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Generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is stepping onto the professional stage with a distinct perspective shaped by shifting economic landscapes and redefined societal norms.
Between August 9–10, 2023 ResumeLab surveyed over 1,100 U.S.-based workers belonging to Generation Z to examine their work expectations, demands, and habits. As a result, we found that 97% of Gen Z admit that work is part of their identity.
But there’s more. Why are they called the job-hopping generation? What are their workplace must-haves? Is money more valuable than well-being in the Gen Z world?
Join us as we peel back the layers of this generation’s motivations, gaining insights beyond stereotypes.
Gen Z – job hoppers?
Generation Z has ignited a paradigm shift in the traditional concept of job stability, embracing a dynamic approach to their careers that often involves frequent job changes. Unlike their predecessors, they view job hopping not as a sign of instability but as a strategic means to diversify their skill sets, pursue new challenges, and seek environments that align with their values and ambitions.
That’s why 83% of Gen Z workers consider themselves job hoppers.
Demographic differences reveal some more interesting facts. 77% of those with no degree consider themselves job-hoppers, compared to 92% of master’s degree holders.
According to ResumeLab’s study, in practice, this means that:
- 4% of Gen Z respondents plan to stay with their current employer for less than a year.
- 19% say they’ll stay for no more than one year.
- 43% will plant roots for two years.
- 22% declare they’re willing for a three-year commitment.
- 13% intend to stay four years or more with their current employer.
Contrary to initial impressions, Generation Z’s commitment to their current employers showcases a more balanced perspective. 78% of Gen Zers declare a two- to five-year commitment. This data paints a more nuanced picture of Generation Z’s career approach, indicating a reasonable inclination towards stability and growth within their roles.
So, let’s now answer how many jobs Generation Z employees have had in their relatively short careers.
33% of Gen Zers have only had one job, while 34% already had two. 23% proved themselves in three different workplaces, while 9% of respondents have had four jobs. Just 1% of workers have had five or more jobs.
- 18% of those without a college degree and 16% of master’s degree holders had “only” one job, compared to 41% of those with a bachelor’s degree.
- 39% of women had only one job compared to 27% of men.
- 41% of respondents working in companies with 501+ employees, and 45% of those employed in firms with 201–500 workers had one job compared to 19% and 18% of people employed in smaller companies (1–10 employees and 11–50 employees, respectively).
At this point, Generation Z looks better than they’re portrayed.
Dollars and departures: Gen Z’s take on money and quitting
It’s not money that motivates Generation Z to work. The list of the driving forces behind their work includes personal development (35%), ambition and desire to prove themselves (28%), family responsibilities (28%), money (25%), desire to make a difference (25%), having a sense of purpose (25%), and passion (24%).
Here, it’s obvious that Generation Z prioritizes personal development while balancing ambition, family commitments, and purpose-driven work.
Money is fourth in the ranking, and it isn’t everything. Just look at some aspects of life and work that Gen Z considers more important than high salary.
- Healthy work-life balance 73% vs. high salary 27%
- Satisfying job duties 72% vs. high salary 28%
- A good relationship with coworkers 72% vs. high salary 28%
- A meaningful job 70% vs. high salary 30%
- Career development 70% vs. high salary 30%
But we all need money to make ends meet. So cash isn’t totally irrelevant.
For 70%, a competitive salary is important or very important in a decision to stay with a current employer.
And an unsatisfactory paycheck can be a reason to quit and look for another employer. But not the only one and not the most important. Among the top reasons for leaving, Gen Z workers mention:
- Working too much overtime – 41%
- Clash of values – 35%
- Feeling unhappy because of their job – 33%
- Low salary – 32%
- Bad manager/boss – 26%
- No work-life balance – 24%
Generation Z’s focus definitely extends beyond monetary gains to encompass well-being, values, and a positive work environment.
But there are more reasons for quitting.
- 72% would quit their job if the working environment was toxic.
- 72% would quit their job if it lacked development opportunities.
- 71% would quit their job if it made them unhappy.
- 70% would quit their job if it hurt their work-life balance.
- 65% would quit their jobs if they didn’t get along with colleagues.
Additionally, 75% of Generation Z workers would quit their jobs without having another one waiting for them.
Meanwhile, 74% of Gen Z workers would consider a career as a freelancer if they can’t find suitable employment.
Those people have an unwavering determination to prioritize a healthy, growth-oriented, fulfilling work experience.
A new era of workplace demands
In the fast-evolving landscape of modern work culture, the arrival of Generation Z has ushered in a wave of fresh perspectives, demands, and expectations. On their must-have list, we find:
- Flexible work schedules – 35%
- Healthcare packages – 31%
- Regular pay raises – 29%
- Regular development opportunities, e.g., training, courses – 29%
- Understanding of personal needs, i.e., having a life outside of work – 28%
- Remote work opportunities – 27%
- Mental health days off – 25%
These are the top choices. Research participants could choose up to three expectations.
Expectations and demands are also placed on management. Here, traits of a perfect boss cover good decision-making abilities, focus on employee development and growth, and the ability to inspire and motivate.
All of these align with Generation Z’s long-term career goals, considering a blend of personal fulfillment, financial stability, innovation, societal impact, and continuous learning.
The top three Gen Z work-related goals cover having a good work-life balance, starting their own business, and achieving success and recognition.
Employers should be prepared that Generation Z workers are not just passive consumers of workplace dynamics but active contributors to a transformative journey.
ResumeLab is here to help you take your career to new heights, no matter what generation you are. Make use of our expert-approved resume templates, see resume examples for jobs in different career sectors, including jobs for Generation Z, get the perfect cover letter template, and everything you need to land your dream job.