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Generation Z in the Workforce

4 Min Read

The post-millennial generation is about to arrive in your workplace, but there are few overlaps between these digital natives and their older colleagues. Poised to disrupt the workforce with an influx of 61 million job seekers, Generation Z brings characteristics and expectations you might not anticipate to the office. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead of the transformation.


Who is Gen Z?

Members were born between 1995-2010, meaning the oldest are 22 and just entering the workforce.

  • 48% – Forty-eight percent are non-Caucasian1, which makes them the most diverse generation to date.
  • Defined by privacy, cautiousness, practicality, and mindfulness of the future, they tend to be more like their grandparents than millennials

Unprecedented digital connection…

Gen Z has never known life without technology at their fingertips (the first smartphone debuted when they were infants).

  • – On average, they use five screens – smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and iPod or iPad.2
  • 96% percent own a smartphone.3
  • More than half spend at least 10 hours a day on an electronic device.3

…but crave real-life connection

Despite being inundated with technology all their lives, Gen Z expresses concern about their digital devices and place high value on offline relationships.

  • Only 49 percent agree that social media is an important part of their life.1
  • Nearly 60 percent are concerned that social media is too public.1
  • 37% – Thirty-seven percent worry that technology is weakening their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop good people skills.4

Cautious (but reasonable) consumers

This generation grew up in the Great Recession and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has made for frugal shoppers with a distrust of big brands.

  • 35% – Thirty-five percent plan to start saving for retirement in their 20s.5


Gen Z makes up the latest wave of young professionals entering the workforce. Outnumbering their millennial predecessors, this group will make up forty percent of the working and consumer population by 2020.Twenty-eight percent of millennial managers look to Gen Z with concern, doubting their ability to recruit, retain, and train them. 5 Gen Z are hard workers – an asset to employers – but when it comes to recruiting and retaining, what matters to these incoming job seekers? We’ve compiled results from several surveys to find out.

Practical prospects

Gen Z is deeply driven by security. More pragmatic than millennials, Gen Z express concerns about money and benefits.

  • 65% – Sixty-five percent of respondents think salary is important.6
  • 70% – Seventy percent describe salary as their top motivator.7
  • 70% – Seventy percent say their top “must have” is health insurance.7

Career ownership

Not only do Gen Z work hard, they also take responsibility for their career. This generation is willing to put in the extra hours if they’ll be rewarded for it. They are competitive and want to be judged by their merit. This means they also value skill development and self-improvement, and they often prefer to work independently.

This also makes for a generation of entrepreneurs. Nearly half (42 percent) of the Monster Multi-Generational Survey respondents want to have their own business someday.7

  • Only 38 percent of respondents consider work-life balance to be important.6
  • 76 percent describe themselves as responsible for driving their own career.7
  • 58 percent say they’d work nights and weekends for higher pay.7

Technology as a tool

While Generation Z are anything but strangers to technology, they view it is a tool – not a toy. They are less enamored with flashy new releases than previous generations. These employees expect work phones and laptops. Adept at quickly picking up new technology and instantly accessing information, you can expect Gen Z workers to learn and start contributing sooner rather than later.

  • 23% – Twenty-three percent of respondents expect texting to be essential to workplace communication.7

Fans of face-to-face

Perhaps because of their digital environment, Gen Z place high value on face-to-face interaction. These employees don’t just want to work for you – they want to be coached by you, too. Social experiences matter in the workplace and beyond, which makes culture a key convincing point for recruiters. Gen Z is also the most accepting generation yet, so they feel right at home in a diverse work environment.

  • 40% – Forty percent want daily interactions with their boss and think they’ve done something wrong if they don’t.5


Employers prepared to deliver a positive and rewarding day-to-day work experience with competitive compensation will be well-equipped to welcome their youngest workers. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management or a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Concordia University, St. Paul, is an excellent way to refine your hiring and training practices.



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