Gen Z: What Keeps Them on the Job?

  • workforce insights
  • November 20, 2014
In a recent study of both Gen Z and Gen Y workplace preferences, Randstad and our research partner Millennial Branding found some interesting results that can impact employers’ retention strategies. As companies embrace the newest addition to their payrolls—Gen Z—they will benefit from knowing what motivates each generation so they can best retain these distinct groups.

multiple employers over a lifetime

Our study reveals that both Gen Z and Gen Y anticipate working for a number of different companies, with a majority of respondents indicating they’ll work for at least three, if not four employers during their lifetime. By knowing that many Gen Z’s and Gen Y’s plan to work for multiple organizations, employers are wise to start considering each group’s biggest motivators for employment loyalty.

what keeps them on the job?

  • One-third of Gen Z’s, which for our study includes individuals ages 16–20, suggest that the opportunity for advancement is their number-one motivational factor for working hard and remaining with their employer. 
  • Next in line for Gen Z's is the opportunity to make more money and have meaningful work. Employers should understand their top talent may join the workforce with their eyes constantly open for bigger and better opportunities. This generation might also accept positions for which they are overqualified and use those jobs as stepping-stones to achieve opportunities for advancement. 
  • On the other hand, a majority of Gen Y's (ages 21–32), indicate that the opportunity to earn more money will make them less likely to look for another job. Behind that is the opportunity for advancement, and next is having meaningful work. 

IT at work

Technology is very important to both generations who report relying heavily on IT tools for training, working cohesively as a team and answering questions. This preference may motivate employers to invest in new technology and help them understand the importance of providing employees with up-to-date software for their daily work.

giving back to the community

  • A majority of both generations suggest they care about their current or future employer giving back to the community, with 72% of Gen Z’s and 68% Gen Y’s saying corporate social responsibility is important or very important to them. 
  • Gen Z’s feel strongly that creating new jobs is the most impactful way to contribute locally (41% Gen Z vs. 22% Gen Y), and monetary donations rate as a secondary impact for Gen Z’s at 17%. 
  • Gen Y’s have a split opinion between monetary donations and rewarding employees for community service (both 20%).

building career success

Both generations feel the most beneficial way to build their career success is through hands-on learning gained from working on cross-functional projects. Mentorships are popular with both groups, especially Gen Z’s, while Gen Y’s favors online courses more than the younger group.

assessing stereotypes

One last thing for employers to note is how each generation views various stereotypes of their own peer group. Both generations describe themselves as being creative and able to bring new perspectives and ideas, which are perceptions that savvy employers can tap into to increase retention. Gen Y’s continue on a positive note, saying they are open-minded, while Gen Z’s self-reflect by noting their generation might be somewhat lazy, but also quite open minded.


By knowing how to retain each generation, savvy employers have the best chance to customize their retention strategies and more effectively position their organizations as an employer of choice.

To help your organization retain employees of Generation Y and Generation Z, we've created a tip sheet you can share with your teams. Download today.

learn more about Gen Y and Gen Z

tips & tricks
We've compiled a tips sheet to help your organization quickly recognize how to retain the best and brightest of Gen Y and Gen Z.

download our tips sheet >


By knowing what drives the upcoming workforce, organizations can shape their talent attraction strategies and be seen as an employer of choice..
how to attract Gen Y and Gen Z >

Find out how your company's culture and offerings can appeal to and drive the Gen Y and Gen Z work ethic.
how to engage your workforce >

managing Gen Y and Gen Z
Read about the first nationwide study on Gen Z in the workplace
view the results >

Learn how we conducted our survey. 
get the details here >

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