The Leadership Agenda

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For Gen Z employees, loyalty is a two-way street

Leaders can’t simply demand allegiance at work from younger workers. They need to earn it.

Your Gen Z workforce could be a powerful force to help you achieve your reinvention goals—if you can win their loyalty. PwC’s 2023 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey of nearly 54,000 employees worldwide shows that Gen Z appears to see the need for companies to transform more clearly than other generations. Nearly half of Gen Z employees (49%) think their current company won’t survive ten years on its current trajectory—significantly higher than the overall sample (31%) and higher than any other age cohort.

Their recognition of this challenge makes Gen Z employees strong candidates to help champion changes in the workforce that are important to reinvention, such as upskilling and adopting new technologies. But leaders will have to entice them: the survey also suggests Gen Z is more vocal about their demands than other generations—and more willing to jump ship to get what they want. Half said they plan to ask for a raise in the next 12 months (compared with 42% overall), 46% said they’re planning to ask for a promotion (versus 35% overall), and 35% said they plan to change employers (compared with 26%). 

If leaders want to win loyalty from their Gen Z employees—and they should, as they’re the future of the workforce and a tremendous source of creativity, energy and innovation—they need to earn it in a few key ways.   

  • Show you’re willing to invest in their development. Gen Z employees know reinvention is paramount—both for organisations and individuals. Tap into this by giving these workers options like on-the-job training, expanded tuition reimbursement, opportunities to learn skills they’re personally interested in, and customisable courses in a range of formats. 

  • Bring them into your AI planning. Overall, Gen Z employees are more positive about the technology than other age groups, with 25% saying that it will create new job opportunities for them, higher than the overall sample. Tap into their enthusiasm by creating ways for them to participate in AI initiatives, such as brainstorming groups centred around using AI in the company’s day-to-day work.

  • Be real about societal impact and values. Gen Z employees want meaningful work, and seek organisations that are focusing on more than the bottom line. Leaders need to be candid about progress, or lack of it, toward non-financial outcomes. That could mean enhanced reporting about performance against ESG, DEI, and net-zero benchmarks, or other areas that the company has targeted for improvement.  

  • Offer competitive compensation. A larger share of gen Z survey respondents said they’re taking on outside work compared with the overall sample—an understandable response to the cost-of-living crisis. Review compensation packages to ensure that they’re competitive, and consider cost-of-living or baseline salary increases—a clear signal that you value your employees.

Explore the full findings of PwC’s 2023 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey.

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Kathy Parker

Kathy Parker

Global Workforce Strategy Leader, Partner, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 687 9014

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