Girl group Fifth Harmony wasn’t singing about Gen Z when they recorded their popular song, “Work From Home.” The catchy line “you don’t wanna go to work” (work then repeated something like a thousand times) might apply to millennials, but it’s way off base for Gen Z. On the contrary. They want to work because they know it’s their path to future success and financial security.
And they have a great work ethic. Case in point: my 18-year-old, senior in high school son, Sammy. This kid has had two jobs since he turned 16. First, as a dishwasher and cook at a local restaurant (a job I made him quit after a year so he could focus on school and his last year of varsity football). After his grades improved and the football season ended, he got his second job – this time at a movie theater. I have never seen someone so young as dedicated and responsible as Sammy when it comes to a part-time job. He is never late. Never calls in sick. Never asks to switch shifts. He works hard and enjoys learning new things. The stress gets to him sometimes, but he steps up with poise and maturity to handle it, without complaint. The money comes in handy too.
Sammy’s not alone. In fact, generational researchers are expecting great things from Gen Z in the workplace. According to a recent Randstad global survey (aimed at discovering how millennial and Gen Z workers differ in their professional outlook), 84 percent of Gen Z said they aspired to be leaders, while 79 percent of millennials said the same thing. We also know Z’s expect to work hard for their success rather than “be discovered.” They are ready to receive on-the-job training and coaching, and they value face-to-face feedback, despite being addicted to technology. In the workplace, they crave personal interaction.
What else do Z’s bring to the table (or cubicle)? The list is long and promising. They’re smart. They’re innovative and creative. They’re tech-intuitive. They want to make a real difference in the world and aspire to work for companies that genuinely care about making a positive impact. They want to work for leaders they can trust and believe in, and won’t stand long for anything less.
What’s more, one of their top priorities in life is to achieve financial security. They’ve lived through the Great Recession and have seen their parents, along with their older millennial siblings, struggle financially. Because they don’t want to find themselves in a similar position, they are ready to work hard for a living. And they expect to be well-compensated for that hard work.
So, pay attention hiring managers. Gen Z is about to rock the working world harder than all the girl groups and boy bands put together. Get ready for an influx of some of the smartest young adults you’ve ever met. And then, in a few years, watch your backs because they’ll be coming for your job.