Gen Z takes a lot of heat. The group of young people born in 1996 or later have been met with some scorn by older generations of workers, with labels from “entitled” to “lazy” being lobbed their way.
But new research suggests organizations might want to cut Gen Z some slack — in the workplace, at least.
According to a new report by talent acquisition firm Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), Gen Z workers have higher levels of work-related anxiety and are more disillusioned about their careers than their older counterparts.
LHH’s “Readiness Index” examined how prepared people in the U.S., U.K. and France feel to make their next career move, on a scale of 1 to 10. LHH found the Global Readiness Score to be 7.7, but that number drops for workers ages 18-24.
LHH gave people ages 18-24 a readiness score of just 7.0 — trailing far behind the next-closest score of 7.5, given to people ages 45-54.
The report found that younger workers are more likely to worry about “environmental” factors that could affect their career paths, like the rise of automation and societal issues at large.
In addition, LHH’s research suggests that Gen Z might not be having a good time at work. One-third of Gen Z workers feel that their voice isn’t heard, compared to older colleagues, while 34% feel that they don’t get along with their colleagues.
The data speaks to the importance of targeted messaging in workplace communications.
Younger workers may have different interests, lifestyles and more strongly-held beliefs than their older colleagues, which means comms pros should be intentional about shifting their messaging.
A one-size-fits-all approach might work for a fringed poncho giveaway at Coachella, but internal communicators and managers will need to put in a little more effort to make their Gen Z employees feel understood and valued.