Generation Z Wants Cash, Stability; Forget the Perks

Generation Z (technically, those born in the mid-1990s through the turn of the century) is beginning to enter the workforce. Integrating its members successfully into a team might take a little work, but it’s certainly doable. A new report by The Workforce Institute at Kronos (PDF) suggests what Generation Z employees want out of an employer, and it comes down to a couple of things: solid pay and stability.

Some 54 percent of those Generation Z’ers surveyed by The Workforce Institute reported that pay is the most important factor in their first-time job. Moreover, 44 percent are interested in jobs as a way to make money, versus 33 percent who wanted to use jobs to build a career.

Generation Z’ers also want their employers to provide as much information as possible about the role. “During their first day on the job, 44 percent expect hands-on training, 43 percent expect to attend a day-one orientation, and 33 percent expect to be provided upfront with everything they need to know about the job,” the report added. “At least one in four Gen Z employees appreciates a manager who sets clear goals and expectations upfront (26 percent), and a quarter believe an ideal onboarding experience includes regular check-ins with their manager during their first month on the job (25 percent).”

Roughly a third of this youngest working generation also wants a good benefits package, far outpacing the 15 percent that wants perks such as free snacks, happy hours, or gym reimbursements.

While older generations might find Generation Z’s focus on cash a bit mercenary, keep in mind that this generation has witnessed quite a bit of instability in its relatively short life. Between 9/11, the Great Recession, and other events, you can’t blame members of this generation for thinking that the world is perpetual chaos, and they have to plan (and earn) accordingly.

And across generations, it’s clear that technologists wouldn’t mind a little more transparency when it comes to job hunting. In a Dice survey earlier this year, some 40 percent of technologists reported a desire for more information about salary ranges in job postings. That’s in addition to the 25 percent who wanted to know scheduling and whether the job is remote-work-friendly before even stepping through the company’s door for an interview. 

Meanwhile, there are also concerns that tech pay is stagnating. This year, the Dice Salary Survey demonstrated that the average tech pro salary is at a virtual standstill, declining a mere $84 between 2015 and 2018. Tech professionals between the ages of 36 and 49 made an average of $96,894, while those over 50 had an average income of $104,117 annually. Meanwhile, those under 36 years old (which includes Generation Z) made far less: $71,191.

In light of that data, no wonder Generation Z wants the cash (and a little more clarity about the job’s requirements). As so-called “digital natives,” these up-and-coming technologists certainly have the skills that employers need. It’s up to team leaders and hiring managers to make sure that the pay is adequate (as well as the benefits).