According to, Gen Z will comprise 36 percent of the workforce by 2020. With that in mind, it is critical that employers start to understand what makes Generation Z stand out.

5 Traits of Gen Z in the Workplace:

1. Preference for traditional communication.

Even though Generation Z grew up with texting and instant messages, studies show that they prefer to speak face-to-face in the workplace. This could be because they find the nuances of written communication difficult to interpret and would rather have the reassurance that comes with personal interaction.

2. Desire to work individually.

Team environments are not a problem for Gen Z, but many young employees prefer to work on individual projects as much as possible. By working independently, Gen Zers are able to showcase their skills and abilities as a way to prove themselves to employers.

3. Mobile-first habits.

Generation Z is used to smartphones and relies heavily on productivity apps in the workplace. Not only that, but the development of voice command technologies has made the smartphone an indispensable work aid for Gen Z. Employers who are aware of this should use apps that work best on mobile devices.

4. Motivated by stability.

Because Gen Z grew up in a time of serious economic recession, they are more risk-averse than millennials. Thus, they value the stability that comes from having a predictable job with a clearly defined compensation package.

5. Naturally competitive.

Generation Z is used to competition and enjoys the challenge of putting themselves to the test against someone else. If you can encourage a healthy sense of competition in your workplace, particularly during the training stage, you can keep young employees motivated and help them to do their best work.

Millennials vs. Gen Z in the Workplace:


Gen Z

Want to work toward a purpose.

Motivated by money and job security.

More interested in on-going conversations than annual assessments.

Need frequent feedback on their performance.

Interested in collaboration and teamwork.

Driven by individual performance and competition.

View their career as one of the most important things in their life.

Prioritize a healthy work-life balance.

Final Thoughts:

Most employers are already very familiar with millennials, but soon Generation Z will represent a large portion of the workforce. Understanding this new generation's traits and preferences will help you to create a culture that plays to their strengths and makes your company an attractive option for job seekers.

Check out our Recruiting Strategies article for more tips about finding the best employees.


Who are Gen Z?

Gen Z is defined as the generation that was born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s.

What are the traits of Gen Z in the workplace?

  • Preference for traditional communication.
  • Desire to work individually.
  • Mobile-first habits.
  • Motivated by stability.
  • Naturally competitive.

What does Gen Z look for in an employer?

  • Collaborative environment.
  • Updated technology and digital workplace tools.
  • Development opportunities.
  • Flexible hours.
  • A company that makes a positive impact on the community.
  • Companies that value authenticity.

How do you attract Gen Z employees?

  • Offer flexible hours.
  • Offer industry-related training.
  • Provide the opportunity for growth.
  • Provide the latest technology and software.
  • Show that your company cares about the community and your employees.

What benefits do Gen Z look for when applying for a job?

  • Competitive pay.
  • Paid time off.
  • Health and wellness benefits.
  • Cafeteria plans.
  • Flexibility.
  • Financial management assistance.

Related Articles:

Millennials in the Workplace

How to keep millennial employees happy and create a productive work environment.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

Learn more about the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

Organizational Culture

Tips for helping new hires become part of your organizational culture.

Employee Retention Strategies

Six employee retention strategies to help create a sustainable work environment.

Top 15 Recruiting Trends for 2024

Learn more about the top recruiting trends that we will see in 2024.