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News » Gen Z prioritizes life over work amid employers’ broken promises

Gen Z prioritizes life over work amid employers’ broken promises

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — An expert on the future of work says that Gen Z is prioritizing living over working because they have seen “the legacy of broken promises” from employers.

Ravin Jesuthasan, global leader for transformation services at Mercer consulting, told Business Insider that Gen Z has “some very different attitudes to work” compared to previous generations. 

“I think they have more of an attitude of work to live as opposed to live to work that many of us grew up with. This is particularly true in the West. They have seen the legacy of all these broken promises,” said Jesuthasan.

“In the old days and in many parts of the West, they would promise you if you worked for 30 years, you have this defined benefit pension, you have retiree medical care, etc. None of that exists today.”

Jesuthasan explained that Gen Z is one of the first generations that won’t have more wealth than their parents or grandparents. They have already lived through huge disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There was this expectation that the tail was bigger. And we took on liabilities and obligations early on because of that tail. I think this generation has seen that tail dissipate.”

Unlike past generations who worked for decades expecting job stability and retirement benefits, Gen Z has seen those promises broken. Jesuthasan said Gen Z believes “I’m only as good as the skills I have” and “the value I’m delivering today.”

Gen Z has faced criticism for wanting to work less. New York University professor Suzy Welch cautions that Gen Z’s embrace of remote work could limit their career growth. Intelligent.com also revealed that nearly four in 10 employers in the United States avoid hiring Gen Z who are “unprepared for the workforce.” 

On the other hand, Glassdoor describes Gen Z as “caring deeply about community connections, about having their voices heard in the workplace, about transparent and responsive leadership, and about diversity and inclusion”. Gen Z is poised to overtake Baby Boomers this year as the most populous generation in the U.S. workforce.

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