Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, bringing with them a unique set of talents and insights.

They are digital natives who have never known a time without the internet. They are strident regarding ethics (and they want their employer to be, too), and while the paycheck is important to them, a lot more enters the equation when choosing a role.

“In a recruitment world that increasingly values skills over qualifications, Gen Z has much to bring to the table,” says IWG CEO Mark Dixon. “By better understanding them, we can begin to understand what the future holds for business.”

IWG’s research on this diverse generation outlines what they expect from the workplace and how companies can adapt to these needs

Hybrid natives

Many Gen Zers started their careers during lockdown. They met colleagues for the first time as little faces on screens, and they were probably interviewed that way, too. And so, the notion of ever going into a city centre headquarters without a good reason, let alone having to do it every day, feels alien.

According to the survey, 85% of Gen Zers want to work in an office close to home – and that’s likely to be in the suburbs because that’s where Gen Z professionals tend to live.

Collaboration culture

A Gen Z survey by Dell found that 80% want to work with “cutting edge” technology, while 91% said the technology offered by an employer would be a factor in choosing between job offers.

They also want agile spaces where collaboration with colleagues is natural, whether around a big table or in a lounge or café area. In addition, they want separate quiet spaces for focused head-down work. In short, they want flexibility and the freedom to choose.

As Dixon explains: “[The workspace] is somewhere you should be able to find a wide range of options for people to come together, from large, open meeting rooms where team members can brainstorm, to long bench tables that encourage group working, to lounge spaces where colleagues can sit and chat over a coffee. But there should also be places for private work.”

Financial hedging

Gen Z’s number one priority is a good salary. In the IWG survey, 73% of respondents said it’s the most crucial factor when accepting a new position, and it makes sense when you consider their upbringing. These are the kids of the Great Recession and the graduates of the pandemic. Finances may have felt risky or changeable in the past, so as working adults, they want to earn enough to hedge against any potential instabilities.

Room to grow

However, something else that ranks high alongside money is having a job with the potential for growth and promotion. This isn’t about naked ambition, though: Gen-Z workers are looking for personal growth – opportunities to learn new skills and broaden their knowledge and experiences.

“This is one of the things that makes them unique,” says Hana Ben Shabat, founder of Gen Z Planet. “This is the first time we’re hearing very young people talking about personal growth and looking to grow as individuals.”

Social responsibility

Another thing that sets Gen Z apart from their immediate predecessors is a very personal sense of environmental and social responsibility.

They have grown up in a backdrop of disruption, conflict, and a polarised political landscape, so one thing they can do to make a difference is to work for a company that fits their social conscience.

Indeed, almost half (48%) of our survey respondents said they would refuse to join a business that doesn’t have clear environmental and social goals.