Gen Z vs. Boomer Job Seekers: What Each Generation Really Wants

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Attracting and retaining talent is one of the biggest struggles for employers, especially amid the Great Resignation. And complicating things further is that not every worker is looking for the same thing. When comparing what Gen Z job seekers want to what baby boomer job seekers want, there are some major disparities.

Here’s a look at how job priorities and attitudes differ between the two generations.

Read: Baby Boomers Share Their Biggest Money Regrets for Gen Z To Learn From
Find Out More: Many Gen Zers and Millennials Still Rely on Parents’ Financial Support

Gen Z Is More Willing To Job Hop If a Role Isn’t a Fit

Sixty-five percent of Gen Z job seekers have either switched industries or are considering doing so, according to a recent LinkedIn Workforce Confidence survey. Rates are noticeably lower for baby boomers.

“Gen Z is known as the generation of idealists,” said George Anders, senior editor at large at LinkedIn. “They were born in the digital age, so they are no stranger to evolution. Navigating rapid change is essentially Gen Z’s nature. So, hopping from job to job and participating in the ‘Great Reshuffle’ is an easier move for them than older generations.”

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As Anders notes, “Gen Z is comfortable being uncomfortable and has ample experience moving in uncertainty. Gen Z also does not have the same level of responsibilities older generations have, such as a family or a mortgage to pay, granting them greater flexibility in the labor market.”

Find Out: Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials — Who Really Had It Worst Financially?

Gen Zers Are More Likely Than Boomers To Switch Industries for Better Alignment With Values

Although having a job that is better in sync with personal values is a motivating factor for both generations to switch industries, it’s a bigger motivator for younger workers. Sixty-nine percent of Gen Zers would switch industries for something that’s better aligned with their interests or values, versus just 40% of boomers.

“Gen Z is not one to settle,” Anders said. “They are constantly looking for advancement in their careers and overall quality of life. Whereas older generations typically compartmentalize work and personal life, Gen Z is a generation that is more likely to bring their whole selves to work as opposed to their work persona. This may be why finding companies and roles that align with who they are as a person is more important to Gen Z than the boomer generation.”

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Another factor that makes Gen Z more selective about where they work is that this generation is entering the workforce during a unique job market.

“Generation Z is starting their careers during a time when job openings and labor shortages are both at historic highs and employees have ultimate bargaining power,” Anders said. “This allots them more opportunity than their elders in choosing what factors pique their job interest.”

Boomers vs. Millennials: A Look at the Financial Gap Between Generations

Boomers Care More About Work-From-Home Policies

One perhaps surprising finding that came out of LinkedIn’s survey is that being able to work from home is not a high priority for Gen Z job seekers — only 24% of Gen Zers prioritized a more flexible work-from-home policy.

“Gen Z is still new to the workforce — and to the housing market,” Anders said. “They’re more likely to be living in small apartments, shared group homes or perhaps even with their parents. In such situations, working from home may be less appealing. In addition, this generation craves the experience and connection that is harder to accomplish through virtual/remote work. Gen Z is eager to learn and values the opportunity for training and development.”

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On the other hand, boomers may be more likely to want a job that allows them to work from home.

“Older generations, like boomers, are already seasoned professionals, so in-person work is less appealing,” Anders said. “Instead, they are seeking more flexibility and work-to-personal life balance.”

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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