Gen Z and Work

For years, Millennials have borne the brunt of criticism and scrutiny – whether deserved or not (avocado toast comes to mind). Oftentimes, those calls from frustrated Boomer employers were returned with memes and hashtags from the forlorn Millennials. However, as Millennials rise in ranks and age, they are assuming more of the management positions, leaving Gen Z to make their way into the workforce, and the paradigm is shifting. By 2020, Gen Z will account for one-third of the U.S. population, according to HuffPost. To prepare for the changing demographics, make sure you understand this group and what they want from the workforce.

Gen Z includes anyone born in 1995 or later and follows the Millennial generation. They have been connected to technology their entire lives and experienced their parents going through this century’s “Great Depression.” These factors have shaped Gen Z and largely influence the way they work.

Gen Z Values Financial security

Unlike Millennials who are believed to value purpose over paychecks, Gen Z values financial security. As the recession in 2008 was in full swing, this generation experienced their parents struggle and stress over finances. This has largely shaped the spending habits and career plans for this group of young adults.

Independent Paradox

Gen Z has proven to be very independent. They prefer to work on projects alone, allowing their abilities to shine. Also, “many of them prefer to have office space to themselves, rather than an open, collaborative workspace,” reports Forbes.

Yet, Gen Z prefers to meet face to face instead of communicating through email. This trend could be influenced by the fact they have witnessed Millennials bear criticism for their reliance on technology to communicate or because they’ve grown up with video communications like FaceTime and Snapchat. Either way, Gen Z prefers to communicate in person regularly.

They Are Competitive and Entrepreneurial

While Millennials received a trophy for participating (at least, that’s what the naysayers argue), Gen Z has a deep-rooted sense of independence, making them fiercely competitive. This independence also drives their entrepreneurial spirit.

Perhaps motivated by experiencing the Millennial generation migrate home after college and deal with the pressure from large student loans, Gen Z has decided to skip higher education. Employers predict more teens, between the ages of 16 and 18 will go straight into the workforce, according to HuffPost. Also, with the influx of wildly successful YouTubers and social media influencers, this generation sees many more options to earn income without a college degree. These factors have contributed to their desire to start their own business.

“Generation Z is 55% more likely to want to start a business than millennials. In fact, a full 72% of Gen Z high school students say they want to start a business,” according to Forbes.

get ready for gen z

Multitasking Digital Natives

Gen Z has grown up online. They have been connected digitally basically all of their lives with over 90% having a digital footprint. They are used to constant updates, fast information, and going between many tasks. In short, they are expert multitaskers who are well-versed in the digital world.

If Millennials were known for being addicted to their phone, Gen Z is even more so. You can expect Gen Z employees to go between a writing assignment at work to checking their Instagram Feed, to group messaging, to work again. They can manage many different activities at one time, which may put off employers. However, keep in mind, “they’re used to spending five seconds checking for updates before returning to the task at hand,” states Forbes.

Also, Gen Z employees are known to take their work with them. They may begin an assignment at work and continue it on the commute home and in the evening before bed. The lines between work and home are much more blurred with this generation. These factors will provide a substantial shift in the workplace as time progresses.

Because of their life-long connection to the online world, Gen Z is considered true digital natives. They can navigate the world of technology and adapt much quicker than generations before, which can be a big bonus for employers.


Gen Z is global. With the expansion of the internet and technology globally, the world has opened up. Gen Z grew up in the midst of this expansion. YouTube, social media, TV, brands, and entertainment have provided gateways for international brands and cultures to make their way into the lives of Gen Z. As employees, they look for globally-minded companies and value inclusion.

Moving Forward

As Millennials move up the ranks and more Gen Z employees come on board, your business needs to make the adjustments to not only attract the top candidates but keep them as well. While you don’t have to cater your entire business to the Gen Z pool, being mindful of their desired working situation and what they value can go a long way in maintaining happy and loyal employees.

At Charles Foster, we understand and stay on top of the latest trends. We are your source for the latest news in the staffing and employment industry. We stay updated on the technology and data shaping the industry, incorporating improvements and upgrades into our business. All of these activities mean we provide the highest level of service and most effective results for our clients. When it comes to bringing on the best, tap into the resources at Charles Foster and find the right one!