Press release

Meet Gen Z: The Self-proclaimed Hardest-working, Anxiously Optimistic Workforce of the Future

Sponsored by Businesswire

Workforce Institute
at Kronos
today issued a global survey of 3,400 members of
Generation Z1 across 12 countries that found contradictory
revelations from the newest segment of workforce.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

This survey is the first in a series of reports from The Workforce
Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace that examines attitudes of Gen
Z in workplaces across Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France,
Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K., and the
U.S., including how their education has prepared them for the working
world, their perceptions about the gig economy, and their views on how
to be an employer of choice for the next generation. Part one, “Meet Gen
Z: Hopeful, Anxious, Hardworking, and Searching for Inspiration,”
explores surprising contradictions of how 16- to 25-year-olds view
themselves, their expectations of work, and how employers can best
prepare to manage Gen Z employees.

News Facts

  • Gen Z believes it is the hardest-working generation – and have it
    the hardest – yet demand schedule flexibility to deliver their best

    • One-third (32%) of Gen Z respondents say they are the
      hardest-working generation ever, with Millennials ranked as the
      second-hardest working generation at 25%. More than half (56%) say
      the Silent Generationis the least hardworking
      generation of all time.
    • Almost two-fifths (36%) of Gen Zers believe they “had it the
      hardest” when entering the working world compared to all other
      generations before it, tied with the Silent Generation (ages
      75-94), which generally began entering the workforce during or
      just after World War II.
    • While Gen Zers believe they are hardworking, one in four (26%)
      admit they would work harder and stay longer at a company that
      supports flexible schedules, with flexibility desired most in
      Canada (33%), the U.K. (31%), and the U.S. (31%).
    • Gen Z’s appeal for flexibility comes with a few actions they would
      never tolerate from their employer, including being forced to work
      when they don’t want to (35%); inability to use vacation days when
      they want to (34%); and working back-to-back shifts (30%).
  • Mind the “Preparation Gap”: Gen Z outlines what school did – and
    did not – prepare them for, as these digital natives crave
    face-to-face interaction.

    • Despite record-high enrollment, less than half of Gen Z credits
      their high school (39%) or college (42%) education for preparing
      them to enter the working world. One in four Gen Zers say they are
      least prepared to handle negotiating (26%); networking (24%);
      speaking confidently in front of crowds (24%); and resolving work
      conflict (23%).
    • Conversely, Gen Z feels well-equipped to handle working in a team
      (57%); hitting project deadlines (57%); and working with customers
    • Gen Z also isn’t prepared to be managed by another person (21%),
      although nearly one-third (32%) say they would be motivated to
      work harder and stay longer at a company if they have a supportive
      manager. The top three attributes they value in a manager are:
      “they trust me” (47%), “they support me” (40%), and “they care
      about me” (35%).
    • Despite being digital natives, three out of four Gen Zers (75%)
      prefer to receive manager feedback in person, and 39% prefer to
      communicate with their team or employer in person – with Gen Zers
      in Mexico valuing in-person communication the most (55%).
  • How do they measure success? Gen Z is optimistic, yet anxious,
    about their careers.

    • Across the globe, more than half (56%) of Gen Z is optimistic
      about their professional future, led by India where an incredible
      44% of 16- to 25-year-olds are “extremely optimistic,” followed
      closely by U.S. Gen Zers at 31%.
    • However, Gen Zers who are employed today are the least optimistic:
      Half (50%) of those who are currently serving in an internship and
      one-third (28%) of those working full-time are only “moderately”
      optimistic about their professional future.
    • The overall optimism of Gen Z is met with many emotional barriers
      this generation feels it must overcome to achieve workplace
      success, including anxiety (34%), lack of motivation/drive (20%),
      and low self-esteem (17%). Anxiety, specifically, is a greater
      concern among female Gen Zers (39% vs. 29% for male) and most
      prevalent in Canada (44%), the U.K. (40%), and the U.S. (40%).
    • About one-third of Gen Z measures their success based on how
      respected they are by their co-workers (34%) and the recognition
      they receive from their manager (32%). However, traditional
      benchmarks still matter, with salary (44%) and advancement (35%)
      reigning supreme.

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    Z is bringing new expectations to the workplace, driven by their
    digital upbringing as well as their self-identified emotional barriers
    to success. They have strong feelings about how and when they want to
    work, especially compared to generations past. With Millennials moving
    into management roles, we’re entering an inflection point in the
    employee-manager relationship – and leaders will need to familiarize
    themselves with the priorities of this latest generation of workers in
    order to effectively manage and develop them.”
  • Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and research director, Future

    “Despite younger generations being called lazy by
    older generations, Gen Zers consider themselves the hardest-working.
    To inspire them to do their best work, companies must meet them at the
    starting line – give them training, flexibility, and mentorship. This
    digital generation, primarily relying on technology to communicate,
    suffers from anxiety. Thus, Gen Zers are looking for leaders who are
    trusting, support their needs, and express care for them as humans –
    not just employees. Focusing on Gen Zers human needs will be the best
    way to address their workplace needs.”

Supporting Resources

About The Workforce Institute at Kronos
The Workforce
Institute at Kronos provides research and education on critical
workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing
together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute at Kronos is uniquely
positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information
they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for
employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce
Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse
employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional
information, visit

Survey Methodology
Research findings are based on a
global survey conducted on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos
and Future Workplace by Savanta across Australia and New Zealand
(surveyed together), Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India,
Mexico, Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. from April 9–23, 2019. For
this survey, 3,400 respondents were asked general questions to explore
thoughts on gig economy, workplace readiness and expectations, corporate
culture, and learning and development with respect to their career. The
study targeted Gen Z employees. Respondents are recruited through a
number of different mechanisms, via different sources, to join the
panels and participate in market research surveys. All panelists have
passed a double opt-in process and completed on average 300 profiling
data points prior to taking part in surveys. Respondents are invited to
take part via email and are provided with a small monetary incentive for
doing so. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The
magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number
of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.
In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result
does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 1.7 percentage points from
the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with
all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a
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respective owners.

Footnote 1: Generations are defined as follows: Gen Z, ages 16-25;
Millennials, ages 26-37; Gen X, ages 38-54; Baby Boomers, ages 55-74;
and Silent Generation, ages 75-94.