As the next generation of young people comes of age and enters the workforce, businesses may find them to be more demanding than previous generations, according to new research from tech company Ricoh Europe published this week.
The research, which classifies young people aged 19 or less as Generation Z, surveyed 3,352 respondents from eight different business sectors and across 22 countries to find out what challenges businesses will face as they employ this new generation alongside three others: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Each group has different expectations, demands and characteristics.
For instance, the preferred form of communication amongst workers across generations was face-to-face, but it is in generational decline. It was the preferred method for 77 percent of Boomers, compared to 58 percent of Generation Z.
The report found that Generation Z has high expectations of their future employers: 73 per cent of Generation Z believes their employer will cater to their needs, whereas only 48 per cent of the other generations thought they would.
After salary, the main attractions to working at a company for Generation Z were a good work-life balance and working with great people. For comparison, Baby Boomers were more attracted to job security.
Flexibility is also important to Generation Z. The survey found 30 percent would be frustrated if their job lacked flexibility in hours. A lack of flexibility bothered just 20 percent of Millennials, 17 percent of Generation X and only 13 percent of Boomers
"Generation Z has high expectations from their employers – and so they should," said David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, in a press release. "Why shouldn't flexible and remote working truly become the norm? As history dictates, these preferences only grow as the world of work continues to evolve at a rapid rate.
Other challenges that business will face include being more open: 43 percent of Generation Z said they would be irritated by a lack of communication, whereas only 19 percent of the older generations said they would find it irritating.
Businesses may have to manage and prevent conflict amongst employees: 35 percent of older generations felt workplace tensions would increase when the next generation enters the workforce.
"Given their desire for constant innovation, instant communication and open collaboration, Gen Z will be a big challenge for businesses," added Mills. "They certainly know what they want from an employer. But these are rightful expectations, rather than outlandish demands."
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