So what does being successful mean for Gen Z?
According to the report, which collated several pieces of research including interviews with 18-24 year olds from six countries (Germany, the United States, China, Peru, Nigeria and India), Gen Z’s definition of success means achieving emotional as well as financial goals.
As a generation that came of age during the insecurity of the pandemic and that is often defined by the amount of time they spend online, maintaining their mental health is a top concern. For Gen Z, an integral part of a fulfilling career is about achieving a healthy work-life balance—or even a complete work-life separation.
A 22-year German survey participant cited that the reason why it was important to her to maintain a healthy work-life balance was so “you can invest your energy in the things that bring you joy”.
However, prioritizing mental health does not mean that Gen Z candidates are any less ambitious when it comes to climbing the career ladder.
Gen Z are seeking financial independence at a time of uncertainty
According to GMAC research quoted in the report, one of Gen Z’s most critical goals is financial independence. It was found that 68% of Gen Z prospective business school students compared to 60% of millennial students embark upon GME education with the objective of increasing their income. In a global economy marked by uncertainty, financial stability is an important bedrock upon which to build a positive future.
“To me and my friends, the most important thing in our future is definitely money,” said a female participant, 19, from India. “We all want a quality life, and being financially stable is a very basic step towards it.”
They are also driven by a desire to prove themselves to their peers and family. For Gen Z, success is about having a positive impact on their workplaces, alongside setting goals and achieving them.
What should their future employers look like?
Members of Gen Z are more concerned than ever with the ethics of their employers. They value diversity, inclusion as well as an emphasis on employees and their mental wellbeing. One in three Gen Z is comfortable openly talking about mental health, which means that they value workplaces that will listen to their personal needs.
Additionally, almost a third of Gen Z say that a poor work-life balance contributes significantly to their stress and anxiety. Gen Z wants employers that cater for a healthy work-life balance, while also promoting teamwork and communication.
A 24-year-old female participant from the US said that she values her workplace because it “believes in collaboration and building up for one another, [being] supportive in each aspect of another’s aspirations. Success here is always trying new challenges, never staying in one place with a supportive team".
The ability to be flexible is equally an increasingly coveted attribute for many prospective employees. According to the GMAC research, about a third of Gen Z candidates said they wanted to work for a company where they can travel internationally or live outside of their country of citizenship. The Gen Z interviewees were also more open to growing their own business, with 30% of Gen Z wanting to start their own company compared to 26% of millennials. This number reached up to 40% of Gen Z in India.