53% of Gen Z have switched companies in the past two years, research finds
According to the State of Hybrid Work report by Owl Labs, a global collaboration technology company, Gen Z are the most likely demographic to change jobs in the UK, with 53% of 18-24-year-olds having switched companies in the past two years. This is a clear indication that workplaces do not understand nor are adapting to meet the evolving demands of Britain’s growing, younger workforce.
In particular, Gen Z workers expect a better work-life balance with 26% citing this as the main reason for changing jobs. A further 31% made the switch to tackle burnout at work. According to the study, offering greater flexibility in the workplace and more robust benefits will be key to retaining top Gen Z talent.
Gen Z pushing for a modernised workplace
In recent months, “quiet quitting”, where employees opt out of the hustle culture by doing only what is required of them at work, is being driven by Gen Z and is now gaining traction among other age groups. This reflects a broader shift towards seeking a better work-life balance which greater flexibility at work can foster.
Almost one in three (29%) 18-24-year-olds indicate that they would decline a new job role if they were not given flexibility over the hours they work. Similarly, a quarter (25%) would turn down a new job offer if they were not given flexibility over their work location. Flexibility is so important in creating a better work-life balance that over three-quarters (76%) of 18-24-year-olds are willing to take a pay cut for flexible hours and location.
Expectations around flexibility also include shaking up the traditional working week – over a third (35%) of Gen Z state that being offered a four-day working week would make them more likely to remain with their current employer. What’s more, over three quarters (79%) would take a pay cut for a four-day work week. As the four-day work trial continues in the UK, companies must be open to more unique ways of working to re-enthuse and re-engage their workforce.
Gen Z require more tailored managerial support
Whilst Gen Z do want flexibility in where they work, they need processes in place to ensure that they can still learn effectively, get the support they need to fulfil their roles, and progress in their careers. As it stands, many Gen Z workers lack confidence in current hybrid work strategies, with growing concerns over proximity bias in the workplace.
Over half (54%) are concerned that working remotely will mean that they will miss out on promotion opportunities and overall career progression. What’s more, Gen Z are also more likely (62%) to think that employers have more trust in full-time office workers than hybrid or remote workers.
With a significant wave of Gen Z workers entering the workforce for the first time during the pandemic, employers need to consider what additional training and support is required to ensure that younger workers progress at a similar rate to their peers.
As just under a quarter (22%) of 18-24-year-olds admit that working remotely had made them less productive compared to 11% of UK workers in general, it’s apparent that some companies are not providing the necessary training to engage and foster Gen Z talent in the workplace.
Gen Z now expects better tech now
Unsurprisingly, this digitally native generation is keen for employers to incorporate more immersive workplace technology. As digital natives, they expect technology in the workplace as standard practice and have big expectations when it comes to better workplace technology. As such, 42% of 18-24-year-olds want an office metaverse.
A further 23% would be keen to work in virtual reality, while 14% want to have workplace avatars and holograms. However, as it stands, Gen Z are missing out on the benefits of better collaboration technology.
Nearly three-quarters (72%) currently feel left out during online meetings, while a further 77% admit to being disengaged while participating online. Companies need to enhance their current tech stack as a matter of urgency, to re-energise their younger workforce and retain staff in the long term while keeping all employees collaborating regardless of their location.
Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs said: “It’s clear that companies need to modernise their policies and technology to cater to this growing, digital-native generation. Flexibility is key to retaining this generation of workers who want to maintain a better work-life balance.
“Offering alternative approaches to the typical working week and empowering all employees with better technology to collaborate, and connect, will be crucial. This tech-forward generation also provides an abundant source of knowledge when it comes to upgrading a company’s tech stack.
“Listening to their needs and expectations will most likely benefit the entire workforce and create a more engaging hybrid work environment.”