scorecardGen Z job hunters are more worried about a company's reputation than layoffs, survey says
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Gen Z job hunters are more worried about a company's reputation than layoffs, survey says

Aaron McDade   

Gen Z job hunters are more worried about a company's reputation than layoffs, survey says
Careers2 min read
  • A recent study from Adobe surveyed over 1,000 college students and recent graduates about the job market.
  • Nearly 80% of those surveyed said they are somewhat optimistic about the job market they are entering.

While new Generation Z job hunters are surrounded by ongoing layoffs and other economic uncertainties, many still feel pretty good as they start their careers — and aren't that worried about job security.

About 70% of just over 1,000 Gen Z college students and recent graduates surveyed said they worried about a recession, but 78% said they were still at least cautiously optimistic about the job market, according to a recent Future Workforce Study from Adobe.

The survey was conducted in December, before recent layoffs by tech and media companies like Google, Amazon, and others. Recent stories of employees learning about layoffs from sudden emails deemed emotionless or offering "toxic positivity" have revived common criticisms of large companies.

But layoffs still seem to be less of a concern to Gen Z, defined as those born in the late 90s onward. Nearly all of those surveyed said that rather, they seriously consider the reputation of a company.

Marti Willett, a human resources professional and president of Digital Marketing Recruiters, told Insider via email that Gen Z workers "do not shy away from instability as long as they can seek continued career growth and opportunity," and are prepared to leave a job for a better opportunity to further their careers.

Instead, working for a company with a cause and work-life balance are priorities for Gen Z applicants, she said.

Jade Walters, 23, recently left a position at TikTok to focus on her own company, The Ninth Semester, which aims to provide early career counseling to students and recent graduates.

"You've poured so much of yourself into this role, into this company, and they don't even have the common decency to have the honest conversation with you," Walters, a recent college graduate, told Insider about her view of some large companies and recent layoffs.

She said she would rather work in a profession often targeted by layoffs like college recruiting, rather than something that could be safer in the long term.

Some respondents did prefer the security and growth opportunities provided by legacy companies, however. About 52% said they are more likely to apply for jobs with larger, established companies compared to just 16% who said they plan to pursue roles with smaller companies or startups.

Willett emphasized that, no matter the company's size, most Gen Z workers are looking for "engaged employers who care."

She recommended that hiring companies be "active and consistent on your website, different social media and job platforms," highlighting values and benefits in order to attract Gen Z workers.

Nearly all of those surveyed said they scour employee reviews from websites like Glassdoor when applying for jobs.

Walters checks reviews, as well as LinkedIn for any connections who are current or past employees, so she can get an honest account of the company rather than "scripted or sugar-coated" versions from recruiters.

According to the survey, students and graduates said they also are most likely to turn down a job offer if they get the impression that the company does not value work-life balance, or because of substandard pay or benefits.

"We are the next generation, a lot of these companies, they're already trying to appeal to us," Walters told Insider. "They want us…I think now is the best time to try to break into the industry because, you know, we're the next generation so there's gonna be roles for us and we can help create a path for more of us to come."