New kids on the block | Understanding the needs and expectations of the latest generation of workers

Understanding the needs and expectations of the latest generation of workers

When we take a step back and compare the last few generations to enter the workforce, there are a multitude of factors that could cause their outlooks to differ when it comes to employment.

Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2010) now represent our newest pool of working talent and have been shaped by an upbringing steeped in technology, financial and environmental uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Making decisions for them, and them alone

One of the key generational differences is the noticeably longer time taken for young UK adults to marry and start families; statistically, heterosexual couples today won’t have their first child until they enter their 30s, whereas the norm in their parents’ generation was between 24 and 251. This postponement and even sometimes abandonment of having children altogether has been reported by young people to be because of the greater time and freedom that comes with a child-free existence, allowing them to leave jobs more readily that don’t complement their lifestyle or satisfy their needs2.

This mindset has paved the way for a recent phenomenon known as ‘job-hopping’, which has seen the average job tenure for Gen Z applicants drop to 2 years and 2 months – under half of that of Gen X (5 years) and nearly a quarter of the average for Baby Boomers (8 years)3.

Whereas it may have been common for someone to be loyal to the same company for their entire working life a few decades ago, keeping and retaining promising, young talent in today’s world seems much more of a challenge. In response to this, this article will outline some key aspects of your business that you can utilise to help you appeal to this new crop of applicants.

Culture and values

One of the key criterion used by Gen Z when deciding on a new employer, is whether a company’s core values match their own4. Compared to generations before, Gen Z are motivated by purpose and gravitate heavily towards sustainable businesses5; nine out of ten Gen Zers believe that companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues6, so demonstrating a commitment to these causes could be key to help align your business’ culture and values with that of younger talent.

The younger portion of the workforce also values diversity and inclusion within a prospective employer more, in comparison to previous generations. They have grown up in a world that was far more diverse than previous generations and as a result they demand respect, equity and inclusion for not just themselves, but also their coworkers and peers. A commitment to DEIB  is not just a ‘nice to have’ for Gen Z, it is core to their personal identities and they are demonstrating as such in their employment choices7.

Mental wellbeing

As a collective, the young adults of today are more open about their mental health and an employer should respect this, ensuring that their work environment is a safe space and that they encourage open, honest communication among their people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also shown Gen Z that home or hybrid-working is a very real possibility, Gen Z now crave a better work-life balance which they benefit from as a result of this shift to hybrid-working8. Having witnessed their parents’ generation experience the stress and time poverty of a life spent fully in the office, job flexibility has become a dealbreaker for many Gen Zers9.

Demonstrating a commitment to your people’s wellbeing beyond the four walls of your workplace is a great way to reassure Gen Z employees they are important and valued by the business, possibly decreasing the likelihood of them looking elsewhere.

Alleviating financial stresses

It costs a lot more to live comfortably now in comparison to when previous generations were entering the world of work; the average price of a rental property is now £1,231 per month (excluding London)10, energy bills have risen by nearly £700 a year13 and the average weekly shop in the UK is up to around £35 per person11.

As a result, young adults want employee benefits beyond just a liveable wage. They want perks that help lighten the everyday financial load and make their salary stretch further; travel season ticket loans for commuting costs, retailer discounts and subsidised work lunches, are some examples. The more effectively you can alleviate some of their routine costs like accommodation, commuting and groceries, the more value that Gen Z may see in you and your business as an employer12.

Businesses will need to appeal to this demographic, and it could be an error in judgement to assume that you don’t need to alter your employee benefits strategy to satisfy their differing needs. As illustrated, there may well be key changes in characteristics and values between young adults more senior members of your workforce. In our new guide, ‘Thinking strategically to overcome your people challenges’, we outline the importance of recognising the key differences between your people and how you can develop and implement a strategy that appeals to each group in turn, hopefully attracting and retaining them more effectively.

NFP’s guide to international benefits

With more benefits, reward and HR professionals taking on multinational responsibilities, our team of experienced international benefits consultants have created this new guide to share their high-level insight into the key aspects of running a successful international benefits programme.

In the comprehensive guide, you'll learn:

  • What to consider when designing your global benefits strategy

  • How to identify the right benefits and provider(s) to deliver them

  • How to efficiently run your global benefits programme

  • How to review and maintain oversight of your programme

Get the Guide

 


1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/294594/mother-average-age-at-childbirth-england-and-wales-by-child-number/ 

2. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/apr/23/i-had-second-thoughts-the-gen-z-ers-choosing-not-to-have-children 

3. Gen Z and Millennials – redefining relationships in the workplace | French Chamber of Great Britain ccfgb.co.uk 

4. Guide: Gen Z traits that define a new generation | Indeed.com Ireland)

5. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-role-of-esg-and-purpose

6. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-explainers/what-is-gen-z

7. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/336275/things-gen-millennials-expect-workplace.aspx 

8. Recruiting Generation Z: 5 Key Factors to Consider (indeed.com)

9. What Gen Z Wants from Employers | Great Place To Work®

10. https://metro.co.uk/2023/07/21/average-rental-prices-hit-record-highs-across-the-uk-and-london-19163259/ 

11. How Much Does the Average Person Spend on Food per Week in the UK? (moneytransfers.com)

12. Focus on Finance When it Comes to Gen Z Benefits Packages - HR Daily Advisor (blr.com)

13. Energy price: Bill shock for millions as rises hit - BBC News


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At Johnson Fleming, we adopt a pro-active approach and offer innovative solutions that can add real value to your business. We’re here to help your business with the design, broking, engagement and administration of your group pension, rewards and employee benefits, delivering a service personalised to your business and, importantly, your people. Through ongoing advice and support, we’ll help you achieve your business goals and legislative obligations.