Unlike their predecessors, Gen Z has come of age in a purposeful world, where rights and values have been under a bright spotlight, and with their digital prowess, they have acquired an abundance of insights about how they want their world to work, compared to prior generations at their age—and as they enter the workforce, it has their employers hamstrung about the best ways to meet their expectations and relate to them, all while also ensuring productivity.
Today’s leaders are in fact challenged with managing four distinct generations of employees in the workforce. Understanding what motivates each of them can help companies more effectively recruit, manage and retain strong teams, and a new report, Examining the Multigenerational Workforce, from talent solutions and business consulting firm Robert Half, reveals what employers need to know about today’s multigenerational workforce.
Five key takeaways from the research include:
1. Money matters most for most workers
A competitive salary with regular merit increases has the biggest impact on job satisfaction and retention for millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. Gen Z is the only generation for whom other factors ranked higher than compensation. In addition, Gen X workers (32 percent) are most likely to feel underpaid.
Takeaway: Research and benchmark salaries on a regular basis. Consult sources like the Salary Guide From Robert Half to ensure employees are paid competitively.
2. Gen Z wants the best of both worlds
One-third of Gen Z professionals prefer to choose when and where to work. At the same time, they crave more in-person interactions than employees of other generations. And six in 10 are concerned about missing out on project opportunities and promotions when working remotely.
Takeaway: Consider implementing a flexible work policy that allows for both remote options and purposeful in-office time for training and team building activities.
3. AI is weighing on workers’ minds
Despite being digitally savvy, 78 percent of Gen Z professionals are concerned about AI impacting their job, vs. 48 percent of millennials, 40 percent of Gen Xers and only 27 percent of baby boomers. That said, workers of all generations would rather undergo training to reskill for a new role at their current company than pursue a different position if their job was at risk.
Takeaway: Provide opportunities for employees at all levels to learn new skills, stay up to date with technology and explore different career paths within your company.
4. Contract work is attractive to younger professionals
Half of Gen Zers who are looking for a new job in 2023 are interested in full-time contract work. Contract roles appeal to many people due to the opportunity to take on a variety of assignments and work at different companies to build skills and connections.
Takeaway: Consider hiring contract professionals who have specialized skills and fresh ideas that can help your business stay nimble.
5. Deal breakers are similar across generations
Though not in the same order, all generations rank a lack of salary transparency, unclear or unreasonable job responsibilities and poor communication with a hiring manager among the top reasons to withdraw from consideration for an open role.
Takeaway: Be upfront about salaries and job responsibilities with candidates. When working with a talent solutions firm, communicate your needs clearly and stay in close touch with the recruiter.
“Building and managing teams is complicated, especially as workforce demographics and priorities shift,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, in a news release. “Ultimately, all professionals want to feel supported and valued. Understanding what makes different generations tick and striving to create a work environment that addresses their various needs can go a long way toward improving engagement, productivity and retention.”
Findings are based on surveys developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm in April and January 2023 and November 2022. Each survey contains responses from at least 1,000 workers 18 years or older.