New research conducted amongst UK workers has revealed that Gen Z and Millennials are prioritising training and development (L&D) more than any other generation.

In fact, over a quarter of employees aged between 16-34 believe training and development is the most crucial factor when it comes to their engagement as an employee.

Interestingly, this age group was found to be the least motivated by salary.

Just 42 percent of 16-34 year-olds chose pay as their primary motivator, compared to 52 percent of employees aged 45 and over.

L&D’s impact on work ethic is significant

The research, which was conducted by Cloud Assess, found that, when done well, training and development have a stronger impact on young people’s work ethic than any other generation.

Over two-thirds of 16-34 year-olds claim that training and development improves their commitment to their employer – the highest of any age group.  Similarly, three-quarters of young workers agree that it boosts their job satisfaction.

What kind of L&D opportunities are they looking for?

In addition, the study reveals that young people have stronger views on how they would like their training to be delivered than older employees. While the most popular training format amongst all age groups was face-to-face, Gen Zs were the most unanimous despite their limited time in the workplace, with just 17 percent choosing ‘online training’ as their preferred training format.

By contrast, those aged between 45-54 were more divided, with a quarter choosing online training as their preferred format.

Similarly, young people were found to be the most likely to prefer scheduled training sessions over on-demand, pre-recorded sessions, demonstrating a clear understanding amongst young people about the training formats they want and expect from their employer.

Can the training that you are currently offering be improved?

Yet, despite the importance young employees place on training and development, the research found that 71 percent of Millennials and Gen Z employees believe the training their employer is currently providing could be improved – making them the least satisfied of any age demographic.  This is concerning news for employers who are increasingly reliant on young talent.

Rob Bright, CEO and Founder of Cloud Assess, comments on L&D:

“It has been clear for several years now that the demands of the youngest workers are changing, with a greater focus on what an employer can offer beyond salary. Our research not only confirms this, but highlights that young people are also incredibly clear how they want benefits like training to be delivered. What’s more, they are willing to leave employers who don’t deliver on this.

“When you consider that Gen Z and Millennials will soon make up the majority of the global workforce, employers simply can’t afford to ignore these demands. Young, talented workers expect their employers to invest in their learning and development, and for this to be delivered in a format that resonates with them. Those that provide these all-important experiences for employees will be the ones that stand out in the fight for talent.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.