Oops… Something is wrong with your browser
The Chrome or Safarii browser is recommended for the correct display of the form.
Blog

Gen Z – How will the “entitled generation” change the workplace for the better?

They are tech-savvy individualists. In life, they value honesty and openness, whereas at work, they expect balance, respect and the opportunity to create real value. Some employers consider them to have a demanding attitude, while they themselves say they expect nothing extraordinary. Who are “zoomers”, what are their expectations of life and how are they changing the labour market?

Generational change in the labour market

People born after 2000 are entering the labour market. At work, they meet the other economically active generations – baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, or millennials. These generations differ in almost everything: from their living situations, to their approach to work and expectations of their employers, to their definition of success and goals in life.

Globally, generations are dependent on generational experiences and the situation in their countries of origin. For example: a Polish boomer from the deep communist era experienced a very different reality than baby boomers from the United States, who grew up in a time of economic growth. Clearly defining and describing these generations on a population-wide basis is therefore difficult. However, conventional time frames and characteristics have been developed to differentiate between them.

Who are the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z?

The oldest economically active generation is the generation of baby boomers, that is, people born just after the war, until the late 1960s. Currently, these are people between the ages of 50 and 60 who are characterised primarily by attachment to the workplace and the belief that hard and diligent work is enough to achieve financial stability in life. However, representatives of this generation may have trouble finding their way in the world of the latest technologies and trends.

Shortly after them, Generation X - people born from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s - entered the labour market. Their generational experience is the experience of political transition in Poland. It is said that this is why they are career-oriented and strive to accumulate wealth. At work, they display independence and individualism.

The next generation are the millennials, or Generation Y. These are people born in the 1980s and early 1990s, growing up in the atmosphere of optimism around Poland’s accession to the EU and the opportunities resulting from globalisation. However, they also experienced the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the economic crisis. At work, they pursue self-development. They value work-life balance and their private lives. They also believe that employers should play an active role in creating a better environment.

The youngest generation in the labour market today is Gen Z, born in the late 1990s and 2000s. They are tech-savvy and their online presence is as important to them as the one in the real world. They value diversity, are also socially engaged and expect the same from employers. A large part of them are only entering adulthood. Some combine professional life with higher education, with a considerable number living in rented apartments or rooms.

Gen Z – the generation of crises

What kind of employees “zoomers” are is influenced by their environment. To better understand them, it is useful to first look at the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Representatives of Gen Z, as people growing up in a world of constant change and global challenges, experience a lot of anxiety. They are sometimes referred to by many as the “generation of crises”, which - although they affect all generations - in the current situation weigh most heavily on Generation Z. For some of the “zoomers”, such events include, for example, the global crisis of 2008, which they experienced as they watched the struggles and injustices that affected their parents.

The climate crisis is also no small matter. Gen Z is more aware of climate change than previous generations. While previous generations worried about the future of their children, Generation Z is thinking less and less about having them at all. Observations of recent years and predictions by scientists show that the Earth may be an increasingly unfriendly place. At the same time, “zoomers” do not see an adequate and decisive response from the authorities. For this reason, they are involved in environmental movements and are trying to make informed consumer choices.

The housing crisis is also one of the most important factors determining the lives of this generation. There is a shortage of about 2 million apartments in Poland alone, and those that are built often end up in the hands of private investors and are rented out.

Gen Z is a generation that not only can’t afford to buy their own apartments, but is also experiencing rental problems. Most representatives of this generation have had to combine studying with a full-time job since their first years of independence, and the cost of housing often reaches almost half of their monthly paycheck. For this reason, it is a generation subject to extremely strong social pressures. They are called “the most stressed generation”. They are also the age group most vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

Despite these challenges, Generation Z is also full of determination and commitment to change for the better. They are engaged not only in fighting crises that directly affect their lives, but also strive to create a just future without racial, gender or economic social inequality.

“Entitled generation”

The approach of Gen Z to work is strongly determined by their life situation. Unsurprisingly, the generation that has seen their parents overworked does not want to repeat their mistakes. Gen Z also doesn’t see the point in sacrificing their private lives to save as much money as possible during their first years of work, since this money won’t allow them to buy an apartment anyway. Instead, “zoomers” value peace of mind as well as flexibility and stability of employment.

For this reason, Generation Z is sometimes considered to be an “entitled generation”. It is said that representatives of this generation do not want to work and that they only care about money. They are also accused of selfishly putting their private lives above everything else and having too little attachment to their employers.

It is the “zoomers” - as the only ones among those in the labour market who are so active in social media - who have spoken out about certain trends related to approaches to working life. We are deliberately referring to publicity here because they are repeatedly credited with setting trends and concepts such as “quiet quitting”, “bare minimum Monday” and “snail girl”. Even if the phrases were used for the first time, the behaviours themselves are nothing new.

The notorious “quiet quitting”, as seen by employers, merely refers to an attitude that involves performing contractual duties only during working hours. It stems from the observation that being available outside of working hours and above-average productivity do not improve the employee’s situation at all, but only contributes to exploitation by adding additional responsibilities.

The term “bare minimum Monday”, on the other hand, refers to the assumption that on Mondays one performs only those duties that need to be done immediately, usually by the end of the day. This is a way to avoid difficult returns to work after the weekend and is meant to allow a smooth start in the new week.

Gen Z is also picked at for the “snail girl” concept, which, simply put, is the opposite of the “girl boss”, a trend that assumes that life is meant for pursuing a successful career. Those who follow this approach most often devote their entire lives to work and see it as a supreme value. Contrary to its misleading name, “snail girl” does not mean careless and too slow in performing one’s duties. On the contrary: this trend is all about getting back to doing the duties that are clearly defined in the contract.

Some also say that one of the problems with Generation Z is their approach to finance. Its immediate effects include the demand for pay equality and transparency. If these are not met, Gen Z changes employment. What’s more, “zoomers” value not only their time by not applying for jobs that do not state the salary offered, but also their finances, which they would like to protect by ensuring pay transparency. The situation in this regard will change in the coming years. By 7 June 2026, Poland has to implement the provisions of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) on strengthening the application of the principle of equal pay.

The “problem” with Generation Z in the labour market also stems from the narrative pushed by a (thankfully increasingly small) group of employers, which expect workers to work beyond the norm. It is through them that a discourse has developed that conscientious performance of duties is reduced to a “bare minimum”. The emergence of “zoomers” in the labour market also redefines the notion that the employee is subordinated to the employer. The mere fact of hiring a person is not a favour, but a transaction that benefits both the employee and the employer. It’s obvious to previous generations, but it is Gen Z that is starting to speak out about it.

Ultimately, the goal of Generation Z is not to make irrational demands, but to secure decent working and living conditions. “Zoomers” are even louder and more persistent in fighting for what previous generations fought for. They are also able to name the phenomena that have existed for many years. They don’t want to relive once again what previous generations experienced, and - thanks to globalisation and social media - they have the right tools to speak out about what they are fighting for.

Gen Z at work demand from each other and from employers

The above description clearly shows that Generation Z - though plagued by crises and inequalities - is not indifferent. The case is similar in the workplace, where, as employees, “zoomers” both voice their expectations and are eager to deliver the expected results.

Born with phone in hand

They are characterised primarily by being tech-savvy. These are people who grew up in a world of evolving technology. Their natural ability is to learn how to use new tools faster and be able to adapt to them. They can efficiently use publicly available tools to obtain quality information. They also excel in social media, which is their primary communication tool.

Balance

Gen Z representatives don’t want to live to work. Instead, they would like to have a job that allows them to make a decent living and develop outside of it. For this reason, they value the convenience of flexible working hours and the ability to work remotely, which helps them maintain a work-life balance. However, they are not willing to give up office work altogether because they value interaction with others.

Sense of purpose

Gen Z representatives do not want to be mere cogs in the machine or contractors detached from the results of their work. They are more willing to engage in duties that allow them to produce real value. They don’t want to do a job whose purpose is work in itself or merely an increase in the company’s value. Instead, they prefer to contribute to something bigger, such as making a difference in the lives of consumers. They want to be in charge of shaping the reality.

Such measures also help protect them from occupational burnout. To achieve this, companies need to tailor career paths to the requirements and skills of Gen Z, which no longer want only to climb the ranks of corporate jobs.

Mental well-being

Representatives of Generation Z are also aware of the importance of their mental well-being. This generation speaks clearly about its problems, and is not afraid to ask for help when needed. In this regard, they expect their employer to understand and support them, such as through subsidising various forms of assistance.

Teamwork for individualists

Although these two things sound mutually exclusive, paradoxically this is the best description of the working environment for Gen Z representatives. According to the Deloitte report, young workers value independence, but do not want to isolate themselves from others. Part of this has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a complete shift to remote work and caused many people to completely lose touch with others.

Development opportunities

To attract Gen Z, employers must also be ready to develop new forms of management and leadership that are based on support and mutual communication. Representatives of Generation Z as employees do not want to be led only. Instead, they expect cooperation based on their needs, and leaders who will take their opinions into account. Gen Z wants to be heard and take responsibility for their professional development.

Is it worth meeting Gen Z’s expectations?

The expectations of Generation Z may seem difficult to meet. They concern not only the organisation of work, but actually the entire philosophy of the company: from the approach to the employee, the formation of relationships with them and the idea of their development, to the business philosophy itself.

Above all, Generation Z expects an honest approach to the employee. Employers must ensure appropriate ways to attract and develop talents. What matters is an approach that focuses on the employee’s strengths and allows them to realise their full potential.

For employers, meeting Gen Z expectations is not only profitable for the sake of the employees themselves. It is worth remembering that satisfied specialists work more efficiently and bring more benefits to the company.

Gen Z expects things that in the long run will benefit the entire company: being fair to employees, investing in their development, and creating positions that allow them to generate real value.

Add comment

      e-mail address will not be published
            Comments
            (0)

              Most read Handy guide