Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z was born after 1996/97. We are the first generation to grow up as digital natives, familiar with technology, social media and digital tools from a very young age. A lot of Gen Z-ers are now entering the workplace; and the world is trying to understand what Gen Z is looking for: what is important to us, what leads our choices, what the future of work for Gen Z looks like.

Our participants:

Gen Z-ers

years old

countries covered!

Let's begin

Entrepreneurship vs. corporate jobs. startups: Where do Gen Z-ers see themselves?

"Which of these career options is most appealing to you?"

Gen Z has often been called the most entrepreneurial generation to date, but it's interesting to see the extent to which young people would rather work for themselves or create something of their own, than work for someone else. The rise of online resouces, digital tools and communities is making entrepreneurship more accessible than ever before, and Gen Z is ready to embrace that.

What's behind that choice?

When asked about their career priorities, personal fulfillment and work-life balance are key for Gen Z. Job security? Not as much. We take this to mean that if a job forces our generation to let go of work-life balance, they won't mind switching to another one. Job security seems like an afterthought as when asked how confident they were about finding a job after school, 76.4% of Gen Zers were somewhat or very confident.

Gen Z has seen young entrepreneurs create their own opportunities, and people make a living through the internet in thousands of different ways. Job security is their last answer to this question probably because their confidence of getting a job in one way or another, is overall very high. Even if the job market is challenging, the majority of Gen Z respondents have faith in themselves to figure it out, while prioritizing themselves in the process.

Gen Z's ideal work environment: collaborative but flexible and remote.

When thinking of what their ideal work environment would be like, 39.7% of Gen Zers said "collaborative and team-oriented", with "flexible and adaptable" being a close second, beating options such as "autonomous" and "structured".

This pattern was also seen in other questions: For example, when asked about having the option to work remotely,  53.6% of Gen Zers said it is extremely important to them, while only 7.7% said it is not important at all. However, hybrid work took the lead over just remote among respondents. As Gen Z is coming to change the future of work like every generation before it, in its own ways, companies must consider that flexible ways of working are no longer an afterthought.

Choosing an employer: the value vibe-check

95.4% of Gen Zers said that they place "a lot" or "some" emphasis on a company's values and ethics when considering potential employers. We've been seeing a rise in green consumerism, ethical fashion, and more value-driven consumption habits among Gen Z - and the same goes for employers, for the wide majority of this generation.

The same goes for company culture; 68% of Gen Zers consider it an "extremely important" factor in choosing where to work, while only 2.1% consider it "not very important". That's a huge majority; and Gen Z's focus on work-life balance and lack of focus on job security shows that they don't want to compromise for companies that don't have a healthy culture.

The job search process: social media is vital

As expected, our generation's way of searching for jobs is largely digital. Less expected, though, is the focus on networking. Gen Z has seen the impact of having a strong network and is ready to build their own. Through social media, connecting with people they could potentially work with is easier than ever for Gen Z - and they're using it to access job opportunities.

Another key insight is that social media is absolutely essential for companies that are targeting Gen Z employees. Social media marketing ties into that, and even TikTok, as many brands that showcase their authentic, human side on the platform regularly see comments asking if they're hiring.

What jobs is Gen Z looking at?

Honestly, we didn't expect this one to have such a majority– but when we asked what industries Gen Zers are looking to pursue a career in, 46% said Tech. No other industry had such a majority, withMedia/ Communication/ Marketing answers coming up second (under "Other"). And that makes total sense. As the first generation of digital natives, tech is second nature for a big part of Gen Z.

But most of all, 99.5% of Gen Z respondents agreed that having a sense of purpose in their career is either extremely or somewhat important. That aligns with our generation's focus on personal fulfillment; a sense of purpose, work-life balance and flexibility are the best ways to ensure we don't feel burned out and tired of our career. What that sense of purpose will look like, we don't know yet; but the tech industry can watch out, because it seems like Gen Z is driven, full of purpose, and ready to enter the workplace in their own way.

So what?

Our generation is quickly entering the workplace; and everyone is trying to understand what changes they will bring.

We hope this research helped you understand us better. Every generation has its differences, but that doesn't have to cause misunderstandings or divides.

At the end of the day, Gen Z's motivations of personal fulfillment, growth, and a sense of purpose, aren't all that new– and powered with digital transformation that allows us to work more flexibly and in entirely new ways, we can make the way we work better for everyone, and more human.

Need some help connecting with Gen Z?

We're The Z Link, an international Gen Z-led social media agency that connects brands to Gen Z through social media strategies and content that work.

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