Gen Zs in the Workplace: What Do They Really Want?

Gen Zs in the Workplace: What Do They Really Want?

For  Gen Zs in the workplace, a positive working environment matters more than six-figure salaries



Generation Z is spearheading change in today’s post-pandemic workforce. Since LinkedIn lowered its minimum age to open an account to 14, many ambitious youngsters have expressed a desire to gain professional experience. Yet, 75% of Gen Zers have admitted that they are more worried about securing a job than meeting their soulmate.


For this pragmatic, multifaceted and outspoken group of workers, a positive working environment matters more than six-figure salaries. But since the COVID-19 pandemic and Great Resignation, what working Gen Zers consider burnout is what older generations perceive as entitlement.


Are Gen Zers being too ambitious about their workplace expectations, or is the rest of the world simply struggling to keep up? Let’s explore.


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The State of Today’s Working Environment

According to business consultancy firm Deloitte, 46% of Gen Zers feel burned out due to intense working environments. Of those surveyed, 44% ended up leaving their organizations.


Because of Gen Z’s learn-quick nature, it isn’t uncommon for their role in the workplace to take on more than they can handle. Now that corporate workplaces primarily seek generalists, this multi-functional approach has become unsustainable for the newest working generations.


While this train-by-doing approach to work is stimulating for today’s first class of digital natives, expectations can quickly become overwhelming and, more importantly, not worth an abysmal paycheck.



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Perhaps one of this working generation’s biggest woes is how overwork negatively impacts mental health. Millions of Gen Zers have aired their grievances on social media, calling out capitalism and how productivity has quashed any opportunity to nurse their well-being.


According to Robin CEO Micah Remley, “If we’d talk to Boomers or Gen Xers concerning mental health benefits, they would say that’s my business and not my employer’s business—whereas Gen Z is wanting assistance with mental health from their employers.”


Gen Z’s Workplace Expectations

Because of their evolving workplace desires, many have pegged Generation Z as “too entitled.” But with immediate access to so much information, is it really youthful hubris at play, or are Gen Zers simply better-equipped to handle roles that once took up more time?


To better understand Gen Z’s expectations of the modern workplace, we sat down with Miggi (23) and Isabelle (22), soon-to-be graduates from the University of Asia and the Pacific.


According to both students, passion and personal interests are top motivators for entering a specific industry. When asked what factors influence their career choices most significantly, Miggi, an aspiring screenwriter or producer, named “personal interest, flexible work hours and the potential for advancement” in their role as contenders. Similarly, Isabelle, who hopes for a career in hosting, acting or directing, names “work aligning with [her] interests” as the top reason for deciding to enter her chosen industry.


When asked what factors would get them to disregard a career opportunity, both named “low pay” as a shared negative, while “strict work hours,” “low-potential growth positions” and “overtime” were also listed.


In the same Deloitte survey, 46% of Gen Zers were living paycheck to paycheck, with 26% of them fearing not being able to retire comfortably.


According to Miggi, P24,000 to P25,000 as a starting salary is “enough…to start saving for future opportunities.”



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Still, today’s younger workforce is not as money-motivated as their predecessors, despite inflation worries brought about by the pandemic. Instead, Gen Zers expect their roles within an organization to have an impact and want to be recognized for it.


The Future of Work for Younger Generations

Since the Great Resignation, we can’t expect the future of work to look anything like it did in the last decade. New realities are forcing change, including an inclination to retain workplace autonomy in work-from-home roles.


In addition, many local workplaces are now implementing the Mental Health Act (Republic Act No. 11036), which aims to prevent stigma and discrimination and provide support to workers with mental health conditions. On top of mental health days, Gen Z ultimately strives for a more meaningful workplace that drives a sense of purpose. By “meaningful,” Gen Zs are more likely to work with companies that address social justice issues, foster entrepreneurship and encourage innovation.



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The Bottom Line

Ultimately, information accessibility, a temporary shift into remote work, improved business processes and ever-changing generational desires all influence what Gen Zers want to see in future workplaces. If Miggi and Isabelle can speak for their fellow generation, the goal isn’t to make more money more quickly, but is instead to play to personal strengths and interests.


For organizations to attract and retain this highly capable group of aspiring workers, mindsets need to change.


Bridging the gap between older and younger workers shouldn’t have to be a chore if both are working toward the same goal—a tangible focus on diversity, a positive environment and the ability to see eye-to-eye.



Words Zoë Isabela Alcazaren

Art Pis Trinidad

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