that foster a harmonious integration of personal and professional lives.

2. Learning and development opportunities

Gen Z is a generation that values continuous growth, seeking opportunities to acquire new skills, expand their knowledge, and advance their careers. They prioritize employers who invest in their professional development and provide a clear path for advancement.

To attract and retain Gen Z talent, companies must prioritize learning and development initiatives that align with their aspirations and foster a culture of growth.

3. High salary or financial benefits

Gen Z cites the cost of living as their top societal concern, above unemployment and climate change. So, not surprisingly, pay is top of mind when choosing an employer. As they enter the workforce, Gen Z faces economic pressures and desires financial stability. They seek employers who offer competitive compensation packages and financial incentives.

Companies must address Gen Z’s financial aspirations and provide avenues for financial growth if they want to secure next-generation talent.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring and Retaining Gen Z Talent

4. Positive workplace culture

Gen Z seeks an environment that is inclusive, collaborative, and supportive, where they can thrive both personally and professionally. Gen Z values a workplace culture that fosters strong relationships, encourages open communication, and promotes a sense of belonging.

By prioritizing and fostering a culture of recognition and appreciation, leaders can create an environment that aligns with Gen Z’s aspirations and values.

Gen Z is here, ready to make their mark on the world of work, and companies must adapt to effectively attract and engage this generation. By understanding Gen Z’s career motivations and aligning with the reasons they select an employer, companies can create workplaces that inspire and retain Gen Z talent.

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