What does Gen Z want from an employer?

The impact of staff shortages on local businesses has been felt throughout Cairns and the wider region. From the closure of Cairns Private Hospital’s maternity unit to small family-owned businesses having to reduce opening hours, staff shortages have been cited as the leading cause of disruption of service.

One potential source of new blood is literally just that – young adults entering the workforce. But with misconceptions by both employers and Gen Zers, are crossed wires causing missed opportunities for both businesses and candidates?

We caught up with four Gen Zers from CBC Staff Selection to understand more about this generation and their expectations from an employer. Spoiler alert: they’re not as demanding as their stereotyped memes suggest.

What perks are Gen Z are looking for when searching for a job?

Olivia Crump, Candidate Consultant at CBC Staff Selection spends a large proportion of her time engaging with job seekers, understanding their ambitions and aspirations.

“Career progression, workplace culture and work/life balance are important factors to Gen Z. When you think about it, it isn’t that unusual. They’re typically fresh out of university, TAFE or school. Naturally, these ambitious individuals are concerned about their growth opportunities when looking for a job, while enjoying what they do without sacrificing their youth or their health.” says Olivia.

“Most young adults coming out of the education system, are used to working different patterns to a typical 9 to 5 and would like to continue this into the professional careers. The idea of flexible working may seem demanding, but in many cases, it works. There are plenty of successful four-day week trials worldwide where both employers and their staff have benefited in terms of productivity and enjoyment. So, these concepts really are not that radical.” continues Olivia.

Are there any deal breakers for Gen Z?

“Over the last few years, we’ve definitely witnessed a widespread realisation that mental health is just as important as someone’s physical health. While Gen Z can be characterised as being sensitive, this generation is very clear about what they stand for. Through social media they are already influenced by, or influential in, movements fighting discrimination. So, when Gen Z are seeking work, any sign of discrimination or poor company culture, acts as a red flag, but I think most people would feel the same.” says Operations Coordinator, Ashleigh Leporati.

Ashleigh continues; “Another deal breaker for Gen Z is that they seek trust and autonomy. Quite often because of the caricature mocking Gen Zers, they are keen to prove to employers that they are valuable assets to their business. But that’s a two-way street. In return, they do want to feel valued and respected.”

What problems does Gen Z solve for employers?

With employers experiencing challenges in finding staff, Gen Z provides a possible solution for their recruitment woes and is armed with many valuable skills businesses can utilise. Recruitment Coordinator, Mikayla Goodman explains:

“We have a tech mindset, so quite often Gen Z becomes the designated IT support for the business. With the ability to pick up new software and technology very quickly, our generation can help our employers adapt to change.

“While we are all certainly not TikTok stars or Insta Influencers, we have been exposed to social media early on. Our connectivity and understanding of the digital world is an asset to any employer. However, I believe Gen Z is quite social in all aspects of life. We’re typically able to work with and understand other generations online and offline.” adds Mikayla.

What unique skills or qualities will Gen Z bring to an employer?

As a leading recruitment agency, the team at CBC Staff Selection is across the evolving world of workplace relations, ensuring clients and candidates operate safely and within regulation. Recruitment Coordinator, Cassidy Warner sees a massive opportunity for employers:

“Some people call it political correctness, however, Gen Z wants to actively contribute to a safe workplace. Generally, they are not afraid to speak up if they see something that’s not right. While that may seem confronting, it’s actually really valuable to those who take the time to listen. It can help them identify opportunities to make processes more efficient, reduce waste or even improve company culture.

“At the end of the day, Gen Z is not really that different to older generations. Every generation before us has been mocked or branded ‘weaker’ than the previous one, so we’re just next in line and happy to take the baton’, closes Cassidy.

With recent studies suggesting 33% of employees in Australia feeling fatigued and approaching burnout, it’s likely that the impacts of chronic staff shortages are causing other issues too. With this in mind, perhaps now is the perfect time for Gen Z and employers to build a bridge to deliver mutual success.