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Generation Z and the Future of the Workforce

Generation Z and the Future of the Workforce

At the start of the 2023, Adobe released their Future Workforce Study which outlines the transition of Gen Z into the workforce. As this and other studies mention, Generation Z will account for 30 percent of the US workforce by 2030 and the job market they are about to enter is quite different from past generations. A closer look at Gen Z offers some insight into the future of the workforce and what companies can do to attract top talent.  

Job Market Confidence

As many Generation Z graduates prepare to enter the workforce, they have shown confidence in the job market. Despite the constant fear of a recession, over 60 percent of survey respondents said they feel prepared to enter the labor market. While 70% of upcoming and recent grads said that they are worried about the possibility of a recession, 78% said they also feel optimistic about the current labor market. Those that completed an internship in their field (75%) felt more prepared than those who did not (53%). We can attribute this confidence to the experience obtained and whereas those without internship experience may not know what to expect. 

Survey respondents noted that macroeconomic factors will play a role in their choice of industries or companies to pursue. Over half suggested a company’s financial outlook would influence their decision to apply or enter the interview process. Respondents also took brand reputation (92%), employee reviews and industry awards (89%) into consideration.

What They are Looking For

Wages play a significant role in the decision to apply for a position, however, studies show that Gen Z is driven by more than high pay. 85 percent say they are less likely to apply for a job if the company does not disclose the salary range in the job posting. The concern about compensation is not unwarranted. Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, notes that 35% of Gen Z selected cost of living as a top concern, 51% live paycheck to paycheck, and 46% have taken on a second job. High inflation and rising cost of living informs the decisions of Gen Z workers entering the job market. 

Flexibility is a desire of Gen Z. While commonly considered to be resistant to return-to-office policies, many are open to a return. A survey by Joblist found that only 27% of Gen Zers prefer a fully remote job. The study added that 57% of Gen Z workers were seeking in-person opportunities. That said, 77% of Gen Zers currently in remote or hybrid roles would look for a new job if asked to return full time, according to a Deloitte poll. This suggests that while Gen Z workers are not opposed to in-person roles, the majority prefer the flexibility to choose. 

DEI initiatives also influence Gen Z workers decision to apply or enter the interview process. As a socially conscious generation, Gen Zers have high standards and expectations for organizations and their role in bringing about social change. Companies will need to offer more than lip service to issues of diversity and inclusion to attract talent. 

How Companies Can Benefit

Companies can benefit from this generation’s knowledge of new technologies. As technology natives, Gen Zers are well-equipped to traverse new technologies. These technologies have also exposed Gen Z workers to global perspectives which leads them to question systems that serve the few over the many. This way of thinking will usher in a new wave of diversity and inclusion. Companies and organizations that embrace a diversity of viewpoints and lived experiences will be well-positioned to attract top talent.