Generation Z Is More Traditional Than You Might Think

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Generation Z

Some new research finds that Generation Z are not the bicycle-commuting, open-floorplan office types that they’ve been stereotyped as. 

Staffing firm Robert Half and research firm Enactus teamed on the research, which sought the work preferences of more than 770 members of Generation Z (those born between 1990 and 1999).

Here are five surprising things they found:

1. Open floor plans? Hot start-ups? Nah, this group’s tastes skew more Mad Men than Silicon Valley.

Forty-one percent described midsize organizations as the ideal work environment, followed by large organizations (38 percent). Only 14 percent cited start-ups.

Forty-five percent of respondents prefer to work in a private office, and face-to-face communication is the method of choice for 74 percent.

2. They’re not exactly bubbling over with youthful optimism. Meet the ‘reality-check’ generation.

Seventy-seven percent believe they will need to work harder compared to those in past generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling professional life.

Balancing work and personal obligations was the top future career concern for 28 percent of respondents, followed by making enough money (26 percent) and finding a stable job (23 percent).

3. A gold watch marking decades of service may not be in the cards, but they do plan to stay a while at their jobs — and move quickly up the ladder.

Gen Zers expect to work for an average of four companies throughout their lifetimes.

Thirty-two percent believe they will be managing employees in a corporate environment within the next five years.

One in three would like to retire by the age of 60, but only 17 percent think it will be possible.

4. Forget fancy job titles — they mainly want more responsibility and an honest boss.

Opportunity for career growth was the most commonly cited career priority, with 64 percent of respondents ranking it among their top three. An impressive job title was only cited as a priority by three percent.

Honesty/integrity was the top quality sought in a boss, cited by 38 percent of respondents; this was followed by mentoring ability (21 percent).

5. Collaboration shouldn’t be a problem, say Gen Zers, except with those baby boomers.

Forty-five percent cited potential challenges working with baby boomers, compared to 17 percent who anticipate difficulties with Gen X and five percent with Gen Yers.”

Perhaps it’s safe to say that we all want the same things as we get older. After all, open floorplan offices may be fun for youngsters, but they’re also loud, distracting and somewhat undignified places to work.

And who doesn’t eventually learn to value a pleasant, professional workplace run by honest people? The work-life balance issue really isn’t an issue for most 20-somethings, but it sure does factor in once people start families.

Marketers and style editors will always zero in on what’s new and different about each generation. After all, this type of pandering sells products and builds careers. (Just look at all the attention being focused now on the Millennials.)

But at the end of the day, the more things change, the more we crave a house in a nice neighborhood with good schools.  Or something similar.

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