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The work perk that GenZ really wants

Tim Paradis   

The work perk that GenZ really wants

For some young workers, having flexibility in their jobs is nearly as important as how much they get paid.

In a survey of Gen Zers in the US by the career platform iHire, 81.3% said choice over "when, where, and how" they would do a job was either "extremely" or "very" important.

That was nearly in line with the 82.2% who said having a potential employer offer a "fair and competitive" salary was either extremely or very important.

The survey involved nearly 1,100 Gen Zers and took place in March and April.

The findings highlight what's a priority for some among the youngest slice of the labor force. That matters, in part, because Gen Zers are likely to overtake boomers in terms of full-time US workers in 2024. While finding desk jobs is harder for some people than a few years ago, some employers are still struggling to find workers.

The office looks good

Unlike some older workers, a majority of young people appeared eager to head into the office, according to the survey. Nearly 56% of Gen Zers said they wanted to work in person all the time, and about one in four wanted a hybrid setup. Only about 18% wanted to work remotely full time.

Other surveys have shown the desire for an in-person connection. In late 2023, Seramount, a professional services and research firm, interviewed workers from various generations. As Business Insider previously reported, nearly three-quarters of Gen Zers told Seramount they preferred a hybrid setup. But only about half of the workers in older generations said the same.

That approach — in the office some days and at home on others — appears to be the routine many companies have adopted.

Being for four days

Another type of flexibility young people said was a priority — even more than unlimited paid time off and remote work — was having a four-day workweek. Some employers in recent years have conducted experiments with working four, eight-hour days for the same pay as five days. Other employers have tried the 4-and-a-half-day workweek.

In the survey, nearly 59% of Gen Zers said they preferred flex time. About 45% said a four-day workweek was a top draw. And about four in 10 said unlimited PTO was a priority; nearly 38% said the same about working remotely.

The survey also highlighted hurdles some young people say they could face in landing a role. One in three Gen Z respondents said negative stereotypes about their generation would hurt their job search or career advancement in the next year.

Among more than 250 employers iHire surveyed, some respondents complained about some young people having a sense of entitlement, unrealistic expectations, or insufficient office etiquette.

The survey respondents also generalized about young people being "tech savvy" and "socially conscious."

Stacie Haller, the chief career advisor at Resume Builder, previously told BI that generational badmouthing in the workplace is nothing new.

In a recent Resume Builder survey, about one-third of hiring managers said they didn't want to bring in young workers or those who are older.

"Every generation gets talked about. The millennials, at one point, were entitled. Nobody wanted to hire them," Haller said. "And now they're the age group that's biased against everybody else."

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