Flexibility, sustainability, and rewards are essential for these generations, explains Elizabeth Faber, Deloitte global chief people and purpose officer.
With the number of Gen Zs and millennials in the workforce continuing to grow, these generations increasingly drive hiring trends. It is essential for employers to understand their preferences to not only attract new employees, but to retain them and help them grow within their organisations.
Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey uncovered three key areas employers can focus to attract and retain Gen Z and millennial talent:
• Foster work/life balance and flexibility
• Prioritise purpose and sustainability
• Focus on financial wellbeing to ensure people thrive in and beyond the workplace
1. Fostering better work/life balance
Deloitte’s research shows work is central to Gen Zs’ and millennials’ identities, but achieving balance is crucial.
In fact, for two consecutive years, our research revealed that work/life balance is Gen Zs’ and millennials’ top consideration when choosing an employer. It’s also the trait they admire most in their peers.
When asked how they’d like organisations to help them foster work/life balance, Gen Zs and millennials prioritised better career advancement opportunities for part-time jobs, condensed four-day work weeks, job sharing, and being allowed to work flexible hours.
Remote and hybrid work is also popular among these generations, with over three-quarters of those currently working in remote or hybrid roles saying they would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to work on site full-time.
Ultimately, Gen Zs and millennials value flexibility and having the autonomy to work where and when it works best for them. This helps them balance their work and personal priorities, and often leads to more productive and engaged employees.
2. Prioritising purpose and sustainability
Deloitte’s research also revealed that ethical concerns and values play a central role in how Gen Zs and millennials make their career decisions.
Nearly 40% of Gen Z and millennial respondents said they have rejected assignments due to ethical concerns, while a similar percentage turned down employers that do not align with their personal values.
Given climate change is a top-three societal concern for both generations, employers shouldn’t be surprised that many Gen Zs and millennials factor sustainability into their decision-making within their careers.
Over half of Gen Zs and millennials research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job with them, while one in six have changed jobs or sectors due to climate concerns (and another quarter plan to do so in the future).
While roughly half of Gen Zs and millennials have pressured their employers to take action on climate matters, only one in six feel they have an opportunity to positively influence their organisation’s sustainability efforts. This disconnect suggests the need for organisations to better communicate their climate strategies with their employees and help them understand how they can get involved.
Gen Zs and millennials are also looking to their employers to prepare them, both personally and professionally, for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Around half of respondents believe their employers are already providing the necessary training, but this should continue to be a focus area.
3. Focusing on financial wellbeing
For the past two years, the high cost of living has remained these generations’ top societal concern. Over half of Gen Zs and millennials live paycheck-to-paycheck, prompting many to take on either a part- or full-time job to supplement the income from their primary job.
Concern about the economy is preventing some Gen Zs and millennials from asking their employers for what they need. For example, among those who worry that the economic situation in their country will worsen or stay the same, many feel they won’t be able to ask for a raise or for more flexibility at work to improve their work/life balance.
Financial concerns are not only impacting their careers but also their ability to plan for their personal lives—at least half of young people think starting a family or buying a house will become harder or impossible.
Given the impact these concerns could have in the workplace and the broader economy, organisations often have the ability, and responsibility, to help ensure the financial wellbeing of their employees.
Optimising talent attraction and retention
Gen Zs and millennials have high expectations of their employers and business more broadly, and they make career decisions accordingly. Organisations whose behaviors are aligned with their values, actively listen to their concerns, and meet their needs are likely to win the optimal position to attract and retain talent for the future.
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