In a rapidly changing job market, the youngest generation of workers, known as Generation Z (Gen Z), is redefining career expectations and priorities.
According to a national survey conducted by Resource Solutions, a leading provider of workforce and advisory solutions, 73 percent of Gen Z individuals are willing to take a pay cut to pursue more fulfilling career opportunities.
Additionally, two-thirds of Gen Zs are planning to leave their current job by 2025, illustrating a desire for frequent career changes.
The survey, which gathered responses from 2,000 working adults, highlights the evolving perceptions of careers and the necessity for employees to reskill and adjust their career trajectories.
One of the most striking findings is that Gen Zs expect to change industries at least three times throughout their working lives, surpassing any other generation before them.
Willing to accept a pay cut
When contemplating a career change, a significant 73 percent of Gen Zs indicated that they are willing to accept a substantial pay cut or even step down in their current roles to pursue a more fulfilling career path. This data demonstrates that job fulfillment takes precedence over merely climbing the corporate ladder for most members of this generation. In contrast, 24 percent of Gen X and 36 percent of Baby Boomers are not willing to jeopardise their career progression in pursuit of better job satisfaction.
The survey also reveals that 64 percent of Gen Z individuals are planning to leave their current employers within the next two years. This contrasts with nearly half of Millennials (48%) and Boomers (46%) who intend to stay with their companies for five years or longer. While this makes Millennials and Boomers harder to poach from their current positions, it also makes them more likely to become long-term, loyal employees once they are onboarded. Gen X employees demonstrated the highest employer loyalty, with 64 percent expressing a desire to stay with their employers for more than five years.
The survey suggests that the general consensus is that employees should remain in a role for an average of two years and nine months before considering a job change. However, this figure diminishes significantly for younger generations, who, on average, consider changing jobs after only two years. Resource Solutions is encouraging employers to adapt their talent attraction and retention strategies to align with Gen Z’s career ambitions.
Are career changes more necessary now?
Kristen Buckheit, Managing Director EMEA at Resource Solutions, commented on the survey’s findings, stating, “What a career meant 10, 20, or 30 years ago is no longer what it means to young professionals today. Our data indicates an awareness among young professionals that more career changes may be necessary throughout their working life, which could be due to a myriad of factors impacting this generation. People are retiring later in life, the accelerated pace of technological advances, notably with AI, may render certain roles obsolete, and as the first to grow up with the internet, their acute awareness of how the world is changing is bound to impact how they feel about their future or purpose.”
“To attract and retain a generation hungry for fulfilling careers,” Buckheit continued, “employers should take extra care in ensuring the roles they provide are challenging, offer a sense of purpose, and best utilise the individual’s skillsets. Beyond the onboarding process, it is critical that companies invest time in professional development and training to ensure employees remain engaged in their roles and excited about the industry they’re working in. It’s also worth looking for opportunities for employees to contribute more broadly to the company’s value-led initiatives.”
Gen Z’s changing expectations and priorities present a challenge and opportunity for employers to adapt and create work environments that cater to the desires of this generation, emphasising fulfilment and adaptability in the ever-evolving world of work.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the 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.