Tuesday, December 5

More than half of employees (56%) age 18 to 24, a demographic classified as Gen Z, say that they would quit a job if it prevented them from enjoying their lives, according to a new survey. Around forty percent of this GenZ demographic said they would “rather be unemployed than unhappy working in a job they did not like,” as per the 2022 Randstad Workmonitor report. The survey polled 35,000 employees across 34 markets to show the dramatically changing attitudes in the workplace, which could have been potentially sparked by the pandemic. Which is also exemplified by The Great Resignation.

GenZ Prefer to be unemployed than be Unhappy at Work
GenZ Prefer to be unemployed than be Unhappy at Work

The younger generations take on work/life balance and personal fulfillment is not all empty talk. Forty percent of GenZ, as well as millennial respondents, said that they had quit a job because it did not fit with their personal life, compared to 33% of those polled, overall.

The study also outlined the top five work priorities for employees, with an emphasis on what will help employers attract as well as retain Gen Z as well as millennial workers. They are classified as those aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34, respectively.

Lifestyle and Happiness

No.1 thing that employees seek for is a “fulfilling work experience,” or a company attitude that helps them fit their work around their personal life. Seventy-Five percent of Gen Z respondents said work is important to their lives, whereas only 68% of older respondents shared the same views.

Money Matters

Financial security is hugely important to GenZ, for those who are now entering the workforce, their childhood may have been dominated by the global financial crisis along with the decade of slow growth that followed. The pandemic is likely to have caused huge disruption as well as economic instability towards the end of their studies. On top of that, they are beginning their careers during a cost-of-living crisis. 

“There’s a degree of financial anxiety that we ought not to dismiss – it’s tougher now,” says Perry Timms, who recommends that companies do more to support the financial wellbeing of their staff. That can be done by helping younger people navigate the rental market or by offering advice about loans. 

Despite the clear need for competitive pay to attract and retain talent, an attractive salary alone might not be sufficient to keep GenZ on board. The Workmonitor report reveals that 42% of Gen Zers say they would not mind making less money if they felt their job contributed to society.

Aligning Values

Among all demographics, 43% of respondents said they would not join a company if the organization’s social as well as environmental values did not align with their own. Similarly, 41% said that they would not work for a company that did not promote diversity as well as inclusion in the workplace.

Employee Empowerment

While job training and personal development are key, employees are still seeking the right monetary incentives as well as benefits. Within the past year, as per the survey, only 22% of employees said they received better benefits like more time off, better healthcare, or even access to more robust retirement benefits. Whereas, 33% said that they received either a raise, training or workplace development offering.

Job Flexibility

According to the survey, nearly 75% of employees stated that a flexible work location is important, whereas 83% said flexible hours to support their lives are critical. Contrary to employee demands, only about one-quarter of employers currently offer both remote work as well as flex-time.

Self-improvement and Professional Development

As employees want work to fit in with their values as well as their lifestyles, they also expect the workplace to complement and support the development goals. Eighty-eight percent of respondents across age groups said that they would like to participate in learning as well as development programs if the organizations offered them. Sixty percent said they would like workshops or education on how they can earn more money. Fifty percent said that they wanted tips on how to achieve a better work/life balance, whereas 40% wanted to learn how to advance their careers, according to the study. Only 25% of employees polled, however, said they were offered training as well as development opportunities in their workplace.

The study highlights many gaps between what today’s workers want and what employers deliver. To combat the effects of The Great Resignation, employers have to focus on more than just competitive wages & employee benefits, instead, deliver what will really make a difference to today’s younger generations as well as up-and-coming workers.

Reports caution employers of the risks they carry if they do not act on the needs soon, especially with no signs of the great resignation slowing. 70% of workers today are open to new job opportunities, while nearly a third (32%) of Gen Zs. While 28% of millennials are actively seeking a new role. 49% of workers are confident that they would quickly find a new job if they were to lose their job.

Why is this shift happening?

Till now I told you what the study shows, but such a matter also requires different perspectives, and different outlooks, we can’t just base why this is happening just on studies, despite all of it being true.  So, why would Genz prefer to be unemployed than be Unhappy at work? Being GenZ myself, I would say the statement holds, we are not just saying we’d rather be unemployed, we mean it. 

Looking at the generations before us, our parents and grandparents, working tirelessly, and having near to no time for their life, families, interests, or hobbies, has made us bitter against work, even if you’re happy or not notion. People like me who are part of working-class households, seeing how the pandemic affected the world, and how even the most loyal employees were not safe from the mass firings, changed how we perceive the work industry. 

I don’t want to spend all my life contributing all I can to a company, while not living life. All the priorities the survey pointed out are true. Yes, I would rather work at a place that aligns with my values, that has job flexibility, a workplace that genuinely contributes to my happiness, and vice-versa. I don’t want to be some crusty grumpy old man, who did all he could for just monetary gain, and just passed through life in the name of survival, instead of living it and enjoying it. 

I believe that Ye said it best, “When we die, the money we can’t keep

But we prolly spend it all ’cause the pain ain’t cheap.”

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