Millennial Branding and Randstad US Release First Worldwide Study Comparing Gen Y and Gen Z Workplace Expectations

Findings reveal Gen Z is entrepreneurial, less motivated by money and more focused on face-to-face communication compared to Gen Y.

ATLANTA, September 2, 2014 – Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm, and Randstad, the second-largest HR services and staffing company in the world, today announced results from the first worldwide study to focus on the workplace preferences of both Generation Y (ages 21 to 32) and Generation Z (ages 16 to 20). Key takeaways from the findings show:

  • Gen Z has more of an entrepreneurial spirit
    17% of Gen Z vs. 11% of Gen Y wants to start a business and hire others.
  • For Gen Z, it’s not about the money … yet
    Only 27% of Gen Z said money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer, as opposed to 38% of Gen Y.
  • Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication over technology
    Gen Z grew up with technology, yet 51% percent prefer in-person communication over tools like instant messaging and video conferencing. 

According to Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and Author of Promote Yourself, the study reveals other attributes that distinguish Gen Z and Gen Y employees. “Gen Z has a clear advantage over Gen Y because they appear to be more realistic instead of optimistic, are likely to be more career-minded, and can quickly adapt to new technology to work more effectively,” Schawbel said. “Additionally, since Gen Z has seen how much Gen Y has struggled in the recession, they come to the work place well prepared, less entitled and more equipped to succeed.”

Entitled “Gen Y vs. Gen Z Workplace Expectations,” the study queried approximately 1,000 individuals from each generation across 10 countries: the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

“Generations are increasingly separated along narrower age bands, requiring managers to juggle the needs and preferences of four or even five distinct generations working side by side,” said Jim Link, Chief Human Resource Officer, Randstad North America. “This study provides an insightful picture of what employers can use to motivate, drive and inspire this newest generation as part of their overall recruitment and retention strategy.”

The following are detailed results from the survey:

If you’re the leader, be honest 
  • Take note business leaders: One-half (52%) of both Gen Z and Gen Y state that honesty is the most important quality for being a good leader.
  • The generations agree that after honesty, leaders should exhibit a solid vision (Gen Z 34%, Gen Y 35%), followed by good communication skills (Gen Z 32%, Gen Y 34%).

Let’s talk. In person.

  • Contrary to the assumption that younger workers want “constant connection” to technology, a majority of Gen Z respondents say they prefer in-person communications with managers (51%), as opposed to emailing (16%) or instant messaging (11%).
  • The same trend applies to Gen Y: in-person (52%), emailing (18%), instant messaging (11%).
  • And few believe that technology actually enhances personal relationships with co-workers (Gen Z 13%, Gen Y 14%). 

Technology is a distraction 

  • Slightly more than one-third (37%) of Gen Z ranked instant messaging as the biggest work distraction, followed by Facebook (33%) and email (13%).
  • Gen Y reports being most distracted by email (31%), Facebook (28%) and instant messaging (25%).

And not all of us like to multitask, after all

  • When asked if they like to multitask, just over one-half (54%) of Gen Z responded in the affirmative, while two-thirds (66%) of Gen Y said yes.
  • Gen Z is not as inclined to work in a fast-pace environment: 59% of Gen Z report liking a fast pace, while 68% of Gen Y says the same.

Lifers aren’t the norm anymore

  • When asked about the number of companies they expect to work for during their lives, both generations clearly expect to switch employers several times, but Gen Z indicates that they plan to work for four companies compared to Gen Y’s five.
  • More of Gen Z (17%) than Gen Y (11%) want to start their own business and employ others.

But then again, maybe I’ll stick around

Employers have an opportunity to build employee retention and loyalty by addressing the different factors that motivate each generation to work hard and stay on board with their employer.

  • For Gen Z, one-third (34%) are most motivated by opportunities for advancement, followed by more money (27%) and meaningful work (23%).
  • Gen Y is primarily motivated by more money (38%), opportunities for advancement (30%) and meaningful work (15%).
  • Least important for both groups is having a good boss (7%) or working for a fast-growing company (6%).

Getting the work done 

  • According to the research, approximately four-fifths of both Gen Z and Gen Y like to work with technology to help them accomplish their goals (Gen Z 77%, Gen Y 81%).
  • Both state a strong preference for being hands-on with projects (Gen Z 76%, Gen Y 81%). 
  • Gen Z and Gen Y both selected a corporate office space as their top work environment; however Gen Y (45%) has greater preference for a traditional office than Gen Z (28%).
  • Notably, the generations’ second choice of work location is a co-working space that operates independently of the employer (Gen Z 27%, Gen Y 26%), and Gen Z shows a slight preference for a home office (Gen Z 19%, Gen Y 13%).
  • Gen Z (61%) has stronger desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions over Gen Y (56%), and Gen Y (58%) has a stronger desire for managers to allow them to work independently than Gen Z (46%).
  • Both Gen Z (65%) and Gen Y (69%) say the people whom they work with would enable their best work. While facility location is more important to Gen Y (47%) over Gen Z (36%), Gen Z (38%) has greater interest to personalize their own work space than Gen Y (34%).        

What I like about you

When asked to associate certain stereotypes with their peer group, both feel their own generation is creative, open-minded and intelligent.

However, when asked to rate stereotypes of the other generation, the groups show a difference of opinion:

Top 5 Stereotypes of Gen Z

As reported by Gen Z

 

 

 

As reported by Gen Y

 

#1

Creative

57%

 

#1

Lazy

45%

#2

Open-minded

54%

 

#2

Open-minded

41%

#3

New perspectives/ideas

52%

 

#3

Creative

38%

#4

Intelligent

44%

 

#4

Self-centered

37%

#5

a. Cutting-edge thinking

b. lazy

41%

 

#5

Lack of focus, easily distracted

35%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Stereotypes of Gen Y

As reported by Gen Z

 

 

 

As reported by Gen Y

 

#1

Open-minded

56%

 

#1

a. Creative

b. Open-minded

50%

#2

New perspectives/ideas

55%

 

#2

a. New perspectives/ideas

b. Intelligent

46%

#3

Creative

54%

 

#3

Cutting-edge thinking

38%

#4

Intelligent

53%

 

#4

Entrepreneurial

29%

#5

Cutting-edge thinking

40%

 

#5

Responsible

27%

In addition, when reporting on their own peer group, one-third of Gen Z (37%) feels they lack focus and 32% say they are self-centered.

About the Survey

Research findings are based on a survey fielded in the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom between April 9 and April 24, 2014. For this survey, 1,005 respondents aged 16–20 (Gen Z) were asked about their thoughts on their future employment and workplace environment, while 1,016 respondents aged 21–32 (Gen Y) were asked about their thoughts on their current employment and workplace environment. For each country, at least 200 respondents were surveyed with a minimum of 100 within each age group. The survey was completed through GMI’s Global Test Market double opted-in panelists who have registered to participate in online surveys. All sample surveys may be subject to multiple sources of error (i.e., sampling error, coverage error, measurement error, etc.).

About Millennial Branding

Millennial Branding is a Gen Y research and management consulting firm based in Boston, Mass. Millennial Branding helps companies understand the emerging Gen Y employee by providing research, training, and advisory services. As representatives of Gen Y and advisers to management, our goal is to provide research and insights that will make you more profitable, grow your market share, help you understand your Gen Y employees, and turn you into an industry leader. As ambassadors to Gen Y, we want to give our generation a voice, support their careers, and connect them with brands that understand their needs.

About Randstad US

Randstad US is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a $22.0 billion global provider of HR services. As the third largest staffing organization in the U.S., Randstad holds top positions in permanent placement, office and administrative, IT and accounting and finance. From professional services, commercial staffing and recruitment process outsourcing to managed services and more, Randstad delivers a comprehensive range of temporary, temporary-to-hire, permanent placement and outsourced placement services. With its 5,324 employment experts, Randstad puts an average of approximately 100,000 people to work in the U.S. each week through its network of nearly 1,000 branches and client-dedicated locations.

Learn more at www.randstadusa.com and access Randstad’s panoramic U.S. thought leadership knowledge center through its Workforce360 site that offers valuable insight into the latest economic indicators and HR trends shaping the world of work.

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