Gen Z Is Taking Over the Great Resignation — Here’s What That Really Means for Everyone Else

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April 15, 2024 at 11:3PM UTC

Gen Z is antsy to quit their jobs for something new. According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, a quarter of Gen Z employees intend to leave their current job in the next six months. A study by Lever said that 65% of Gen Z is ready to leave by the end of this year.

This compares to 23% of millennials, 18% of Gen X and 12% of baby boomers who want to leave in the next six months, and 40% of the total population who’s ready to leave this year.

This doesn’t necessarily speak to this generation’s character as much as they are often entry-level looking to level up. It’s the same way that someone in an older generation is less likely to leave not necessarily because of their age, but instead because they have seniority and built up a good work reputation. 

Yet Gen Z’s move to quit does speak volumes about what they care about at work — and how their feelings might cause a shift in the entire workforce.

Last year, most of the talk about the Great Resignation was focused on both people leveling up and protecting themselves during the pandemic. In a survey from Joblist, the most common reason people wanted to quit was how their employers treated them during the pandemic; the next was because of low pay or lack of benefits.

While many Gen Z’s are quitting for these reasons, the most common reason Gen Z’ers are anxious for another role is to find a position that better aligns with their values or interests. 

It’s not that Gen Z is more mission-driven than other generations; rather, their relationship to work is different because it is heavily defined by working through — or even starting their career during — a pandemic. 

“They had so much taken away from them in terms of access, you can go on and on with what has been lost,"  Lauren Stiller Rikleen, president at Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, said in conversation with Insider. “That reframes your thinking ... you start to think about what's important to you and how to express [that].”

Not only are companies going to be asked to up their pay and their benefits, and offer remote work or flexible options. They’ll also need to be clear about their values to attract and retain the right younger candidates. 

“Culture determines how work gets done, but values show how companies prioritize, make decisions, and reconcile conflict,” senior leadership coach Kristi Hedges writes in Harvard Business Review’s “How to Tell If a Prospective Employer Shares Your Values.” “A culture may celebrate innovation, but values determine what gets sacrificed in the pursuit of it.”

Attracting and retaining younger workers isn’t just about including a mission statement on the job description, but rather showing candidates — and current Gen Z employees — the company’s strategy when it comes to achieving goals, setting standards and addressing employees’ needs. 

Gen Z isn’t quitting because they want massive changes in the workforce. Instead, they’re looking for transparency when it comes to company values — which is something all generations can benefit from.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Zoe Kaplan is a Staff Writer & Content Strategist at Fairygodboss.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for determining if a company matches your values? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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