From education to employment

Gen Z workers shaping the world of work

  • New study shows Gen Z are unwilling to compromise on salary, values or work/life balance
  • Research shows declining popularity of  city jobs and desire for local work
  • Businesses are expected to have strong social and environmental credentials
  • Most expect four day work week to become the norm
  • Research among more than 1,000 Gen Z workers commissioned by Regus to better understand the UK’s future workforce

Gen Z employees expect a good work/life balance, local offices and interesting work, but aren’t willing to compromise on salary or company values, according to research among more than 1,000 current and future Gen Z office workers

The study of the working habits and expectations of those born between 1997 and 2012, undertaken by Regus, reveals the red lines for young British workers, while showing employers what they need to offer to attract the best young talent. 

Flexibility and proximity are of greater importance than big city jobs

Gone are the days of young employees travelling into major cities five days a week to make a good impression on their bosses. The study revealed that 85 per cent want of Gen Z workers want an office close to home, as the era of long commutes draws to a close.

More than half (51 per cent) want the ability to work from home, while just a quarter (25 per cent) said a large city-centre office was important. More than a third (38 per cent) would like to work flexible hours, with 43 per cent saying they would quit a job if it didn’t offer a good work/life balance.

Gen Z were among the hardest hit by the social and working restrictions of the Covid-19 lockdowns, and it is clear that they are unwilling to return to the pre-pandemic models of working.

Cost-of-living means cash is still king

But while flexibility is key for Gen Z workers, they are not willing to compromise on salary or career progression to achieve it. Salary was the most important (73 per cent) factor when accepting a new position, followed by promotion opportunities (54 per cent).

Insufficient pay was the top reason for quitting a job (53 per cent), while lack of progression was also in the top three (41 per cent).

Strong values and interesting work crucial for Gen Z retention

The study also revealed that younger staff aren’t willing to settle for boring work just to pick up their pay cheque.

46 per cent said interesting work was crucial to them remaining in their current job, with only salary and promotion opportunities more important. The same number said they would quit their job if the work was unsatisfactory.

Working for a business that emphasises values and ethics is also important. 61 per cent said strong leadership and direction was important, with almost a third (30%) saying they would quit if they felt their employer’s values didn’t their own.

Environmental and social responsibility are of particular importance, with 55 per cent of Gen Z workers saying employers should take them seriously, and almost half (48 per cent) refusing to join a business that doesn’t have clear environmental and social goals. Half (50 per cent) said they would leave their job if their employer backtracked on social or environmental targets.

Gen Z workers believe four day week could be on the horizon

Gen Z workers agree that working life is set to change significantly over the coming years.

55 per cent expect a four day week to become the norm, amidst reports of businesses successfully trialling the initiative across Europe. Meanwhile, more than two thirds (69 per cent) say that artificial intelligence and automation will become more common in office environments, although just a third (35 per cent) believe it will impact their own jobs.

The days of the suit also seem to be numbered. Instead, 57 per cent say jeans are now acceptable. Just one in ten (10 per cent) say it is important to dress like your colleagues and a quarter (25 per cent) say they would dress to impress. Instead, 55 per cent say being comfortable is a priority, rising to 65 per cent among women.

Hybrid working can provide best of both worlds

With Gen Z workers looking for both flexibility and competitive salaries, hybrid working will help businesses to hire the best talent. 

A study* by Global Workplace Analytics found that the adoption of hybrid working, and utilisation of flexible office space can save businesses up to £9,500 per employee, significantly reducing their bottom line while simultaneously offering Gen Z workers the flexibility they desire.

Gen Z workers’ preference for local workspaces has been reflected in the growth patterns of flexible and office workspace. This year IWG plans to open 1,000 locations globally, and almost all of these will be in suburban and rural locations to cater to this new demand.

In the UK, smaller towns with populations between 10,000 and 30,000 such as Chippenham, High Wycombe, Redhill and Evesham are among those with new coworking centres, allowing workers to cut lengthy commutes and work closer to home. 

Mark Dixon, Founder and CEO of Regus said:

“Gen Z is the future of the UK’s workforce and economy, and this study demonstrates how they are already shaping the word of work.”

“Gone are the days where younger staff will readily accept long, time-consuming commutes. This doesn’t mean a generation of working from home – the data clearly shows that Gen Z value time in the office to learn and collaborate – but businesses should be thinking about the working locations they can offer without long commutes in order to attract the best staff.”

“The pandemic has already accelerated hybrid working trends, and with the next cohort of business leader set to emerge from the Gen Z generation, it is firmly here to stay.”

Related Articles