“A generation incapable of life”
Towards the end of 2022, you might have stumbled upon an article claiming that Germany, or Hamburg in particular, no longer employs Gen Z. Apparently, this is due to their unrealistic expectations and prioritizing leisure time over work.
However, we couldn’t confirm these claims in any of the available studies on the topic. That’s why, we decided to put things into context.
After all, being angry at the population that will soon make up 1/3 of the workforce will lead us to nowhere.
Anyhow, in December 2022, media called Fenix Magazine published an article titled “Agency from Hamburg has had enough: They refuse to hire young people, the reason is unbelievable”.
As explained, numerous employers from Hamburg don’t want to employ people born between 1995-2000 because they are dissatisfied with their work ethics.
In this article, they claim several things regarding Gen Z:
- They prioritize leisure time over work.
- They have limited capacity for concentration, endurance, and making new contacts.
- They are overly protected by their parents.
- Some employers even claim that Gen Z shows no respect or passion, whereas unnamed scientists say that this generation is incapable of life.
- Gen Z would rather be unemployed than unhappy, with more than half saying they would quit their job if it interfered with their private life.
- Half of them won’t join a company if it doesn’t share their societal and ecological values.
As you may have noticed, many of these claims are negative, but they fit in well with what the majority of the population thinks of Gen Z. In other words, the adults never had high hopes for the younger generation.
Rather than judging them and closing doors in front of their faces, maybe we should take a deeper dive into their thinking.
Since we couldn’t confirm the initial claim from Fenix Magazine, we found other relevant studies on the topic, whose data somewhat differs.
Baby Boomers lived to work; Gen Zers are changing the narrative
Considering that we started from Germany, we’ll expand on that.
A 2022 study from Deloitte, offered valuable insights into Gen Z’s philosophy at work. But, to be able to understand these statistics, we need to interpret them correctly.
Let’s start by saying that 75% of respondents prefer hybrid or remote work over in-office, but only half of them have a chance to do so.
The reasons they cite most often in favor of remote work are:
- 30% It has helped me save money;
- 26% It frees up my time to do other things I care about;
- 22% It makes getting my work done each day easier;
- 18% It positively impacts my mental health;
- 17% It makes me want to stay with my current employer longer.
In comparison, Baby Boomers lived to work; Gen Zers are changing the narrative.
Digitally enhanced learning opportunities and intentional mentorships between younger and more senior employees will help Gen Zers to adjust. This learning should be a two-way process; as more senior employees mentor Gen Zers, they too can benefit from these interactions and the adaptability and digital fluency common amongst Gen Z employees.
Moreover, the response to climate change has become a big deal for youngsters from Germany and they are mostly looking for employers with the same values. Again, this should be viewed as a positive change compared to older generations, but in the original article we see that it’s mentioned as yet another obstacle when hiring this part of the population.
More precisely, 90% of all surveyed Gen Zers and Millennials state they are making efforts to reduce their personal environmental impact. But only 18% believe that their employers are doing the same.
In addition, nearly half of them feel stressed out at work. Even though their employers are seemingly more focused on workplace well-being and mental health, many claim that it doesn’t have a real impact.
Another common argument criticizes Gen Z for leaving their jobs within 1-2 years and changing companies frequently.
Deloitte asked this target group to cite their reasons for leaving, and these were the most common responses:
- 16% I didn’t feel my feedback was heard;
- 14% Pay wasn’t high enough;
- 13% The COVID-19 pandemic made me reflect on my values and aspirations;
- 11% I felt the job/workplace was detrimental to my mental health;
- 10% Lack of learning and skills development opportunities.
Demographic largely interested in tech jobs
Now that we’ve hopefully understood the background of the future generation of employees, it’s time to mention that, so far, the tech industry is the only one that has succeeded in meeting their needs.
According to Business News Daily, this part of the population has largely been interested in tech roles.
Gen Z employees value high salaries, great benefits packages, and newer perks, and are turned off by heavy-handed upper management, long work hours, and wages barely above the legal minimum.
Source: Business News Daily
The article published at the end of January 2023, indicates that the oldest Gen Zers are now turning 25 and that the job market is soon to be flooded by this new generation of employees.
In fact, 27% of the workforce will be Gen Zers by 2025.
As we’ve seen before, the gap in expectations between them and more senior employees is huge, which could only lead to misunderstanding and dissatisfaction on both sides.
However, the tech industry is the #1 place they turn to when it comes to ideal job conditions.
Glassdoor analyzed Gen Z’s job applications and this is what they’ve come to the following conclusions:
- Software engineer is the most in-demand job, accounting for 19% of total applications;
- The majority of job applications were for tech companies, with the most popular ones being IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Deloitte;
- Apple is the highest-rated company, with an average rating of 4.6 from Gen Z employees.
Now, the real question is – how to attract and keep (future) top talent among Gen Zers?
According to the same study, employers from whichever industry should focus on the most important pros noted in job applications, which are promotions, good wages, attentive bosses, and a balance of benefits.