Company Values Matter a Great Deal More for Gen Zs

Image credit: iStockphoto/ViewApart

It is increasingly apparent that Gen Zs, those born between 1996 and 2010, have a very different idea of their ideal employers.

According to the LEWIS’ study “New Rules: How Is Gen Z Changing the World of Work,” conducted in support of the global HeForShe movement, Gen Z emphasized values and diversity programs in the workplace.

“The next generation is quickly moving into the workforce, and they want to be heard,” said Chris Lewis, chief executive officer of LEWIS. “It’s clear that Gen Z prioritizes values above all else – companies that don’t understand or reflect that will find themselves struggling to attract and retain the best talent.”

Only 19% of Gen Z said in the research that they would work for a company that does not share their values. When evaluating an employment opportunity, company values are the second most important factor — but personal growth opportunities still hold the top spot.

Gender and race were identified as the top qualities of diversity by Gen Z. It means that this generation of the workforce expects appropriate programs and commitment within companies.

Globally, the importance of diversity and supporting social causes is abundantly clear:

  • Company values: 67% believe company values are more important than the CEO/leader (vs. 65% in APAC)
  • DEI programs: 41% would work for a company that is not gender or racially diverse but only if it had a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion program (vs. 45% in APAC)
  • Opportunities: 46% said that if two candidates had the same qualifications, they would be in favor of the candidate that results in greater diversity in the company (vs. 47% in APAC)

The survey also revealed Gen Z's leadership expectations, with many looking to senior management to drive change. And there are also subtle differences between Gen Zs from APAC and the rest of the world.

For example, Gen Zs expect HR (35%) and Senior Management (29%) to lead DEI efforts within companies. In APAC, the expectation on leading DEI efforts falls on Senior Management (34%), followed by HR (31%).

In terms of the critical qualities of the senior leader, 37% think ‘innovative’ is the most important quality in a CEO. Determination (35%) and empathy (33%) were the second and third most important qualities. In APAC, 41% think ‘innovative’ is the most important quality in a CEO, followed by determination (39%) and creativity (29%)

Gen Zs are not shy of holding CEOs responsible for social issues. The research showed that 41% believe CEOs should be judged by their commitment to solving social issues. In APAC, innovation comes first, with 50% of respondents in APAC believing CEOs should be judged by their ability to innovate and be an industry leader, followed by their commitment to solving social issues (38%)

“This research shows how important DEI programs and positive social impact are to the next generation,” said Edward Wageni, global head of HeForShe. “It’s clear that the onus is on today’s leaders to make clear commitments about how they will progress these important topics. By ignoring societal issues, they will fail to connect with almost an entire generation.”

Image credit: iStockphoto/ViewApart