With the first wave of Gen Z college grads poised to enter the workforce, managers across all industries have begun to focus their attention on this newest generation of recruits. And there’s good reason for that.
This generation, consisting of those born after 1995, makes up a massive 25.9 percent of the population, with nearly 72.8 million individuals counted among its ranks. By 2020, Gen Z will comprise nearly one-third of the U.S. population, according to some estimates.
So who is Gen Z? What are their beliefs and values about work and the world? How will they reshape the way we do our jobs? And, for accounting firm leaders in particular, what do we need to offer as employers to draw top Gen Z talent to our doors?
EY (formerly Ernst & Young) recently gained insight into some of the key employment priorities of Gen Z when it surveyed more than 1600 Gen Z interns from 29 countries at its 21st annual International Intern Leadership Conference (IILC). The survey, conducted this summer, was designed to gauge Gen Z sentiment around the future of work as they enter the workforce.
Gen Z, they found, is optimistic about their future as they begin to enter the workforce. In fact, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of EY Gen Z interns surveyed by the firm feel confident they will be better off, both financially and in happiness at work, than their parents- a key demarcation from their Millennial predecessors.
The growing feeling that employers today are more in tune with employee needs is a factor contributing to this optimistic outlook, alongside the prevalence of new technologies such as automation, robotics, and AI. Gen Z-ers feel that these technologies will allow employees to focus more on adding value to their work and increasing productivity.
Key findings from the survey regarding Gen Z’s employment preferences and priorities include: