Younger Generations Show Less Loyalty: Are you ready for Gen Z?

Toronto, ON (Mar. 2, 2015) – Job creation, healthcare and gender equality top the list of must-haves for Canada’s newest members entering the workforce, according to a new study conducted by Randstad Canada. The survey in collaboration with Ipsos Reid polled young adults from generations Y (ages 21 to 34) and Z (ages 16 to 20).

When it comes to giving back, eight in ten (82%) young adults say that it is important that their employer do so…but it is the ‘how’ that is most interesting: creating new jobs locally (31%) was cited as the most impactful way for their current or future employer to support the community – ranking more than twice as important as charitable giving or environmental responsibility.

Gender equality topped the list of expectations when it comes to fostering diversity, with nine in ten emphasizing its importance. And it’s official – loyal workers are a thing of the past. Both Gen Y and Gen Z identified loyalty as a trait least likely to be associated with their generation.

“While they may share some similar traits – both generations are collaborative, tech-savvy and socially engaged – we can’t assume both Gen Y and Gen Z workers have the same motivations, work styles or even goals. They come from different historical and social backgrounds that impacts their view of the world and of organizations. In today’s diversified employment market, it is important for employers to understand what motivates and inspires both Gen Y and Gen Z. By knowing what drives this emerging group of workers, organizations can shape their talent attraction strategies and position themselves as an employer of choice,” says Faith Tull, SVP, Human Resources, Randstad Canada.

What’s Important to Gen Y and Gen Z: Social Responsibility … and Benefits

Giving back to the community isn’t the only expectation that young adults expect of their employer. There are also a range of benefits that they want from their employer:

  • Health insurance, with one in three (32%) saying this is the most important employee benefit they expect,
  • Work flexibility (4-day weeks, compressed schedule, telework, etc.) (29%),
  • Training and development (17%),
  • Individual performance bonuses (10%),
  • A stock purchase plan and profit sharing program (4%),
  • tuition reimbursement assistance (4%).

Interestingly, health insurance is more important for Gen Y (36%) than Gen Z (27%), and considerably more for women (40%) than men (23%). Gen Z places more importance on training and development (21%) than Gen Y (14%).

Technology in the Workplace: Yes, But Let’s Also Talk Face-to-Face

Growing up in the internet age and amidst rapid high-tech advancement, technology plays a key part in the life of both Gen Y and Gen Z Canadians, including facilitating their work. Four in ten (38%) says that technology can best support them in their current or future job by allowing them to get answers to questions faster, while one in four (24%) say it can help develop skills. Others say technology can best assist with helping workers collaborate on projects more effectively (20%), enhancing personal relationships with co-workers (11%) and giving workers a channel to express themselves.

As attached as they are to their smartphones, tablets and other devices, a surprising 45% of young people believe the most effective way to communicate is in-person. Others say the best way is:

  • Through email (26%),
  • Phone (11%),
  • Instant messaging (9%),
  • Social networking (8%),
  • Or video conferencing (2%).

Gen Y particularly favours email compared to Gen Z (31% vs. 20%). While one would assume Gen Z would prefer instant messaging over any other method, they are actually more interested in face-to-face communications (47%) than Gen Y (43%). While not strongly favoured, Gen Z is more apt to use instant messaging (11% vs. 8%) or social networking (10% vs. 6%) as a method of communicating at work.

Leadership and Management: The Importance of Mentorship and Feedback

Whether it’s traditional – like television and radio – or digital – like video streaming or Twitter – young adults in Canada have grown up in an age of communication. It’s no surprise that 4 in 10, or 41% of young people say the most important quality of a leader is the ability to communicate, well ahead of honesty (19%), confidence (12%), commitment (10%), vision (10%), or patience (8%).

However, young adults in Canada are more mixed about how they want their boss to engage with them in order to produce their best work.

  • Three in ten (30%) say they’d want their manager to listen to their ideas and value their opinions,
  • A similar proportion (29%) would like their manager to mentor them and give feedback regularly, more important for Gen Z (34%) than Gen Y (26%),
  • Two in ten (20%) want their manager to allow them to work independently, more important for Gen Y (24%) than Gen Z (14%), or give them meaningful projects that they care about (18%),
  • And just four per cent (4%) would most want their manager to use an online community to facilitate collaboration.

“It can be worrisome for employers to hear young generations described as disloyal, lazy and easily distracted. Employers who effectively meet their desire to be heard and actively involved will have the edge in keeping Gen Y and Gen Z engaged and eager to return to work each day. By making a few adjustments or enhancements to their organizational planning, employers will have these bright, young people bringing their skills, creativity and energy to their organization,” adds Tull.

From Y to Z. A guide to the next generation of employees. Are you ready for Gen Z?

About the Study: From Y to Z

These are some of the findings from an Ipsos Reid survey conducted between December 1 and 8, on behalf of Randstad Canada. A sample of 1,200 young adults (aged 16 to 34) was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance regional composition according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.3 percentage points had all young adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

Click here to order the study.

About Randstad Canada

Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. For more information, visit

Source: Randstad Canada