Study: Generation Z and Millennials would rather be unemployed than unhappy at work

Young workers often put their happiness before their careers.
Luis Alvarez via Getty Images

Nearly half of Generation Z and Millennials would rather be unemployed than unhappy at work, according to a study by recruitment firm Randstad.

Currently, young people put happiness at the forefront of their careers and want to find a job that suits them.

According to the study, employers have to adapt to the needs and ideas of younger generations so that they can fill vacancies.

Employers traditionally have more power over workers in the workplace. But that dynamic has changed. In today’s workplace power dynamic, Generation Z and Millennials have the upper hand, forcing companies to reassess workers’ needs, according to a new Global Workmonitor study by Randstad.

The study, of 35,000 workers, found that nearly two in four younger workers would rather be unemployed than be stuck in a job they don’t like. Currently, young people put happiness at the forefront of their careers and want to find a job that suits them. About 56 percent of Generation Z and 55 percent of Millennials said they would quit their job if it interfered with their personal lives. Nearly half of those surveyed said they would not accept a job at a company that did not align with their social and environmental beliefs.

These findings explain why employers struggle to find young talent to fill job vacancies. Our findings should serve as a wake-up call for employers. Randstad chief Sander Vant Nordend said in a statement that a clear shift in power was underway as people reassess their priorities.

Young people leave their options open

The survey found that 70 percent of workers are open to new job opportunities — 32 percent of Gen Z and 28 percent of Millennials said they were looking for a job. The data showed high confidence in the ability to find other jobs.

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“Young people want to put themselves to work, which is reflected in their determination,” Nordende said. This trend shows how employers face greater pressure to meet workers’ demands. Otherwise, they risk losing young professionals to other companies.

Businesses have to reorient themselves

“Companies need to rethink their approach to attracting and retaining employees,” Nordende said. One way is to offer better benefit packages that include flexible work, healthcare, and career development. The survey found that 22 percent of respondents actually receive higher benefits, including health care and pensions. Meanwhile, 71 percent said that being able to work from anywhere is important to them. 53 percent felt they did not have this flexibility in their current roles.

The study also showed that most young people want to work in companies that share their personal values. Two out of five survey respondents from Generation Z and Millennials said they wouldn’t mind receiving a lower salary if it meant making a targeted contribution to society.

Diversity and inclusion are also a priority for the younger generation: 49 percent of Gen Z and 46 percent of Millennials said they would not want to work for a company that is not committed to the field. The report questions how employers will deal with this new shift in power dynamics. One thing is clear: the younger generation is not afraid to keep options open and leave a job if their expectations are not met.

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This article has been translated from English by Klemens Handke. You can find the original here.

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