The War for Talent: Understanding what Gen Z wants.
Author Jessica Swanepoel  | 

As we reach the end of 2022 and start to think about new year resolutions, Gen Z’s biggest goal for the new year is reimagining current ‘work/life balance practices and revolutionising the workplace.

Gen Z is the newest generation of adults struggling to find work-life balance. According to a recent Randstad report, their needs and priorities are already echoing those of Millennials. [1] However, struggling to navigate the balance between work and life isn’t new. In fact, the term ‘Work-Life Balance’ has been in use since the ’80s. So, after all this time, why is this topic being brought to light again?

The pandemic made us all question our relationship with work, our workplace, our boss, our colleagues and, how all these things influence our lives. People started rethinking their relationship with work and re-evaluating what is important. Lockdowns saw the birth of universal remote work, where Gen Z was reported to be the generation with the least preference for being away from the office found in a study by ZDNET.[2] To put it into perspective, a study by uniting spaces found that only 8% of Gen Z say they do their best work from home. [3] Naturally, Gen Z want to socialise with their friends, grow their business network, and learn in a collaborative environment, whereas older generations with pre-existing business experience, an established social network, and an on average better work-from-home setup, could continue to operate with their existing connections in optimal environments.

Now that we are firmly operating in a ‘new normal’, Gen Z is viewing the workplace differently and is showing employers the importance of curating a fun, collaborative work environment. This is seen through the use of social media, posting highlights of their nine-to-five on TikTok and Instagram as a means of ‘romanticising’ their job and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘work hard play hard’. [4]

Understanding the needs of this new generation entering the workplace is vital in recruiting Gen Z talent. Gen Z takes up 7.9% of the global active workforce, and this number will only go up until eventually surpassing Millennials as the largest working generation. Organizations in every sector will need to prioritize the attraction and retention of Gen Z employees to thrive in a post-covid world. Nurturing new hires, helping them feel connected to their jobs, providing independence, support, and guidance, and allowing them to feel challenged, will all be key factors to talent retention. What policies is your organisation implementing to support Gen Z in your workplace?

[1]” Businesses need to step up, as millienials and gen Z fundamentally change the employee-employer power dynamic”, Ranstand, 2022

[2]” Gez Z has the most trouble working from home during the new norma”l, ZDNET, Elleen Brown, June 30 2020 Gen Z has the most trouble working from home during the new normal | ZDNET

[3] Sociable Gen Z prefer to work in a communal workplace rather than home, Uniting spaces, 2021 Sociable Gen Z prefer to work in a communal workplace rather than home – Uniting Spaces Coworking Consulting Firm

[4] “Office videos on TikTok thrill Gen Z”, The Times, 30 November 2022

Office videos on TikTok thrill Gen Z | World | The Times