Gen Z Mindset: Life and Work Decision Making

Recent employment data shows that members of Generation Z are not only finding their first jobs at a younger age, but they are also seeking out targeted professional experiences and opportunities for career development right from the start. Predicted to make up over a third of the US workforce by the next decade, Gen Z is changing the way we do business. To stay viable, employers should make an effort to understand this young cohort of emerging leaders, including their views on salary, parenthood, retirement, and DEIAB in the workplace.

How Gen Z Employees View Salary

Citing an August, 2022, analysis by GoBankingRates focused on the median earnings of 16 to 24-year-olds, CNBC recently released a report and infographic on how much the typical Gen Z worker makes in every US state. On average, Gen Z members in this age range currently earn about $32,500 annually.

According to a 2022 survey published by Fortune, members of Gen Z say they need the highest salary of all generations to feel ‘financially healthy,’ due to the rising cost of living. GoBankingRates notes that, “As a generation partially shaped by large-scale financial uncertainties, Gen Z tends to take a practical and more conservative approach to their finances.”

The Prospect of Parenthood

Reporting on the reluctance of young professionals to become parents, The Associated Press (AP News) notes that inflation, overwhelming student debt, the fear of climate change, and healthcare inequities for women of color are leading to dramatically low birth rates in the US.

Viewing parenthood as an emotional and financial sacrifice, many Gen Z employees worry they will not be able to support a family and live comfortably on their current salary. Members of Generation Z, especially women, also believe that having children will negatively impact their prospects for career growth.

Retirement Plans

In a 2022 article titled, “Here’s when Gen Z ‘super savers’ plan to retire,” The Hill states that, “Gen Z Americans who put a good chunk of their incomes toward retirement plan to end their careers ahead of the traditional retirement age.” While over 80% of Gen Z-ers want to own a home, they are “putting off major purchases and delaying homeownership given market conditions.”

Citing new surveys by the financial firm Principal and the investment management company BlackRock, The Hill reports that, “Gen Z employees are saving an average of 14 percent of each paycheck for retirement,” and “only a quarter of Gen Z super savers are counting on Social Security as retirement income.” 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB)

In understanding Generation Z, it’s also important to note the importance of DEIAB in the workplace. Born roughly between 1995 and 2012, Gen Z is the most diverse and inclusive generation to date. Job source Monster reports that, “Many companies are approaching their diversity strategy with Gen Z expectations, creating a more collaborative environment that values open participation from people with different ideas and perspectives.”

Employers can learn a great deal by looking at Gen Z’s views on DEIAB, salary, parenthood, and retirement, and how each influences the career goals of young individuals entering the workforce. A focus on Gen Z learning and professional development is also key.

Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC delivers innovative and interactive approaches to leadership development through a multi-platform company, including Looking Forward Lab, which focuses on supporting Gen Z as they enter the workforce and provides comprehensive tools for those hiring and managing young professionals. Please visit our website, or contact us today to learn more!

Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC is a certified National Supplier Development Council Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) woman-owned company. The company is comprised of a suite of brands, including TDB Group Strategic Advisory, a management consulting firm, as well as Looking Forward Lab, which offers a full-service learning engagement model focused on Gen Z workplace development and support for their managers.

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