HRCap's 6 MZ Generation Career Categories

Understanding Their Unique Career Trends to Attract & Retain Top Talent


Written by HRCap, Inc.

November 10, 2022


Coined in South Korea, MZ Generation is a term that groups both Millennials (born in 1981-1995) and Gen Zers (1996-2012). This budding generation will soon become a majority in our global workforce, and they will continue to expand as many more graduate from school.


However, there is a growing concern about how to retain workers in both generations, especially because the average tenure for Millennials is 2.8 years and for Gen Z is 2.3 years, while for Baby Boomers it is 8.3 years and Gen X is 5.2 years.



In this blog, we will take a look at six unique MZ Generation Career Trends that our Managing Director, Stella Kim presented at the Global HR Forum 2022 and provide data-backed insights for winning over and retaining the MZ Gen in the workforce.


[Related: HRCap Presents at Global HR Forum 2022 in Seoul, Korea]



HRCap’s 6 Unique MZ Career Categories



The first career trend unique to the MZ Generation is their tendency to resign from their most recent position to embark on their self-sufficient, entrepreneurial journey. MZ Gen has dreams of starting their own business to have more control over their lifestyle and obtain a sense of autonomy. Regarded as the “most entrepreneurial generation ever,” 62% of Gen Z indicate they have started or intend to start their own business. This is further supported by the fact that 68% of new arrivals to independent work are millennials or Gen Z.


A 2022 Microsoft study shows that Gen Z is evolving the small business owner landscape by redefining workplace hustle, setting priorities, repaving the road to retirement, and diversifying their education paths. For example, 82% of Gen Z Small Business Owners (SBOs) cite that prioritizing social good has helped their business grow and 52% say it has improved their mental health. As for education, 65% of Gen Z SBOs use TikTok as a resource to gain business knowledge, compared to 33% of SBOs across all generations.




Our second trend observes how the MZ Generation has prioritized reskilling to strengthen their market value amid the rising war for talent. MZ Gen now regards learning and development as highly essential to strengthening their personal brand. According to the 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 76% of Gen Z and 51% of Millennials view learning as key to success in their career.


Although many Gen Z SBOs do not believe a college education is necessary to run a business, there are still many Gen Zers and Millennials that are pursuing higher education. According to a 2022 LaneTerralever study, 38% of Gen Z and 33% of Millennials have plans to apply to graduate school to advance their career. In general, there has also been a recent surge in online MBA enrollments since the pandemic.


This reskilling and upskilling trend is also evident across all generations. According to a 2021 BestColleges survey, 12% of workers are considering learning new skills, while 43% learned new skills related to their current job.


[Related: 5 Benefits of a Winning Learning & Development Program]




Our third trend indicates how the MZ Generation prioritizes mental health and work-life balance by taking breaks or creating boundaries between work and personal life. To avoid getting burnout from work, they look for ways to preserve their mental well-being. Some are taking the approach of “Quiet Quitting,” which is doing only what is required of them and not going the extra mile.


[Related: All-In-One Solution to Quiet Quitting]


On the other hand, others are considering resigning from their current position altogether. According to a 2022 Deloitte report, 35% of Gen Z would quit their current job even without having another job lined up, while Randstad Workmonitor reports that 40% of Gen Z would rather be unemployed than be unhappy working in a job they didn’t like. To combat burnout and promote employee well-being, companies are implementing a sabbatical program for full-time employees.




Another unique trend among the MZ Generation is their tendency to gravitate toward companies that hold shared social, political, and environmental values as they do. In the 2021 E&Y Gen Z Segmentation Study, 63% of Gen Z believe it's important to work for an employer with shared values. 77% of Gen Zs consider it highly important that their company supports DE&I efforts.


In fact, 3 in 10 college graduates won’t bother to apply for a job if there is no mention of the company’s diversity statement in the job description.


[Related: Corporate Social Responsibility: Making Purpose-Driven Models]




Another trend is the MZ Generation leaving their most recent job in less than a year to work at another position that provides benefits and recognition based on their performance and talent.


Due to recent economic inflation and recession, MZ Gen is prioritizing their journey toward financial security. In fact, among Gen Z’s cited job search priorities, 62% place higher salaries at the top, and 46% look for a better benefits package. Therefore, many MZers look for greater compensation and nontraditional benefits at companies. According to the 2021 YPulse, “What’s Next For Work Trend Report,” some nontraditional benefits that MZers look for are the following:

  • Free Meals in the Office

  • Casual Dress Code

  • Games in the Office

  • Team Happy Hours/Events

  • Office Holiday Parties

  • WFH/Work Remotely

  • Unlimited Vacation Days

  • Cold Brew Coffee on Tap

  • Coworking Spaces

  • Open Office Layout

  • No Hierarchy Orgs

  • Team Volunteering

  • Standing Desks



Our final trend points towards another strategy the MZ Generation has adopted to combat financial anxieties. On top of looking for more competitive salaries, MZers are diversifying their income streams by working multiple jobs, also known as polyworking. According to a 2021 Polywork study, 64% of young professionals reported polyworking or wanting to polywork. This is because U.S. median home prices have increased 157% from 1960 to 2021, whereas the U.S. wage growth has only increased by 6.21% from 1960 to 2022. Hence, there is an urgency to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.


This trend is gaining momentum, as statistics predict that by 2027 86.5 million people will participate in the gig economy in the U.S., making up 50.9% of the total U.S. workforce.



Recommendations: How to Recruit & Retain MZ Gen


By identifying the motivations and expectations of the MZ Gen, companies can incorporate the following methods to create a strategic approach to attracting and retaining MZ Gen.


1. Message Them


Companies can send personalized messages to reach out to potential candidates and get their attention. According to a 2022 Handshake survey, 89% of Gen Z students and recent alumni want to receive proactive messages from employers.



2. Meet Them Before They Apply


By opening up opportunities for potential candidates to see employers, candidates can gain a better understanding of the company’s atmosphere and values. 85% of Gen Z students and recent alumni said they prefer to attend employer events before applying for a job.



3. Improve HR Processes and Corporate Systems in Place


Companies should consider what MZ Gen values and looks for in a company. With a better understanding of such, companies can optimize their HR processes and corporate systems by thinking through the following:


4. Ensure Line Managers Lead with Empathy


Leaders should work towards meaningful and sustained change by providing increased access to mental health resources. With widespread burnout levels, employers should identify causes and support leaders and employees in its prevention to promote an improved employee experience.


Employers should also embed new modes of working that provide flexibility without impacting personal connections, mentorship, and learning & development. Great leaders enable people to be themselves for better engagement and diversity while creating an environment that encourages discussion about mental health concerns without fear of judgment (Deloitte).



Conclusion


HRCap communicates with more than 1,000 candidates on a daily basis regarding recruiting and career changes. Through these interactions, HRCap understands what candidates’ priorities are during their job search and post-placement experiences, across all generations.


It is predicted that the MZ generation will make up 27% of the workforce in OECD countries by 2025. By empathizing with the upcoming Millennial and Gen Z generation through a nuanced understanding of HR trends and expectations, HRCap is able to work closely with client groups to help attract candidates and retain employees of the MZ generation.


All companies should work to not only recruit but also retain the future generation of the workforce. Through this, we can work towards a more resilient talent system and drive a sustainable multigenerational workforce culture in 2023 and onwards.



Sources: HRCap, Careerbuilder, Fast Company, WP engine, MBO Partners, Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, LaneTerralever, AACSB, Deloitte, Randstad, CNBC, EY, TalentLMS, Monster, Boundless, OECD, Trading Economics, Statista, Handshake, Business News Daily