As Generation Z matures and heads en masse for the workforce, new research from global marketing agency LEWIS, conducted in support of the global HeForShe movement, shows the expectations Gen Z has of companies and CEOs—revealing the importance of values and diversity programs in the workplace, with gender and race being the top priority.
“The next generation are quickly moving into the workforce and they want to be heard,” said Chris Lewis, CEO of LEWIS, in a news release. “It’s clear that Gen Z prioritize values above all else—companies that don’t understand or reflect that will find themselves struggling to attract and retain the best talent.”
Failing to prioritize values and social causes will not serve companies, or CEOs, well
Only 19 percent of Gen Z would work for a company that does not share their values. When evaluating an employment opportunity, company values is the second most important factor – but personal growth opportunities still hold the top spot. Gender and race were identified as the top qualities of diversity by Gen Z, emphasizing the need and expectation for appropriate programs and commitment within companies.
The importance of diversity and supporting social causes is abundantly clear:
- Company values: 67 percent believe company values are more important than the CEO/leader
- DEI programs: 41 percent would work for a company that is not gender or racially diverse but only if it had a strong diversity, equity and inclusion program
- Opportunities: 46 percent said that if two candidates had the same qualifications, they would be in favor of the candidate that results in greater diversity in the company
The survey also revealed the leadership expectations Gen Z hold, with many looking to senior staff to drive change:
- DEI leadership: Gen Z expect HR (35 percent) and Senior Management (29 percent) to lead DEI efforts within companies
- Key qualities: 37 percent think ‘innovative’ is the most important quality in a CEO. Determination (35 percent) and empathy (33 percent) were the second and third most important qualities
- Social impact: 41 percent believe CEOs should be judged by their commitment to solving social issues
“This research shows how important DEI programs and positive social impact are to the next generation” said Edward Wageni, global head of HeForShe, in the release. “It’s clear that the onus is on today’s leaders to make clear commitments about how they will progress these important topics. By ignoring societal issues, they will fail to connect with almost an entire generation.”
This Gen Z Research Study report is based on a survey conducted by the LEWIS Research and Insights team to understand the expectations Gen Z has of their future employers. The survey was fielded from April 8 – April 19, 2021 and captured responses from older Gen Zers (aged 18-25) located in the United States, China, France, Germany, Brazil, Australia, India, Singapore, United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, and the Netherlands. A total of 2,600 respondents were captured and the overall margin of error is 1.92% at a 95% Confidence Interval. The respondents were sourced from OpinionRoute.