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7 out of 10 leaders concerned about how Generation Z will fit in at work

The majority of business leaders are concerned about so-called Generation Z (or Gen Z) workers entering the workforce, research has found.

The new wave of job seekers, also dubbed 'post-millennials', who were born between 1994 and 2000, is expected to bring another set of expectations and behaviours to the workplace.

Some 71 per cent of business leaders are concerned, and 55 per cent are highly or moderately concerned, about how well they will fit in.

Managers expected Gen Z's need for instant gratification (39 per cent), resistance to authority (30 per cent), poor face-to-face communication skills (26 per cent), and expectation for quick promotion (24 per cent) to be among the biggest challenges.

One in five managers also thought conflict between generations at work could be a problem.

But with only 8 per cent of organisations investing in training to prepare managers with the skills to handle Gen Z workers, it's not surprising that more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of managers feel ill-prepared to do so.

Multi-generational collaboration

If managers can enable effective collaboration across generations, however, the new workforce could bring new skills, different perspectives and thinking from which companies can hugely benefit, the report said.

Part of this is knowing what they want. Salary (67 per cent), flexible working and good work-life balance (40 per cent), job security (39 per cent), regular training and development (29 per cent) and good holiday allowance (18 per cent) were the top five most important things Gen Z looks for in a job, it said.

Unlike their elders, the millennials - and contrary to leaders' expectations - Gen Z didn't place so much importance on the values and ethics of their employers, with 14 per cent thinking equality and diversity policies are important and 3 per cent worried about working for employers with clear corporate social responsibility programmes.

Only 7 percent thought the latest technology was essential in a job and just 4 per cent worried about working in an office with the latest facilities and permission to use social media at any time. Around a quarter of leaders thought this would be important to them.

Soft management skills

Soft management skills were also picked out as important. A third of Gen Z respondents were annoyed by bosses who were unclear in their instructions, and a fifth were put off by leaders that gave very little face-to-face contact. Nearly a third disliked managers who gave little praise and recognition, or appeared untrustworthy or took credit for another's work.

The report stressed the importance of embedding learning and development into the culture and management of an organisation; and promoting flexible working and work-life balance, along with open and honest management styles.

The survey of 250 Gen Zs and 750 business leaders was undertaken by Forum.

Acas publications and services

Acas has published pdf icon Managing Future Talent - A guide for employers [1Mb], which aims to share good practice about how to create a workplace in which young employees can thrive.

The Acas pdf icon Recruiting staff guide [326kb] has all you need to know about recruitment and induction programmes.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and review your existing recruitment and induction procedures. See Recruitment and Retention: how Acas can help for more details.

Acas also offers practical training on Recruitment and induction, based on its own guidance, taking you through the legal and best practice elements of fair and effective recruitment, and Flexible working, and essential Skills for supervisors.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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