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    All You Need to Know About the Gen Z Work Ethic (Plus Break Gen Z Myths)

    July 05, 2024

    It only looks like Gen Z is crying about work, but the underlying goal is work-life balance.

    Generation Z entered the workforce in recent years, and the new kids on the block have built a controversial reputation for themselves. Many employers and hiring managers have been bashing Gen Z work ethic and values. However, Gen Z is still the next generation of workers. Almost a third of the entire global workforce will belong to Gen Z by 2025. You would do well to consider their possible contributions to your company. If you are wondering what to think or do about Gen Z workers as an employer or hiring manager, you will have all you need to know in this post. Immerse yourself with Gen Z workers and what their actual work ethics are. Work around the stereotypes about them. Finally, learn what benefits and challenges they bring to the table, and what you can do to collaborate with Gen Z employees.

    6 Gen Z Work Stereotypes to Break

    Generation Z quotes said by older workers are often full of assumptions. Remember how the millennials were once called the breakaway generation? Sounds oddly familiar, right? As a potential employer or hiring manager of Gen Z workers, you have to break the stereotypes attributed to Gen Z.

    Stereotype 1: Gen Zs Don’t Want to Work

    Many members of earlier generations—Millennial, Gen X, and Boomers—have reported the lack of work drive in Gen Z. Some go so much as say that Gen Z are lazy.

    However, upon closer look, when you have Millennials vs Gen Z in the workplace, they both desire work-life balance. It only so happens that Gen Z employees are more vocal and assertive about their work-life boundaries. They take a full-hour break during lunch. They clock out at exactly 6 pm. And they say no. Many reports such as one by Business Insider have noted that members of Generation Z have fully comprehended the impact of burnout culture on older generations. Their sense of boundaries come from them looking out for their well-being, much like millennial workers.

    Stereotype 2: Gen Zs Expect High Reward for Little Effort

    For employers and hiring managers, salary expectations from Gen Z workers seem astronomical for what they bring to the workplace. Gen Z have little experience, limited skills, and are qualified for entry-level roles most of the time.

    However, the Gen Z emphasis on work-life balance means that they are not afraid to ask more just to earn a living. Research backs their claims that wage growth is declining while the cost of living is only rising. The recent graduates of 2024 consider USD 82,000 annually as a high salary and expect to earn USD 77,000 annually on average. These trends are pushing the younger generation of workers for higher wages.

    Because of this, Gen Zs may seem like they are asking too much for too little work accomplished. However, considering market factors, they are asking for fair livable wages, which other generations of workers also deserve. Higher, more livable salaries are even more imperative for tenured, experienced employees.

    Stereotype 3: Gen Z Are Needy

    Gen Z asks for a lot, beyond high salaries. A Gen Z entitlement has been attached since they demand more out of the work experience. They want flexibility, transparency, diversity, and many other expectations. And they vocalize how much these need to be met by employers.

    Contrary to popular conception, Gen Z is asking for fairly reasonable things. Flexibility, transparency, and more are worthy values. They are commonly championed values in the public sphere. So, it is not really that Gen Z employees are needy, but it is more that employers have a lot to catch up on.

    Stereotype 4: Gen Z Are Terrible Co-Workers

    Gen Z grew up smack dab in the middle of the tech boom. All they have known are high tech gadgetry. This background has concerned many parents and older people. They assume that Gen Z lacks a lot of social skills.

    However, research has shown that Gen Z people have solid teamwork and communication skills because of their exposure to online collaborations such as multiplayer games. They are more adept at managing work relationships through online platforms without losing authenticity.

    As a result, meetings have actually been dispensed within purely Gen Z companies. The Z Link, a Gen Z marketing agency, uses voice memos, Slack messages, and Google Doc collaborations to communicate and problem-solve. The agency comprises 25 workers spread across Europe and the US.

    Current generations may be able to speed up communications and improve productivity through Gen Z methods. Currently, available technologies may be explored even further for more ways to collaborate without wasting time.

    Stereotype 5: Gen Z Don’t Want to Be Leaders

    Older generations have passed down the same conception of work hierarchy. Learn during your 20s. Move up to the middle ring in your 30s and 40s. Hopefully, you will get to the top after that. Gen Z employees are adamantly saying no to that established ladder. They challenge the established system and are called entitled and difficult to work with.

    However, Gen Z has once again only displayed their learnings from the Millennial work experience. Many millennial workers spend decades without ever encountering leadership opportunities. Not long after, they burn out. Gen Zs are saying no to that pattern of living and would rather work on their own terms than spend too much time in a system that does not respect their time.

    At the same time, Gen Z are leaders. They only do leadership differently. A Forbes interview noted that Gen Zs “lead from the front lines…Gen Z leaders directly involve themselves in the action, working in the trenches alongside everyone else in their movement or organization—similar to the flat hierarchies of civil rights groups. Proximity to the front line also keeps them informed about their impact, so they can quickly innovate on the fly to adopt better strategies or make better decisions.”

    Non-Gen Z hiring managers may feel confused about Gen Zs, but different kinds of leadership opportunities may be needed to place more responsibility on Gen Z employees. Vertical leadership may be reconsidered as horizontal leadership instead.

    Stereotype 6: Gen Z Have One Foot Out the Door

    All of the previous stereotypes build up to this one wrong assumption: Gen Z are disloyal, quitters, and job hoppers. Millennial workers have been labeled these terms, but Gen Z employees are unashamed of these characteristics.

    Gen Z in the workplace has very high values and standards when it comes to work. They want work-life balance. They want authentically livable wages. They want company values that align with their own. Tina Mendelson from Deloitte noted that “[n]early all [Gen Z] want purpose-driven work, and they’re not afraid to turn down work that doesn’t align with their values.”

    These qualities make Gen Zs highly driven and high-value workers. If your company aligns with them, then they will prove valuable to the company as well. You only need to find the right match among Gen Z candidates. A good match will help you retain and keep Gen Z workers with the rest of your current team.

    Understand Gen Zs At a Glance

    • Generation Z are persons born between 1997 and 2012.
    • More than 60 million people in the United States belong to Gen Z.
    • One-third of the world’s population are Gen Z.
    • The workforce will be composed of 27% Gen Z workers by 2025.
    • Gen Z has evolved language with new terms. These have been included in business settings for inclusivity and belongingness. You can learn some of these to enhance your communication with Gen Zs. New terms include:
      • Slay — to be impressive in something: “You slayed that presentation!”
      • Common W or L — agreeing or disagreeing with a person’s choice or action: “It’s a common L that he didn’t listen to your suggestion.”
      • No cap — to be truthful or genuine in what you say: “Your idea is impressive. No cap.”
      • Giving — comparing one thing to another: “The logo is giving chic but bold.”

    What Is the Gen Z Working Style?

    When you take away the controversial takes and dig deep into who Gen Zs truly are, there are remarkable and commendable traits. At the forefront of their psyche: Gen Z is prioritizing living overworking. They will not compromise their lives, health, or joy for work. 

    They will take the flexible work-from-home setup as much as possible. Even better for them if the arrangement incorporates asynchronous work. They understand the power that comes from an asynchronous work-from-home setup. The arrangement may benefit workers of all generations.

    They also have high-value standards. They believe that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is essential for a company. They value social and environmental responsibility. They favor transparency from their employers. They are also very purposeful. Nicole Scoble-Williams from Future of Work said of Gen Z that “purpose, is the heartbeat of the choices they are making around what they need, want and expect from work and employers.”

    Finally, they are highly outspoken. They speak their minds and aren’t afraid to be controversial. They will push for their values and expectations. At the same time, they expect the same high level of communication from their leaders. Keely Antonio, Gen Z CEO of FeelSwell Experiences, revealed that Gen Z is a digitally native generation, clear, concise, and timely feedback is necessary. All in all, Corey Andrew Powell, marketing content manager at The National Society of Leadership and Success, summed up Gen Z as “a remarkably tech-savvy and innovative generation, maneuvering easily through unexpected life changes and doing so with a strong focus on cultural diversity and inclusion.”

    Possible Effects of the Gen Z Attitude to Work

    Now that you have a clear picture of the work ethic of Gen Z, you can take a step toward understanding the impact of this new generation of workers. These implications are:

    1. Upgrade Your Tech: 80% of Gen Z want “cutting edge” workplace tech.
    2. Offer Flexibility: Work-from-home or remote setups are more preferable to Gen Z job seekers. Antonio also suggests less micromanaging. Gen Z values trust and freedom.
    3. Invest in Their Growth: Gen Z employees value career growth and skill development. Gen Z LinkedIn users spent 12% more time improving their hard skills on the platform.
    4. Push Collaboration, Diversity, and Inclusion: Deloitte notes that “diversity” is a watchword for Gen Z. The up-and-coming employees are also big on collaborative and inclusive operations.
    5. Be Intentional: Gen Zs expect their companies to have clear purposes yet have social and environmental consciousness.

    The Philippine Gen Z Impact to the World

    The next generation of workers is already making big differences in the Philippine workforce. In 2023, the available workforce will be young, making up 77% of millennials and Gen Z Filipinos. The youthfulness of the workforce places employees in a position to grow, develop, and supply labor to companies. At the same time, due to the highly flexible attitude of the new breed, they are in a position to work or provide service to companies all over the world.

    Employers in the Philippines are also beginning to shift in certain ways. Technology and automation are being adopted by 44% of respondents. In the meantime, flexible working conditions such as remote setups will be offered by 58% of respondents. Finally, 14% of employers will employ alternative talent sources such as offshoring.

    These trends allow Filipino Gen Z jobseekers to be fit for specific sought-after roles. For example, young workers make great customer service representatives with their communication skills. Outsourcing customer service to the Philippines then becomes a viable option for US, UK, Australian, or Singaporean companies as well.

    Aside from being qualified for roles, Gen Z employees in the Philippines, if given flexible work options such as through offshoring, bring cost savings to international companies. Based on an offshoring salary calculator, an entry-level customer service Gen Z worker will cost significantly less. Take a look at the following remote staff salary illustration:

    Onshore CostOffshore Cost in the PhilippinesSavings in Percentage
    USUSD 45,000USD 11,30075%
    UKUSD 35,000USD 11,30068%
    AustraliaUSD 40,000USD 11,30072%
    SingaporeUSD 33,000USD 11,30066%

    Gen Z Best Practices for Employers and Hiring Managers

    How can companies foster the next generation of workers without sacrificing their integrity?

    Integrate the Next Generation into the Workforce

    Generation Z may be misunderstood due to hasty generalizations, and stereotypes that have been created for previous generations too. With this, you should have a clearer and deeper understanding of the next generation of employees. They are the key to the future of work.

    Gen Zs value work-life balance, diversity, environmental consciousness, and flexibility, which may come from offshoring. An offshoring partner in the Philippines may give your company the edge it needs through remote opportunities that include Gen Z workers. You can then harness the admirable traits and qualities of the next generation for your company’s success. Marcie Merriman, managing director at Ernst & Young, forecasted that “business leaders who seek to understand the diversity of thinking and capabilities [Gen Z] can bring to their organizations will win. Those that don’t may end up being disrupted by the companies Gen Z creates.”

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