What do next-gen workers want from employers?

'Managers used to the preferences of older generations might find these statistics surprising'

What do next-gen workers want from employers?

The workforce is changing - and employers are advised to listen to the next generation of workers if they want to remain attractive to jobseekers.

But what do younger workers really want?

A new survey by tech company Shiftboard of 2,250 workers found that 51% of Millennials and 55% of Gen Z workers prefer having control over their work schedule.

According to the survey, 47% of Gen Z and 39% of Millennial employees want to have the ability to change their hours on short notice, whether to work more, less, or cancel a shift.

Another 38% of Gen Z and 33% of Millennials also value being able to exchange overtime hours for additional time off, according to the report.

Less important for older workers

These abilities in the workplace are seen as less important to outgoing older workers, according to the report. Only 42% of Gen X and 37% of Baby Boomers put a high priority on having control over their schedule.

The findings indicate that while some generations focus on earning potential, others prioritise flexibility in their schedules, according to Sterling Wilson, president and CEO of Shiftboard.  

"Managers used to the preferences of older generations might find these statistics surprising," Wilson said in a media release.

What can employers do?

The findings come as the 2021 data from the US Bureau of Labour revealed that 20% of hourly workers are Gen Zs. Another 35% are Millennials, 31% are Gen X, while 13% are Baby Boomers.

"An awareness of these varied demographics is critical for workforce managers, as the past's one‑size‑fits‑all management strategies and processes are no longer relevant for attracting and retaining talent in today's complex labour landscape," the report said.

And with older generations leaving the workforce, Wilson advised employers and managers to adapt their policies to accommodating workers' preferences for flexible scheduling.

"By doing so, they can ensure better job satisfaction, higher employee retention, and a more engaged workforce," Wilson said.

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