Generation Z in the professional world: independent, creative, and digital


Group of laughing young people – Generation Z in the professional world
Key facts about Generation Z in the professional world

reading time: ca. 5 minutes

  • Generation Z, i.e. those born between 1995 and 2010, follows Generation Y. In the job market, the young generation of "digital natives" has several expectations towards companies.
  • They place particularly high value on security, self-determination, and a purposeful career.
  • Their private life has a high priority for young people – more than a successful career. Therefore, they pay close attention to strictly separate job and leisure time.
  • Companies in the job market appeal to the young target group, for example, through modern digital working processes, room for personal development, and social engagement. New leadership models and mentoring also play a major role.

The first young people from Generation Z are entering the job market – and they have very different needs compared to previous generations. For Gen Z, security and professional independence are key. At the same time, the separation of work and leisure is more important than ever. This is because Gen Z strives primarily for happiness and self-realisation in their private lives.

Just a moment ago, everything was about the demanding millennials and their changed expectations towards companies. Now the next generation is approaching the job market. Generation Z brings together the needs and values of four generations. At the same time, the "digital natives" are even more technology-savvy than all the generations before them – after all, they are the first generation who completely grew up with digital media and the internet.

Who is Generation Z?

In the working world, Generation Z refers to people born between about 1995 and 2010. This means they follow Generation X (up to 1978) and Generation Y (up to 1994). Each generation combines certain characteristics and values that distinguish it from other generations.

Many young people of Generation Z were raised with few boundaries and towards greater independence and openness. Just like Generation Y, they are autonomous and think pragmatically.

If they get stuck on a problem or need further information, they consult Google & Co. They prefer to receive results quickly and in small chunks.

Digital from the beginning

Although Generation Y has already been considered to be very tech-savvy, Gen Z is clearly taking it to the next level. The real digital natives have grown up with smartphones, internet, and Co.

From early childhood on, they have been part of a connected online community, thanks to mobile internet and social media – a real advantage in the increasingly global working world. So, it's no wonder that Gen Z is particularly attracted to companies that offer advanced digital technologies and thus enable efficient working.

Generation Z greatly benefits from the technological possibilities of the last two decades. Having grown up in a digital world, they are very familiar with media and the information flood in the web. This is why they primarily search for jobs online, for example via social media channels.

Private happiness has priority

When it comes to achieving their goals, Gen Z is just as ambitious as Generation X and Generation Y, although professional success is not their focus.

Leisure and private life are extremely important to them. Only very few are willing to sacrifice their free time for professional success or leadership responsibility.

Two young women with watering can – Generation Z

Above all, they strive for personal development in their private lives. Friendships, relationships, and hobbies are more important than jobs or money, for example.

What really counts? Being happy, no matter how you get there. All studies and surveys among young people agree on this.

Generation Z in the professional world

Not only do the values of Gen Z differ from previous generations, also the expectations towards employers have changed. Status and professional prestige have become less important. Also, the loyalty to the employer is declining.

Generation Z is looking for self-realisation and fun at work. To achieve this, they are willing to change jobs frequently. Working for the same company all your life? Hardly imaginable for them!

The need for security

Already today, many young people are worried about their future. The Corona pandemic has caused many pupils, students, and graduates to feel ill-prepared for working life. Many of them fear that they have missed too much school content, that they will not find an apprenticeship or a good job.

A safe salary and a permanent contract are therefore important factors when choosing a job. Company health care is also more important for Gen Z than for previous generations.

Remaining independent

Security and independence: two values that seem contradictory at first glance. Nevertheless, Generation Z longs for both, a safe job and as much flexibility as possible.

Most young people want to work autonomously and self-organise their tasks.

Autonomy is key and new leadership models, participation, and mentoring are becoming more and more relevant for companies.

Work with meaning

Gen Z is considered particularly idealistic. Sustainability, social commitment, and diversity are among the most important demands towards potential employers.

Young people want ajob with meaning. Even if their private life is usually more important than their job, their work should still be fun and make an impact in society.

Generation Z wants to be needed and back what they do – privately and professionally.


The nine-to-five job (in labour research already believed to be dead) seems to become attractive again for Generation Z.

Well-regulated working hours and a clear separation between professional and private life are important to them, and they are reluctant to answer emails after work. It may occur like laziness, but there is a good reason for setting these boundaries: In the digital age of unlimited accessibility, there is a great danger of working anywhere, anytime.

By really knocking work off, Gen Z aims at maintaining a healthy balance between work and leisure.

This is what employers can offer Generation Z

In order to remain attractive for graduates and young professionals in the future, companies must keep up with the times and pay attention to the wishes of Gen Z.

Benefits such as home office and flexible working hours are no longer a competitive advantage in the job market, but a matter of course for the younger generation.

Companies that respond to their values, offer career security and promote new working models are attractive for Generation Z.

Benefits for Gen Z

  • Modern technology and digital working methods
  • Support through mentoring and freedom for initiative and creativity
  • Clear separation of job and private life and well-regulated working hours
  • Promotion of individuality, equality, and diversity
  • Social commitment
Young man smiles – Generation Z in the professional world

Gen Z and the future of the working world

All the generations with their different characteristics together in one working world: Even if different interests collide, the constellation offers great potential.

Gen Z is convinced of their positive influence on everyday working life: With new ideas and ways of working as well as with their technological know-how, they want to breathe new life into the working world.

Together with the strengths of all the different generations, this creates many opportunities, innovations, and a new understanding of social responsibility in the job market.

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