Newest Workforce Generation Surprisingly Old School

A survey of more than 770 members of Generation Z (those born between 1990 and 1999) by Robert Half and Enactus reveals some insights one might find surprising.

Forty-one percent described mid-size organizations as the ideal work environment, followed by large organizations (38%). Only 14% cited start-ups. Forty-five percent of respondents prefer to work in a private office, and face-to-face communication is the method of choice for 74%.

Seventy-seven percent believe they will need to work harder compared to those in past generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling professional life.

Forget fancy job titles—they mainly want more responsibility and an honest boss. Opportunity for career growth was the most commonly cited career priority, with 64% of respondents ranking it among their top three. An impressive job title was only cited as a priority by only 3%. Honesty/integrity was the top quality sought in a boss, cited by 38% of respondents; this was followed by mentoring ability (21%).

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Balancing work and personal obligations was the top future career concern for 28% of respondents, followed by making enough money (26%) and finding a stable job (23%).

A gold watch marking decades of service at one company may not be in the cards, but they do plan to stay a while at their jobs and move quickly up the ladder. Gen Zers expect to work for an average of four companies throughout their lifetimes. Thirty-two percent believe they will be managing employees in a corporate environment within the next five years. One in three would like to retire by the age of 60, but only 17% think it will be possible.

Forty-five percent cited potential challenges working with Baby Boomers, compared to 17% who anticipate difficulties with Gen X and 5% with Gen Yers.

"This group of professionals has grown up with technology available to them around the clock and is accustomed to constant learning. Companies with a solid understanding of this generation's values and preferences will be well prepared to create work environments that attract a new generation of employees and maximize their potential," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half.