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Study Finds Gen Z Workers Expect Fast Track to Success

Study Finds Gen Z Workers Expect Fast Track to Success
Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

As the oldest members of Generation Z begin entering the workforce, employers across the U.S. are left wondering what makes this latest influx of workers different from their millennial counterparts. There's no mistaking that this demographic, having never known a world without the internet, sees the world through different eyes.

Generation Z comprises youths born between 1997 and 2002, according to the Pew Research Center. Recent research by ManpowerGroup suggests that this group of youths will make up approximately 24 percent of the global workforce by 2020.

To better understand the group, training and development company InsideOut Development recently polled 1,000 Gen Zers on what they wanted from a prospective employer. Its findings revealed a generation of workers who wants more out of their careers and believe that all the perks of advancement should come sooner rather than later.

According to InsideOut Development's study, Gen Z workers expect to be placed on the fast track for better pay and promotions. Approximately 75 percent of respondents said they felt they should be given a promotion in their first position after only a year on the job, while another 32 percent believe that promotion should come within the first six months of work. [Related: Communicating With a Multigenerational Workforce]

The survey also found that more than 40 percent of Gen Zers feel they will make more than $100,000 a year once they reach the peak of their career, and half of that group believes they'll make more than $150,000 a year.

While that may sound like an ambitious task to strive for as a newcomer, the study also found that 88 percent of respondents said they were "willing to work harder and longer hours" to reach their career goals. Roughly 72 admitted to being "naturally competitive" with colleagues in similar roles, and 75 percent said they would be "interested in holding multiple positions within a company" if it meant they could accelerate their career advancement.

When it comes to getting members of this fledgling demographic interested in a career, the study suggests that Gen Z really looks for two main factors: stability and development.

The top career goal among respondents (40 percent) was to land in a position where they feel secure and stable. Having seen their loved ones go through the Great Recession during their formative years, 69 percent of respondents said they would rather work at a stable job than one they're passionate about. This figure highlights a key difference between Gen Z and their millennial counterparts, who were more interested in finding jobs that did more for their happiness than financial stability.

Members of Gen Z also want to feel connected to the company's organizational results. As such, respondents said they hunger for development opportunities. The study found that 36 percent of Gen Zers worried they'd be stuck in a job that didn't give them chances to grow. It also found that 86 percent felt they lose time each day on tasks unrelated to their core job responsibilities and 40 percent felt they waste at least an hour or more on unrelated administrative tasks. [Related: 3 Ways to Encourage Professional Development]

To that end, more than 75 percent of respondents said a manager's coaching ability was important to them. Additionally, 25 percent said they would leave a job if they had a boss who managed their employees through fear.

While survey respondents said they were confident in their ability to work their way up the occupational ladder, there were other areas where their confidence waned. According to InsideOut Development's data, 89 percent of respondents said they expected constant feedback from their boss, but 54 percent admitted they were afraid to ask for assistance.

While respondents admitted they were stressed about major political and social issues outside the workplace, researchers also found that work-related concerns weighed heavily on their confidence.

When asked what scared them the most about working, Gen Z said they were worried about being under too much pressure from their boss and not being good enough at their job. When it comes to getting their first job, 26 percent of respondents said they were "most afraid of discovering they made the wrong career choice," and 26 percent said they feared "not being good enough."

Like their millennial cohorts, Gen Z workers live under the weight of student debt, adding to their level of stress. While 80 percent of respondents said they believed they needed at least a bachelor's degree to get the job they wanted, and nearly 70 percent said they believed they needed that degree to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, only 30 percent said they were confident they'd be able to pay back their loans.

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a BA in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining Business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese-American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.