Job loyalty on the decline: Are Gen Z less committed to long-term employment?
Why is job loyalty the last thing on the minds of the new generation of employees?
Younger generations, like Millennials and Generation Z, have a different perspective on work compared to previous generations. They grew up in the digital world, where they feel right at home with any kind of digital device. Their fluency in technology and unique skills make them invaluable for businesses to stay competitive in the evolving landscape of new technologies and Artificial Intelligence. However, this new generation also possesses a sense of individuality, mobility, and immediacy that may not align with traditional notions of long-term work engagement with a single company.
According to a report by the Oliver Wyman Forum, cited by Fast Company, Generation Z workers, while considering themselves loyal to their company (70%), are still actively or passively looking for new jobs. One possible explanation could be that Generation Z views employment as transactional, a means to an end to earn money and pursue their passions outside of work, rather than finding meaning in their career. This pragmatic approach to work may result in reduced job loyalty compared to previous generations.
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Similar trends are observed in Spain, where a study on generational mix in Spanish companies showed that baby boomers are the most loyal, with a strong commitment to work and job stability. In contrast, Generation Z, the most idealistic and independent generation, shows a higher inclination towards starting their own businesses (54.5%) compared to millennials (18.5%) and baby boomers (10%).
Growing up in a digital environment and experiencing the virtual work environment during the pandemic has also shaped the younger generation's attitudes towards work. They are accustomed to flexible working methods, including remote work, flexible schedules, and virtual team interactions. As a result, building job loyalty and corporate culture values may be more challenging in teams that have never met face-to-face on a regular basis.
So, what can employers do to cultivate and maintain job loyalty among the new generation of talents?
Employers need to understand that traditional factors such as salary, flexibility, and stability may not be sufficient to create a sense of belonging in younger employees. While these factors are important, three key aspects are particularly appealing to the new generation:
Growth and development opportunities
Young employees aspire to rapid professional growth and value training programs, coaching, mentoring, and tutoring. A company that offers clear growth paths is attractive to them, and they are more likely to stay if they see opportunities for their professional advancement.
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The younger generation is used to immediate feedback in the digital age, and regular, constant, and constructive appraisal of their work is highly valued. Keeping channels open for feedback and creating a culture of honest and transparent communication is crucial for their engagement.
Autonomy and flexibility
Freedom to work with individual schedules and remotely, while meeting objectives and deadlines, is highly valued. Micro-management is seen as outdated, and autonomy in organizing their own routines is appreciated.
Generation Z may seem to have different priorities and preferences compared to previous generations, but creating a positive, diverse, respectful, and growing work environment can foster a sense of belonging and engagement among them.
When they find a company that aligns with their values and offers opportunities for growth, they are more likely to stay and give their best. After all, job loyalty may be approached differently by the new generation, but it can still be nurtured through understanding and adapting to their unique perspectives.