If You Thought Millennial Talent Was Hard to Retain, Wait Until You Hear About Generation Z

Organizations who do not adapt may lose their young employees to competitors, or to the gig economy.

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The numbers are in, and 43% of millennial expect to leave their organization within 2 years. If you think that number is high—it’s 61% for Gen Z. Based on a recent Deloitte study of over 12,000 millennials and Gen Z around the world, employers may need to make major adjustments going forward.

Who are the Gen Z?

You’ve probably heard a ton about millennials, also known as Gen Y. Gen Z are the next generation of kids, and includes everyone born between 1995 and the early 2000s, which makes them currently 23 or younger. Employers have been trying to understand the behaviours of millennials for the past decade, and now it seems that many of their traits are even more pronounced within Gen Z.

What Can Organizations Do?

“Employers offering more flexibility than they did three years ago are
achieving greater profitability.”  

It has been known that millennial workers value many other things in addition to pay—and it seems that this is amplified within Gen Z. Whereas financial rewards and benefits were still the most popular “wish list” item for millennials (63% of them said it was very important), it falls to rank 2 for Gen Z. Topping the list for Gen Z, is a positive workplace culture (57% said it was very important, compared to 51% for financial rewards).

Financial rewards remain one of the best ways to attract young talent. However, they did not have a strong influence on loyalty—after all, another organization can always offer more. What did increase loyalty was diversity within the organization, diversity within management, and flexibility of work. In addition to enjoying more flexible hours and locations, they also value the trust their employers demonstrate in granting that flexibility.

An Emerging Competitor: The Gig Economy

Gen Z values flexibility even more than millennials, and this is shown in their greater acceptance of the “gig economy”. 77% of Gen Z would consider (or are already) taking on “gigs” (i.e. freelance work) to supplement their income. 87% of that would even consider leaving full-time employment to join the gig economy.

“Those less than satisfied with their pay and work flexibility are increasingly attracted to the gig economy.”

What draws them to the gig economy? The top reason is higher income. For a profession like accounting, the hourly rate for contract work could be much higher than a salary if your skills are in demand. The second biggest reason, stated by 41% of respondents, is to work their own hours. Other reasons include better work/life balance, autonomy, taking on a new challenge, and being rewarded for performance as opposed to a set salary.

Money, diversity, and flexibility are the top 3 ways to attract and retain Gen Z talent, and the gig economy emphasizes all three. Instead of comparing multiple companies, potential employees might consider whether or not they should work for a company in the first place.


You can read the full report on millenials and Gen Z here. To learn more about the accounting gig economy, here is a quick guide (courtesy of Xero).

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