Millennials and Gen Z: How Do These Generations Differ in the Workplace?

Dec 23, 2019
| The Extensis Team
How do Gen Z and Millennials Differ?

One of the biggest business trends impacting employers is the shifting demographics of today’s workforce. Multiple generations now make up the workforce, with Millennials and Generation Z perhaps the most well known and talked about.

For employers, this trend has resulted in a greater emphasis on personalization and the employee experience. Each generation has their own preferences and responds differently to management styles and employee benefits to name a few.

Understanding how generations differ is incredibly important for business leaders, and new survey results from Korn Ferry show some of the perceived differences between Millennials and Gen Z.

How Do Gen Z and Millennials Differ?

Korn Ferry’s survey was taken by 796 professionals of all ages in August 2019. However, the results of the survey highlighted the differences between two generations: Millennials (born 1982 to 1996) and Gen Z (born 1997 to 2010).

First, the survey showed just how much these two generations differ when it comes to stress. 67% of respondents said Millennials are the most stressed at work, compared to 33% for Gen Z.

With workplace burnout now an official medical condition, this is something for employers to keep in mind.

Next, workers were asked to name the generation that is more motivated:
  • Millennials – 47%
  • Gen Z – 53%

It was also revealed that Gen Z is more optimistic about the future (60%) compared to Millennials (40%).

Mark Royal, a Senior Director at Korn Ferry, had this to say about Gen Z: “Beliefs that members of Gen Z are more optimistic may reflect the fact that they are new to the professional workforce and are ready to take on the world. However, another aspect may be environmental factors in their upbringing. We have seen nearly a decade of prosperity, and that is what members of Gen Z experienced in their formative years. On the flip side, Millennials are more influenced by living through the Great Recession, when many saw their parents lose their jobs as the economy tanked.”

What Do Workers Think About Gen Z and Millennials?

An interesting finding from the survey is that workers believe Millennials (58%) to be more motivated by compensation than Gen Z (42%). Similarly, most believe that Millennials are more motivated by fast career growth than their Gen Z peers – 65% compared to 35%, respectively.

Two results where the results are evenly split are valuing work-life balance (51% Millennials and 49% Gen Z) and the generation that is easier to work with (51% Millennials and 49% Gen Z).

However, the results show that employees believe these two generations differ when it comes to believing their work has purpose:
  • Millennials – 46%
  • Gen Z – 54%

Employers and Managers Need to Understand the Differences Between Generations

Surveys like this one from Korn Ferry highlight the differences that can exist between generations. Understanding these differences and how they can impact talent management is critical to boosting employee happiness and retention while also building an attractive company culture.

Failing to personalize HR and talent management strategies for employees can ultimately result in increased turnover and greater difficulties with attracting top talent to an organization.

How can outsourcing help small and medium-sized businesses overcome 10 common HR symptoms? Our eBook explains these HR challenges, and how partnering with a PEO can help overcome them!
10 HR Symptoms That PEO Can Cure