What Gen Z Wants from Employers in 2021

Claire Hastwell

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CLAIRE HASTWELL

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Gen Z is the online generation set to take over the economy in the next decade or so, at least that’s what experts predict. Nearly half are online ‘almost constantly’ and prefer hanging out with friends virtually than in real life. They can appear entitled with their undeterred values, but their resilience towards the disruption caused by the global pandemic has surprised many.

In a recent commentary on channelnewsasia.com, they described why an older generation might feel intimidated by “zoomers” in the workplace. But the truth remains, they are coming, and they are here! In fact, companies who have bridged this generational divide have benefited from the inclusion of Gen Z into their workforce.

This article will share what Gen Z desires from their employers, so you can attract and retain this new generation of employees.

Gen Z is coming to your workplace.

The generation born between 1997 and 2012 may be just entering the workforce, but smart employers are already thinking about how their company culture can attract and retain Gen Z.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 to 24-year-olds made up 11.6% of the workforce in 2020, primarily in the industries of retail, hospitality, and senior living — all of which were hardest hit by the pandemic and lockdowns. Given the data, this generation has a unique perspective as new workers under extraordinary circumstances.

In our research of workplaces around the country, we’ve collected over 32,000 Gen Z employee responses from over 350 companies. Here’s what Gen Z says they want from employers in 2021 and beyond.

What Gen Z wants from employers

1. Diverse and inclusive workplace

Gen Z is tracking to be the most diverse workforce yet, with our data showing 47% of Gen Z employees identifying as BIPOC. By comparison, 39% of Millennial workers we surveyed identified as PoC, versus 34% of Gen X and only 25% of Boomers.

Pew Research Center points to changing immigration patterns —immigration to the U.S. peaked in 2005 and then declined — that have shaped Gen Z’s demographics. There are fewer Gen Zs than Millennials who are foreign-born, but a higher number who were born in the U.S. to immigrant parents.

As Gen Z grows into the workforce, employers must learn how to best manage a diverse team and get serious about DEIB initiatives. This includes:

•  Ensuring a diverse slate of candidates to secure the best talent

•  Training other employees (particularly older generations) on DEIB, and

•  Ensuring there’s representation across the leadership team.

2. Livable pay

Pay was the number one topic Gen Z employees commented on in our research, with calls for better minimum wage and increased hourly pay. Only 69% of Gen Z employees said they feel they’re paid fairly, which is 7 points below other generations.

Because of their young age and career stage, most Gen Z employees are working in industries such as retail and hospitality, which tend to be lower-paying or reliant on tips. These were also the industries most impacted by lockdowns, leaving Gen Z workers bearing the brunt of COVID-19 furloughs and closures.

According to payroll company ADP, Gen Z was hardest hit by job losses in 2020, losing some 11% of their jobs, well above the national average (6.7%) and impacts to other age groups.

With the current hiring crunch slamming retail and hospitality in particular, employers wanting to attract Gen Z talent will need to offer fair pay and earn the trust of a generation uniquely hit by the crisis.

3. Mentally healthy and safe place to work

Some of the widest gaps between Gen Z and other generations are around feeling their workplaces are psychologically and emotionally healthy.

In our research, Gen Z employees showed a 7-point difference on statements measuring:

•  Psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace environment

•  Ability to take time off from work when necessary

The American Psychological Association has identified Gen Z as the most stressed generation, attributed to growing up while the world has faced severe global challenges like gun violence, climate change, political instability, racial reckoning and a pandemic.

Great employers will need to ensure Gen Z feels emotionally supported in the workplace, through things like regular check-ins and encouragement to practice self-care (although, to be clear, that’s something all generations could benefit from after the past year).

4. Special meaning

Finding purpose and special meaning is something that has typically been associated with the Millennial generation. But our research found the meaning deficit is even more acute for Gen Z, who scored their employers:

•  8-points lower than other generations on how much their work has special meaning

•  7-point lower than other generations on how much they feel they make a difference at work

Grocery chain Wegmans is one example of a company that’s giving employees a voice, and 93% of Gen Z respondents at the company ranked it as a great place to work.

Wegmans management frequently seeks out ideas from the front-line workers who interact with customers the most, and all staff are invited to make suggestions and ask questions through “Ask Jack,” the company’s SVP of operations, Jack DePeters.

Since launching in 2002, Jack has responded to over 16,000 employee comments, with 68% of employees choosing to identify themselves by name rather than submit anonymously.

5. Warm welcome

Gen Z is still young. Many of them are just getting started in the workforce. A warm and thoughtful welcome can go a long way when you’re onboarding new grads and first-time employees.

With many employers switching to remote or hybrid workplaces post-pandemic, this can present a challenge with the usual practices of showing a new hire around the office or taking them out for lunch not being an option for some workplaces.

But companies like YNAB are making it work. The software firm sends out welcome packages in the mail, timing them to arrive on an employee’s first day. The packages include YNAB swag, a booklet about the company’s vision and mission, personalized welcome messages from the team and a dinner gift card for the employee to celebrate their new job.

For someone new to the working world, efforts like this can go a long way to keeping them enthusiastic and engaged.

For years, Millennials have been the talked-about generation as brands have worked to woo them, either as customers or as employees (or both). But now that the next generation is on the workplace doorstep, employers need to start thinking about how they’re going to attract the next gen of talent.

Recruit and manage Gen Z in the workplace

Want to effectively manage a diverse workforce and appeal to Gen Z? Find out why Emprising™ is trusted by Best Workplaces™ around the world. With an employee survey and data analysis in one place, you can know exactly how your company culture is engaging Gen Z in the workplace.

Claire Hastwell

As the Content Program Manager at Great Place To Work, Claire helps decode the psychology behind high-trust workplaces using Great Place To Work’s extensive data repository on employee experience. Claire has co-authored noted reports such as “Women in the Workplace” and “The Power of Purpose at Work,” and contributed to Fortune with her profiles of the Best Workplaces™. Her latest report on employee retention strategies draws on the experience of 1.3 million employees to give leaders strategic guidance on retaining their top people. 

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work® Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces™ in Healthcare & Biopharma List. This list recognizes exemplary companies in the healthcare & biopharma industry.

Recognized as a global hub for medical technology and research, Singapore has attracted top healthcare and biopharma talents and companies from around the world. It has become the center for essential healthcare services and innovations with its world-class research institutes, academic medical centers, and industry clusters.

In turn, the healthcare and biopharma sectors play a critical role in the country’s economic competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. These industries have significantly helped in the overall improvement of public health and well-being of the people of Singapore and its neighboring countries.

The inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma List puts the spotlight on the organizations that are dedicated to providing employee satisfaction and engagement, and their commitment to excellence in the industry.

The companies in our Great Place To Work Certified™ community have the premier distinction that helps attract the best talent, build your employer brand, and secure a competitive advantage. To achieve this, they built a working environment that is purpose-driven and people-first. These companies have demonstrated that showing authentic care, prioritizing employee’s holistic well-being, and building a culture of trust go hand in hand with growth and success.

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma, Great Place to Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced.To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place to Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category.

Methodology

This year, Great Place To Work™ Singapore is proud to launch our inaugural Singapore Best Workplaces in Technology List. This List recognizes exemplary companies in the information and communication technologies industry in four categories:

  • Micro category (10–29 employees)
  • Small (30-99 employees)
  • Medium (100-999 employees)
  • Large (> 1000 employees)

With Singapore’s ambition to be recognized as a regional technology hub, the influx of technology firms (around 80 of the world’s top 100 technology firms have a presence here) and global rankings that place us a leading technology hub outside of San Francisco, the establishment of a Singapore Best Workplaces List in Technology is indeed a timely and needed one. Technology firms in Singapore are characterized by hyper-growth and ambitious expansion plans. This means a continuous war for talent in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving industry.

To maintain our lead as a technology and innovation hub, the ability to attract, retain and sustain skilled talent is critical. We are proud that companies in our Great Place To Work®-Certified community List have built a high-trust culture, engaged employees and maximized their potential to facilitate innovation. They are purpose-driven and adopt a people-first mindset. These are companies that have shown that authentic care and employee well-being need not be compromised for ambitious growth, and that it is possible for businesses to scale up quickly and responsibly. Their culture and core values are embodied in every individual—from senior leadership to rank-and-file employees—and differentiate them from their competitors, priming them to be powerful magnets for top talent.

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore.Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry.The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category

 

Methodology

To determine the 2022 Singapore’s Best Workplaces™️, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing close to 70,000 employees across different industries in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™️. 85% of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do.

Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Companies with 10-29 people were considered for the Micro category; those with 30 to 99 people for the Small category; companies with 100 to 999 employees were considered for the Medium category; and those with 1,000 or more for the Large category.

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Singapore 2023 Evaluation Methodology

To determine the 2023 Singapore’s Best Workplaces in Technology, Great Place To Work®️ analyzed confidential survey feedback representing nearly 12,000 employees working in the tech industry in Singapore. Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place To Work For All™️. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Great Place To Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15 percent of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure they’re consistently experienced. To be considered, companies had to meet the Great Place To Work-Certified standard. To ensure survey results truly represent all employees, Great Place To Work requires that Trust Index©️ survey results are accurate to a 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. Companies with 10 to 99 people were considered for the small and medium category; companies with 100 employees or more were considered for the large category