When Gen Z met Millennials — a modern meeting of the minds
OK, I do a lot of talking for Gen Z.
Writing for DigitalGrads, that’s my job.
But there’s an elephant in the room. One that’s creeping further from the pit with every gig and would swap their Netflix subscription for a Blockbuster card in a heartbeat.
I’m a millennial.
Hear me out, though. I’ve always thought this demographic of mine was kind of on the same wavelength. The zoomers I know seem to share similar values and beliefs, anyway. Even when various sources have tried to persuade me otherwise.
I mean, there’s not that much mileage between us — is there?
But maybe I’m caught in a bubble. Or even worse still, have been over-generalising things. Because the world’s clearly changed a lot in a short space of time — and we’re all shaped by our experiences.
That’s why in the lead-up to International Youth Day — an event laser-focused on creating intergenerational solidarity — we’re shining a spotlight on the things your prospective employees really care about.
To keep things as balanced as possible, we spoke to six millennials (aged between 26–36) and six Gen Zers (aged 20–23).
So, from work-life balance and flexibility to whether the modern employer should be doing more for the environment, here’s what matters to Gen Z and millennial workers
But first things first, let’s set the scene…
Millennials on how the job market’s changed since they graduated
“Now it feels like the employers wanting fully on-site staff in my industry (tech/marketing) are missing a trick. It felt empowering to be able to go into the job hunting process with such specific personal requirements and for multiple (very good) opportunities to be available.” — Gemma, 32
“In my personal experience, I’ve found recruitment firms have generally become worse for many reasons. I expect because they have so much pressure to fill roles and make money, they don’t take time to give good feedback, often have poor communication skills and even go as far as placing people in jobs that are not appropriate.
On the other side, internal recruitment from large organisations has become a lot more involved with certain employers asking for up to 10 separate interviews with candidates. Some of the internal recruiters are not able to provide feedback by company policy.
Overall, the jobs are there but recruitment has become a nightmare.” — Steven, 36
“I graduated in 2017 and in that time I haven’t seen that many major changes, as many of the problems (entry-level jobs requiring 3 years of experience and a master’s degree, poor pay for anything under middle management, employers expecting you to do work for free for them as part of the application process) have remained the same. I think something that’s gotten worse is the pay — if only because companies have failed to adjust their pay to inflation and the cost of living crisis, keeping wages the same as they did 5 years ago. The only other significant change is that more remote jobs have become available since the pandemic, and employers seem to be more willing to be flexible with the number of days spent in the office.” — Maeve, 26
“As I work in the sustainability field I have seen an increasing number of roles in this area, which is very encouraging. I believe that for specialised roles, companies are finding it harder to pin down top candidates, who often have multiple offers.” — Molly, 29
And how their priorities changed since entering the workforce…
“Having had a taste of the fully remote working life during 2020/21, it’s made me realise that work-life balance is really important. Working 5 days every week in the office just seems mad to me now. I tend to look at opportunities through a different lens nowadays. I’m looking at the long-term and how that fits into my life plan.” — Gemma, 32
“Yes, I am more interested in working in roles I’m passionate about. I am a lot more ambitious now and take on a lot more responsibility than when I first entered the workforce in my early twenties. Then I didn’t really care what job I was doing as long as it paid the rent.” — Lydia, 37
“I’ve done the 16-hour days and I’ve done the non-stop days in a row and I’ll continue to do them when needed but it has always been in the pursuit of making the customers happy and enjoying my free time. Lockdown showed me more than ever how much I enjoy my free time and while I work hard, I am looking to change how I work/where I work so that I can have more freedom to pursue the life I want outside of work.” — Steven, 36
“It took a good chunk of my working life to actually find out what I enjoyed doing and was good at. Now that I have a better understanding of that, I’m able to be a bit more focused on how I’d like my career to develop.” — Barney, 31
“When I first started working I felt pressure to overwork and didn’t know how to resist it without jeopardising my career. Additionally, when I first entered the workforce I was a desperate graduate willing to take whatever was offered to me, but now I have some experience, I look at things like benefits (including pension, holiday, TOIL, hours and pay) and also consider the work culture and ‘vibe’ of the people interviewing. I’m much less willing to put up with bad managers or egotistical CEOs.” — Maeve, 26
“Yes! When I started work I was very driven by the perceived status of various jobs and companies and wanted to get senior roles fast. I now feel I’ve got to a really good level and am prioritising work-life balance. I previously didn’t think much about salary, feeling it was secondary to how much I enjoyed the role, but I now recognise that I should be fairly compensated for my expertise and prioritise asking about salaries early on in application processes.” — Molly, 29
So what do they look for most in their employers?
“I want an employer to be flexible, fair and understanding of their employees’ individual circumstances. I think it’s important to be employed by a company that can see my worth and that helps me progress in my career. For example, through role progression or expansion.” — Lydia, 37
“They want to grow their team members with a training budget, etc. They reward their staff, not just with words or vouchers, but by paying decent wages and reviewing this regularly based on performance. They should also trust their team to get the work done rather than micro-managing and giving no flexibility. Finally, a good holiday allowance/unlimited holiday and bonuses.” — Gemma, 32
“I want an employer who will trust that I can do a job without having them down my neck. I want them to support me if I screw up because everyone makes mistakes and at the end of the day we are a team. I want an employer who understands that my life does not revolve around my work and that I need time off to live my life.” — Steven, 36
“People and product. People because I want to work in a positive, creative, successful workplace. These are people you spend a good chunk of life with and they can make or break whether you’re enjoying your role. Product because I want to really believe in whatever it is I’m marketing. I’ve had jobs marketing less-than-exciting stuff and that can be a struggle. It sounds obvious, but marketing something which I genuinely think is cool makes my job far easier and more rewarding!” — Barney, 31
“Respect for their staff in the form of fair pay and benefits. I’m not interested in working for someone that gives us a table-tennis table and throws us a pizza party every quarter in order to seem ‘cool’ and ‘friendly’ but fails to give us decent wages (that increase with inflation/cost of living) or benefits. I also look for an employer that values diversity and equality — if white male coworkers are being paid significantly more than non-white and/or female coworkers I obviously don’t want to work there. Gross. I look for integrity in my employers. ” — Maeve, 26
“Skilled and ethical management, pragmatism when it comes to what’s possible each day, work-life balance, distributed decision making.” — Molly, 29
“That he be handsome, kind, and can take it easy on the worst of days. That employer is also me as I’m freelance.” — Luke, 31
…and introducing the next generation. What is Gen Z looking for?
“Kindness, being open to change and adaptability.” — Evie, 21
“Being understanding, helpful, appreciative and money.” — Romain, 20
“Understanding, organisational skills, strong leadership but also compassion and kindness towards their employees.” — Marcin, 20
“Passion, an open mind and good leadership.” — Lilly, 20
“Shared values and work ethic.” — Oscar, 21
Being professional but approachable. — Eva, 23
OK, what are the employee benefits you value the most?
“A flexible structure.” — Evie, 21
“A lunch card and free parking.” — Romain, 20
“Healthcare, interesting work environment, discounts and social events.” — Marcin, 20
“Training! And mental health-related things eg. a meditation app.” — Lilly, 20
“Paid time off.” — Oscar, 20
“Paid overtime or time off in lieu and 1.5 x pay at weekends. Free or discounted parking or transport to and from work. Training courses for transferable skills.” — Eva, 23
“Unlimited holiday, bonuses, team nights/social events, flexi-time and the opportunity to travel.” — Gemma, 32
“Sick pay, maternity pay, flexible hours.” — Lydia, 37
“Holiday time. At the moment I have 30 days. I’m not likely to take them because I’m so busy but I like that they want me to have time off and enjoy my life. I’d also like to have healthcare and dental covered and assistance paying for my electricity and wifi at home when I’m working remotely. Even as a gesture, it doesn’t have to cover it all.” — Steven, 36
“Pay transparency and equity, flexible working and generous holiday allowances.” — Barney, 31
“Good pay, a 4-day work week (at no salary loss), flexibility in terms of hours and location, lots of holiday time.” — Maeve, 26
“More holiday (or an option to buy it), more sabbatical options.” — Molly, 29
What do you think an employer’s top three priorities should be?
“The wellness of their team, inclusion and adaptability.” — Evie, 21
“Employees, clients and the community.” — Romain, 20
“Employee mental health, staying up to date with the industry and a willingness to change and adapt.” — Lilly, 20
“Providing support, maintaining a good work environment and taking responsibility.” — Oscar, 21
“Professionalism, employee safety and satisfaction, getting the job done.” — Eva, 23
“Giving their team the resources, time & materials they need to do their job effectively. Paying their team fairly and rewarding them for hard work. Look after your people because without them you wouldn’t have your company! This could be through flexibility, recognising overburn/amount of work each team member has and avoiding taking advantage of individuals.” — Gemma, 32
“Equality for all employees, providing career progression opportunities and making sure employees are equipped and trained so they can work effectively and confidently.” — Lydia, 37
“Empowering staff to express and achieve their desired workplace environment — this can only be done by actively encouraging and supporting them to unionise Ensuring staff are equally, fairly and generously compensated both in terms of pay and benefits. Reducing workloads to a minimum while ensuring the business is still able to be successful and staff are able to be retained — no unnecessary stress!” — Maeve, 26
“Staff, sustainability, and DEI.” — Molly, 29
“Pay, work from home, and incentives. It’s an employee world now. If you don’t think about those 3 things, your pool of talent will be more of a puddle.” — Luke, 31
So how important it is that your employer’s values align with your own?
“Very. I want my employer to understand my own capability.” — Evie, 21
“People are different and our values might be different but the employer should respect what I want to say.” — Romain, 20
“As long as they’re not homophobic or racist, their personal values and beliefs do not bother me in the slightest. I can get along with people who have different opinions or views.” — Marcin, 20
“Very — I like to agree with what I’m representing.” — Lilly, 20
“Very important. I wouldn’t want to work for a company with different work and social values to my own.” — Oscar, 21
“Professionally it is very important. Personally, far less.” — Eva, 23
“This is really important to me. I want to know that I am a cultural fit when applying for roles and I feel like, within that umbrella term, it’s not just a personality fit, but also if the company is aligned with my moral compass and political views.” — Gemma, 32
“Yes, this is absolutely very important. I want my employer to understand my values and I couldn’t work for someone who has values I don’t believe in.” — Lydia, 37
“In IT, the customer and their safety are key. If I find myself in front of a prospective employer who thinks otherwise, then it’s safe to say I wouldn’t take that job. Unless they’re offering silly money.” — Steven, 36
“Very important. I would rather drive a pencil through my eye than work for an oil or arms company, for example. Also — being a member of the LGBT community — diversity, inclusion and respect are vital to me at work. I don’t want to be in a place where anyone (and I’m talking about anyone regardless of demographic) is made to feel like they have to hide or downplay who they are, or that their experiences and viewpoints aren’t valid.” — Barney, 31
“Extremely. I have left two previous roles because I felt management was making unethical decisions. One was related to management style, the other because of DEI.” — Molly, 29
“Very important, but it’s equally important that their values aren’t superficial. Releasing a statement about how much you support diversity and equality don’t mean anything if all the high-paid senior management in your staff are white/middle class/men — employers stated value must align with their actions.” — Maeve, 26
And is it important that the brand you’re working for stands for something?
“Extremely. A brand should have values that the staff can stand by.” — Evie, 21
“Not really important at the moment.” — Romain, 20
“Brands are supposed to be making products, not standing for something. Brands bastardising social causes is the bane of pride month, and that’s just one example.” — Marcin, 20
“Very — I am a person of ideals and I believe that no organisation can be successful without a clearly stated purpose.” — Lilly, 20
“It depends on what the brand is. In many cases, yes. But not necessarily always.” — Oscar, 21
“5 or 6/10. Ultimately, I need to be earning money. But if the brand stands for something good that’s even better.” — Eva, 23
“It really depends. I work for NGOs, so obviously it’s important we have a cause we stand for. However, if I worked in the private sector I would be much more sceptical about our brand standing for something because more often than not it’s a cynical marketing ploy to make them loads of money.” — Maeve, 26
“From an employee perspective, very. I want to be proud to work for my company.” — Molly, 29
“Not too important, but I get why values would need to align for employee morale. It does limit the pool of applicants, but for the time invested, you’d end up with a mindset that works for the business.” — Luke, 31
How important is it that employers are serious about sustainability and climate change?
“I think that all companies should have awareness of what’s going on in the world — but I don’t feel it’s a necessity.” — Evie, 21
“Quite important but it can’t be greenwashing.” — Romain, 20
“Sustainable policies should be a societal norm and a requirement by law.” — Marcin, 20
“At this point, very. After all, it’s mostly the big businesses that are responsible for the problem. And so the smaller ones should also start focusing more on how they affect the climate.” — Lilly, 20
“Very important.” — Oscar, 21
“I would be very worried if sustainability and climate change were not considered by my employer.” — Eva, 23
“Fairly important, not essential.” — Lydia, 37
“Very. This is our Earth, and the statistics don’t lie. Neither does the weather. If we’re all not making small collective efforts, we’re f****d. But nothing major is going to change without the super corporations pitching in.” — Luke, 31
“My first non-retail job after I graduated was at a climate charity that was more of an exercise in greenwashing — these days I look more closely at the actions and consequences of the organisations I apply for.” — Maeve, 26
Should employers take some responsibility for their employees’ mental health?
“YES YES YES!! more awareness of struggles and leeway with staff in helping them support themselves.” — Evie, 21
“Yes. Supervisors should ask about the workload and not apply too much pressure.” — Romain, 20
“Yes, and especially one that genuinely supports them through mental health issues — rather than just giving them minor benefits to boost morale.” — Marcin, 20
“Yes! It is really important for me, especially wheN I know that I had problems with my mental health in the past. I like the idea of ‘mental health holidays’ — like additional days that you can have off when you’re not feeling okay mentally.” — Lilly, 20
“Yes. To prevent any negative feelings in the workspace to start with, the company should ensure that the senior management is respectful and reliable. If problems do arise, companies should offer paid time off.” — Oscar, 21
“Paid sick leave, including mental health. Not expecting (free) over time. Not expecting me to answer emails out of hours.” — Eva, 23
“Yes. They should have regular meetings with each employee and ensure employees have someone that they feel confident to ask for help and support. There should also be opportunities to access therapy and health care and regular team building days to help ensure people feel connected — especially if employees work at varying times and from different locations.” — Lydia, 37
“Yes. I don’t believe mental illness has ever changed, it’s just become more visible. If I’m going to spend 8–10 hours a day at a place of work, they better be thinking of me. Otherwise, I can do the work, and take care of myself, better at home.” — Luke, 31
How do you feel about remote working?
“I enjoy having my own space and working with my own structure. However, I do find it quite isolating and lonely.” — Evie, 21
“I prefer working from the office than remotely, but sometimes a day of remote working feels nice.” — Romain, 20
“It’s the best thing since the invention of fire.” — Marcin, 20
“I love it! It gives me so much flexibility which is really important to me.” — Lilly, 20
“It can be convenient for some individuals but is far more difficult for collaborative work. Remote working lacks the social element of the work environment — which is also important. And it also makes cohesive working and sharing responsibility difficult.” — Oscar, 21
“It’s good to have the option.” — Eva, 23
“I really like working from home. My preference is a hybrid model, ideally with flexibility on what days I choose to go into the office. I feel there is a real benefit to me having the WFH option. It helps with work-life balance as I can run errands during my lunch, take my dog for a walk and be at home to enjoy my evening from 5:30 pm. Working full-time remote did start to impact my mental health at times. Being a sociable and chatty person, I really missed those in-person interactions. That’s why hybrid is my preference as it really makes me appreciate both work settings. Now that I live slightly outside of Brighton, I love that on my in-office days I can really enjoy the city.” — Gemma, 32
“I’m way more productive and focused at home. Generally, remote working gives employees more freedom. They’re not tied to cities (or countries!) they don’t want to be in and helps establish a better work/life balance — especially when remote working is paired with flexible working. It can also help reduce emissions and the energy required to keep big offices running — and gives cities a chance to rethink how urban space is used (instead of building just another office block eyesore).” — Barney, 31
“For me, remote working is a blessing. If I’m working from home, I haven’t had an awful commute that put me in a bad mood for the day. When I put the kettle on, I can put the dishwasher or the washing machine on. I get to spend a little more time with my family. I like the idea of sometimes popping into the office to see colleagues and have some face-to-face time but at the end of the day, there is no expectation to have to be there.” — Steven, 36
“Remote working gives me large chunks of my life back. It allows me to spend less time commuting and more time with my family and friends. On a wider scale, remote working is better for equality in many ways. It allows disabled people who may not have been suited to a 9–5 office environment to work and be hired more frequently. It also allows people to live in other places — decentralising wealth from London. Hopefully, that allows the more historically impoverished areas and cities to benefit as more people are able to stay while earning decent wages.” — Maeve, 26
“I like to have the option to work remotely but I find my days in the office more motivating. I feel happier after a day out of the house rather than stuck in my spare room. I think the idea of working in cafes or whatever is nice but fairly impractical if you are trying to wrangle complex problems, important calls and large datasets.” — Molly, 29
“I love it. Not because I get to lay in bed all day, but because I’m more focussed on the energy I have for the day and expending it. It allows proper resource allocation. Plus, I don’t think anybody likes the commute.” — Luke, 31
But do you ever get out-of-office FOMO?
“Yes. I feel as though I am losing the social side of being with people every day.” — Evie, 21
“When I’m not in the office I lack interaction with people and good coffee.” — Romain, 20
“No, most things going on in the office can be handled by email. You don’t need to be face to face to build a good rapport with coworkers.” — Marcin, 20
“Maybe a bit of interaction with other people but at the same time it’s nice that I don’t have to commute anywhere.” — Lilly, 20
“Yes, being in an office increases motivation and also makes collaborating with the people you work with (asking for advice, collaborating etc.) far easier. It’s also nice to keep work away from the home environment.” — Oscar, 21
“Sometimes being in the office gets tasks done quicker, especially where multiple people need to be involved. Being in the office creates more of a sense of teamwork. It is good to have a face to the name. It is good to get out of the house sometimes, even if it is for work.” — Eva, 23
“I miss after-work drinks (especially impromptu gatherings), team lunches and support from team members when dealing with high workload/tricky situations. Also building stronger work relationships. Via Zoom, I felt like my relationships were just surface level, whereas in the office the chat throughout the day gives you a deeper understanding of people and better friendships — which can lead to regularly meeting friends after work.” — Gemma, 32
“Missing community spirit and the sense of being part of a team.” — Lydia, 37
“It depends on the company. If your company is fully remote, then everyone’s in the same boat and they’ll most likely have found ways to bring people together remotely. But if you’re working for a company with an office, then you probably will miss out on some stuff if your colleagues use it regularly. I like to go into our office at least once a week to see everybody and have a chat — it makes me feel like less of a hermit!” — Barney, 31
“Sometimes I miss the social interaction and having somewhere to work outside of my own home. However, I don’t think a return to the office is a good solution to this. I think employers providing a stipend for people to hire out co-working spaces should they want to is a much better solution.” — Maeve, 26
“Yes. I miss the sense of community and the accidental and casual meet-ups. It’s harder to get time with senior people when you have to set up a special google meet rather than just popping over when you can see they’re free.” — Molly, 29
“Only the forming of relationships for networking. Other than that, free fruit and coffee?” — Luke, 31
Millennials and Gen Z on fixed (9 to 5) vs. flexible working
“Post-pandemic flexibility has become a LOT more important to me. I refuse to work anywhere that forces me in more than 2 days a week, as I have seen how much time, energy and money I save by not commuting regularly, and have learned that most desk jobs can be done equally well from home.” — Maeve, 26
“I very much enjoy flexible working, but with a vague routine.” — Lydia, 37
“Flexible. I decide if I want to work when I wake up. 8 out of 10 times, I decide to work, and I bash out 4–5 hours of constant writing. If I’m forced to work on a fixed schedule, just because it says those are the hours, doesn’t mean you’re getting the best of what I provide.” — Luke, 31
“Flexible.” — Evie, 21 and Marcin, 20.
“Fixed but flexible starting hours.” — Romain, 20
“Always flexible. I can’t stay focused and be productive for 8 hours non-stop, I also have my favourite working hours and I’m often most creative at night.” — Lilly, 20
“Fixed. It makes it easier to plan things outside of work.” — Oscar, 21
“Depends on the job. You can’t work whenever you want if you’re a teacher, waitress, painter-decorator, etc.” — Eva, 23
Would you like to take on multiple roles and responsibilities at work?
“Yes. I like variety and a challenge.” — Evie, 21
“Yes.” — Romain, 20 and Oscar 21
“As long as it means increased benefits or pay.” — Marcin, 20
“Yes! I like multitasking and have lots of interests, so I would love to use my knowledge whenever I can.” — Lilly, 20
“If I’m getting paid accordingly, yes.” — Eva, 23
“Having done it in previous employment, this would only work if it’s clearly defined and is recognised through your salary.” — Gemma, 32
“Already there. Working for a small company makes it a given.” — Steven, 36
“Only if I’m getting paid for doing multiple roles and undertaking multiple responsibilities.” — Maeve, 26
“Variety is good, but only if you are properly recognised for your additional work. Sometimes it’s important to know when to say ‘no’.” — Molly, 29
“No. Sign me up for what’s on the contract. If I have to take on more things than that, the workplace is managed terribly. Simple as.” — Luke, 31
So how important is work-life balance in this stage of your career?
“It’s extremely important but is also something that I’m working on myself.” — Evie, 21
“I would say very important, but I sometimes struggle not to get overwhelmed by work.” — Romain, 20
“Balance is always crucial. I just really want to focus on making great strides in my career now.” — Marcin, 20
“Very important. I struggle with it sometimes and I’m still learning how to separate work from life. I don’t want to think about work all the time — I want to live my life too.” — Lilly 20
“Very important.” — Oscar, 21 and Eva, 23
“It’s very important to me. Having had a couple of years of WFH with my family, I have little interest in spending evenings at the office or working on my weekends. Occasionally, for a big important deadline, is fine. But having this as the norm just isn’t something that sits well with me now. It sounds cliche but life feels too short and I will never earn enough to warrant that level of work-life imbalance.” — Gemma, 32
“Very important. My career is extremely important to me, but I also have a busy social life and home life, so it is vital that I can balance everything and that work doesn’t take over.” — Lydia, 37
“Very important. I need time to focus on other things and not think about work. Nobody should be defined by their job and it’s healthy to have things happening outside of work. I’ve always found that helps me stay motivated and creative when I’m actually working.” — Barney, 31
“Extremely important. I am now confident enough in myself and my ability to do my job well to demand a healthy balance. I literally only go to work to make money to do the things I want to do and spend it on the things and people I care about. Having a poor work/life balance would completely defeat the point.” — Maeve, 26
“Extremely. I am fairly strict about logging off at 5 pm, and I would like to work part-time as soon as I can afford it. I love my work, but I want it to be part of a bigger whole.” — Molly, 29
“Incredibly significant. An uncle of mine worked all of his life and just before he hit retirement, cancer. I’m pledging myself to work fewer hours for more pay. I ain’t looking to kill myself for an extra zero in my bank account.” — Luke, 31
What do you reckon is the most effective way to learn when training?
“Watching videos and chatting them through with colleagues.” — Evie, 21
“Actual training from others.” — Romain, 20
“Practice.” — Marcin, 20
“To first observe and then try it myself. I need to do something with my own hands to understand it.” — Lilly, 20
“It depends what the training is.” — Oscar, 21
“Demonstration followed by a supervised recall.” — Eva, 23
“Learning on the job is best for me. Watching training videos can be very hit-and-miss. A lot of the time I find it hard to retain the information and difficult to apply it to real-life situations.[Problem-solving, doing my own research, talking to team members and peer-to-peer sessions really help me!” — Gemma, 32
“Face-to-face group training with lots of practical activities and discussion. I don’t think online training is effective at all.” — Lydia, 37
“I learn better from other people doing hands-on work. I like one on one time, so I can ask questions without feeling stupid.” — Steven, 36
“It depends on the person. I’m a doer — I’m really bad at retaining the information I’ve heard, slightly better with the information I’ve read… but best at remembering if I get to actually do the thing I’m trying to learn.” — Barney, 31
“I like to be given time to digest things myself. I find it helpful to be talked through the process once, and then left alone to figure it out myself, with someone available to help if I get very stuck.” — Maeve, 26
“In-person time to motivate, energise and answer questions; alone/remote time to process information. Please, no more solo virtual learning courses!” — Molly, 29
Do you consider yourself creative and is it important to feel creatively fulfilled at work?
“Yes, very. I find that it’s the easiest way to learn and develop ideas.” — Evie, 21
“Yes, it is quite important but I don’t always have to work creatively.” — Romain, 20
“I am extremely creative, but I don’t feel the need to be creatively fulfilled at work at all. I can find a more creative position if I want.” — Marcin, 20
“I do! It is really important because, otherwise, I feel like I’m stuck.” — Lilly, 20
“Yes and very important.” — Oscar, 21
“No, and not very important.” — Eva, 23
“I do consider myself a creative person, I think everyone is! I do like to have elements of creativity in my work. There have been times where the few projects I’ve been working on have been less creative and more on the tech/data side and it does make me realise how much I need to feel creatively fulfilled.” — Gemma, 32
“I am very creative and it is exceedingly important for me to feel creatively fulfilled at work.” — Lydia, 37
“Elements of my role require a certain amount of creativity when trying to diagnose peculiar issues but feeling creative in my work is not key; it’s a perk due to the logical nature of the role. Most of my creative outlets are done outside of work.” — Steven, 36
“For sure! Being creative is an important part of marketing. Coming up with an idea, making it happen and then seeing the (hopefully positive) results of it — it’s one of the most satisfying feelings to be had at work, in my opinion!” — Barney, 31
“I think that everyone is creative. Creative fulfilment is something I look for in my job to a degree because I don’t enjoy doing monotonous tasks or not having the freedom to think/experiment, however, unless you’re literally getting paid to do a creative passion (like artist/musician etc) I think the idea you can be creatively fulfilled at work is a myth to make us accept worse working conditions and benefits under the guise of: “Oh but look how creative this job is. If I’m not allowed to do what I want, am having to follow client/manager briefs, or my creative labour is earning my boss millions while the rest of us sit around tightly budgeting then I don’t consider it particularly fulfilling.” — Maeve, 26
“Sort of — in a business sense. I consider myself to think creatively about how to engage stakeholders. I would be frustrated if I didn’t have the autonomy to think outside the box. Creative fulfilment in the sense of artistic creation isn’t a concern of mine.” — Molly, 29
Do you consider yourself ‘tech-savvy’? And what emerging tech should be more commonplace in work?
“Yes and no. Because technology could endanger my position but could also reduce the workload.” — Romain, 20
“I consider myself very technologically literate. I’d love to see newer, better solutions being used more often (when applicable).” — Marcin, 20
“I think I am tech savvy and tbh I would like to see anything that would make my work more effective or fascinating eg. NFTs or AR.” — Lilly, 20
“Yes. And I wouldn’t mind if tech becomes more common.” — Oscar, 21
“Not very tech-savvy. But it would be good to have the training and option at work.” — Eva, 23
“I am not very tech-savvy.” — Lydia, 37
“I think I’m pretty tech-savvy. I’m not sure I’d like to see emerging tech be more commonplace though — that depends on what technology we’re talking about and whether it’s genuinely helpful. Rushing to use a shiny new tool can sometimes lead to more trouble than it’s worth.” — Barney, 31
“I consider myself an average amount of tech-savvy. In an ideal world, I would like to see full automation of most jobs, coupled with a universal basic income implemented by the government to ensure socialist abundance for all. If that isn’t a possibility then I don’t have many strong feelings about tech in the workplace, other than that everything should be run on clean, renewable energy.” — Maeve, 26
“No, I am not tech-savvy. I would like better IT support if anything 😊” — Molly, 29
“I do. And no, not particularly.” — Luke, 31
Do you think Gen Z and millennials share similar values and beliefs?
“Somewhat. But I feel each person has different values and beliefs.” — Evie, 21
“Definitely not.” — Romain, 20
“To a certain extent.” — Marcin, 20
“Depends on a person but I feel like my gen is way more open-minded and rebellious. We can see things that are wrong and we want to change them — instead of just agreeing with them (as I feel millennials sometimes do).” — Lilly, 20
Somewhat, from a stereotypical perspective. But many millennials do not think the same.” — Oscar, 21
“I feel I do share similar values. I think the younger generations (on the whole) can see that the way things are running at the moment just isn’t working and will not work if we continue in this way. Environmentally, politically, etc, something needs to change drastically and that needs to happen very soon. Also the hours in the working day, the number of days in the working week and just generally what we consider the norm in the workplace just doesn’t seem right to a lot of millennials and Gen-Z.” — Gemma, 32
“I’m not sure.” — Lydia, 37
“I share many similar values and beliefs In the workplace.” — Steven, 36
“I have zero patience for the old “kids these days! 😤” schtick. I have immense admiration and respect for younger adults right now. They’re growing up in a very uncertain world and their economic prospects aren’t fantastic. The same can also be said for millennials to be honest, although to a lesser extent. Not to generalise an entire generation, but I really admire Gen Z’s creativity, freedom of self-expression, resilience and willingness to question established orders. I feel I share the same values and beliefs with them — we’re both children of similar times.” — Barney, 31
“Yes, I hope so.” — Maeve, 26
“Yes, sometimes I feel a little younger than my peers and like I have more in common with Gen Z. I like to stand up for what’s right, and for my right to work-life balance and good mental health.” — Molly, 29
“Yes. Here’s the comparison. Millennials were sold a lie. Work hard at school, get a degree, and the rest will come. Gen Z wasn’t even sold the lie.” — Luke, 31
Finally, what does the future of work look like?
“It will be interesting to see the shift in workplace culture and the ways we work over the coming years with Boomers/Gen X slowly coming out of the workforce and going into retirement. I think once millennials/Gen Z are given the opportunity to be the majority in the more senior roles, there could be a dramatic shift in the way companies are run. A lot of processes and the ways that companies are managed seem outdated and injecting some Millennial/Gen-Z energy into that could be great.” — Gemma, 32
“I think that companies are going to need to be more flexible, enabling people to work hours that fit in with childcare whilst allowing people to work remotely if they need to.” — Lydia, 37
Remote working with an emphasis on collaborative projects. I also herald the 4-day working week projects that have been happening and truly believe that people are more productive in 4 days than they are 5.” — Steven, 36
“Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s such a cliche to talk about AI in the context of the future of work, but we’ll for sure see more and more clever automation. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the creative tasks, which we’ve often thought of as only humans being able to complete, get taken over by computers to some extent — just look at DALL-E.
But I do also feel positive about it. Attitudes to work have shifted substantially in the past few years, and that’s good in my opinion. Remote working, which seemed pretty left-field 5 or so years ago, is now pretty commonplace. I’m hopeful that change continues.” — Barney, 31
“I have high hopes for degrowth — which means that I hope the future of work looks like significantly reduced hours (the 4-day work week is coming!) and more leisure time, green jobs and no more jobs that create needless waste and consumption.” — Maeve, 26
“Flexible and project-based — more ability to dip in and out of roles, projects and companies. And a four-day week! We all want it, and companies who go there will get to hire the best people.” — Molly, 29
“Leaning more towards hybrid as the norm. With work from home, you can actually work for a company in a different country without leaving your office. Talent has never been more accessible.” — Luke, 31
“I think a lot will be virtual because of covid.” — Evie, 21
“More automation and finally shorter working hours.” — Romain, 20
“For office jobs: more remote, more automation and more intellectually demanding.” — Marcin, 21
“It depends on the field. Many areas of will rely heavily on technology. Others may not change too much. Work may also be heavily controlled by the government.” — Oscar, 21
“It’s full of technology and it is based on good leadership.” — Lilly, 20
“Depends on the job. The future of working in Mcdonald’s probably looks different to working in R&D in astrophysics.” — Eva, 23
Fair point. But whatever type of employer you are, it’s safe to say that listening to the wants and needs of your staff is the only way to get the best out of them. And that’s however old they are. Because that need to be seen and heard? Well, that’s the one thing we’ve all got in common.
Originally published at https://employers.digitalgrads.com on August 10, 2022.