According to Wunderman Thompson Data, 70% of gen Zers surveyed agree that the pandemic has shifted their priorities, and 74% say the pandemic has given them more time to focus on what’s really important to them. Women in particular are rejecting popular hustle culture according to a feature in August by Elle. Instead, they’re choosing to take employment breaks or cut down their work week, effectively “Letting go of the idea that our titles or salaries define us,” Ann Friedman wrote in the feature. How is this refocus and shift in priorities affecting the workplace?
The “Great Resignation” that followed pandemic lockdowns made space for many former go-getters and career aspirers to reconnect with family, friends, and rekindle other aspects of their lives. Starting in 2021, many people took to backpedaling on their busy lives and careers, opting instead for concentrated leaves of absence. One woman interviewed by The New York Times has enjoyed a year at home with her two sons, putting her position as executive director of a nonprofit on hold. “It’s priceless for them to have my full attention,” Ana del Rocío told the Times. “I’m present and they feel that.”
Some overwhelmed employees are embracing a trend termed “quiet quitting,” defined by TikTok user Zaiad Khan in TheNew York Times as “quitting the idea of going above and beyond” at one’s place of work. Essentially, rather than focusing on meeting new goals or over-achieving for their company, many people are opting for solid boundaries at work and finding peace and happiness in simply doing only what their job requires of them.
Companies now often offer wellness perks and benefits for employees in the office and on the clock, but how is the workforce responding? According to a feature by The Washington Post, gen Z workers are demanding flexibility in their schedules and clear career paths in addition to standard wellness incentives. Linda Jingfang Cai, vice president of talent development at LinkedIn, told the Post that the “young cohort of workers demand that employers care about them as whole people,” and, for young professionals entering the workforce, “the ability to understand their career path is worth more than a paycheck.”
Making money, it seems, is not the top priority for many gen Zers just beginning their careers. Ethics, work-life balance, and purpose are common features the generation is searching for when job hunting. According to Wunderman Thompson Data, 82% of gen Zers surveyed say it’s important that their job contributes to the greater good, and 70% would rather do something meaningful than make a lot of money.
Published in April of this year, the LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey indicated that 40% of gen Z workers were willing to take a 2% or 5% pay cut for a position that offered “a stronger chance to grow in the role.” Across generations, the average response in agreement was 26%, and 32% of millennials agreed as well. 38% of gen Zs would take the same pay cut for “more enjoyable work,” and 36% would take the cut for better work-life balance, compared to 33% in both categories across generations.
The workforce – gen Z and women in particular – is prioritizing greater life ambition, work-life balance, and career potential over high pay and ambitious titles when considering accepting a new position. How could this affect what future hiring packages might look like if companies are to meet worker demand to fill their open positions?