In memory of Beatrice Vincent (5th July 2000-11th June 2023)

I would like to introduce this blog. This was the last piece written by its author Beatrice Vincent, who very sadly passed away weeks after writing this very informative article. Beatrice had recently graduated from Exeter University and as a family friend, I asked her to write a blog about her generation- their expectations and visions of the world of work. A hugely interesting article that comes from a 22 year old and all the hours of research she undertook to complete this work. Thank you Beatrice.


The New Normal for Gen Z graduates Today

The Gen Z (those born between 1997 & 2012) are considered the most diverse and best educated generation thus far. For this blog, despite saying Gen Z, we only refer to those in their 20s. Their education has been greatly influenced by a pandemic, climate change urgency and political divisions. Not forgetting an ever-threatening war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis. They are growing up in an age dominated by technology and social media. Their influences are Instagrammers, rather than wise parental guidance. This generation is driven towards ethical and diverse businesses.  If the product or service being sold does not fall into their ever changing ‘woke’ morals, they would rather work elsewhere.

Since their first day of ‘proper’ employment, many 20-year-olds have sat at home staring at computer screens, listening to endless Zoom meetings, some without ever setting foot in an office. They know their colleagues by name, from the neck up, but have not met them face to face. Body language speaks volumes, but over a screen 99% of this is hidden. The effect of this new ‘norm’ of remote or hybrid working has had a huge effect on newly employed 20-year-olds. There is an urgent need to bond these employees together, with team building activities. As a 22-year-old graduate, I am living this experience.

back to the office how to transition back to the office

The Gen Z priorities when seeking employment.

Today’s graduates entering the employment market, have a definite list of must haves. They have a specific criterion, that the employer must meet. First priority, it must be well-paid, preferably 9-5, offering great multifaceted flexibility and an exciting, relevant, and varied training programme. Once their new, highly tuned skills and knowledge are acquired, they plan to easily get promoted, with great gusto. Be it with your business or another.

The challenges ahead

For every career hungry graduate, there are many who have no idea what to do next. They arrive full of enthusiasm from university, ready to take the world by storm. Instead, they hit a hard, solid, high brick wall. The disappointment of endless interviews, in a difficult job market, with unemployment rising, is disheartening. They end up lowering their goal posts, somewhat panicked, often applying for jobs they do not want. The lure of travel is tempting, but with the parental wallet now tightly shut, these graduates are already broke, already owing their bank up to £50k of university fees.

Covid -19 pandemic reaction by Gen Z

This is the generation that spent half of their university years, in isolation at home. Graduations, parties, freshers’ week, either cancelled or staged virtually. Some universities offered online tuition, but most lecturers opted for the furlough option. Leaving the rudderless Gen Z to, once again, fend for themselves. Then, to rub salt in the wound, once the universities finally reopened, the lectures staged month long strikes. Of course, the only people badly affected by these strikes, were the students.

Interestingly, the pandemic has changed how we work, and where we work, potentially forever. Most employees, where possible, worked effectively from home and have realised the huge saving in their time and finances. Not having to rush on to the 07:05 train every morning, organizing ever chaotic childminders to get their children to various schools. This older more experienced and established generation, have no intention of returning to work in the office, full time. They find that their work-life balance is much better without the long commutes and constant interruptions that accompany office work.

If given the chance to work flexibly, 87% of people take it. According to McKinsey Gallup, projections show 75% of remote-capable workers will be hybrid or fully remote over the long term. This is a huge disadvantage for the Gen Z, who have just recently put their foot in the office door, only to find the experienced managers, from whom they could watch and learn, are sitting at home.

Before Covid, the typical 9-5 in the office, with face-to-face meetings was the standardised way of life. This is not to say people never had fun, but for many, long hours and arduous work tended to be the only way to thrive or progress at work. One positive aspect post Covid, the work life balance has improved.

The Mental Health Situation amongst Gen Z

Today research shows that the mental health of Gen Z, is very alarming.

70% say their mental health is very poor. The Psychological Association report found that Gen Z’ers are more likely to report mental health concerns than any other age group. They feel emotionally distressed. This generation has been at the forefront of the world’s most dramatic events. A Global pandemic, Russian war,. Also, as they are almost permanently connected to some form of social media device, comparing themselves to the seemingly perfect people, posting their idyllic lifestyle. This has a huge negative effect on their self-esteem.

Burnout is still a major issue for Gen Z. They worry that their low pay does not enable them to have a good quality of life. Managing to save significantly less money than required in order to get themselves onto the housing ladder this milestone has been pushed back by years.

For the lucky few who have got the job they wanted and are interested in, they are still anxious. Redundances increase, pay fails to match the rising inflation. Gen Z are the most stressed employees in the workplace.

The transition back to the office has been difficult for many adding stress to Gen Z. With no experience of the dynamics of office politics, learning to perform as a professional colleague is new territory and very challenging.

Why Team Building Has Never Been So Vital to Business Development:

Introducing team building activities into the business, are crucial to bridge the huge chasm the pandemic has left. Team events release a lot of tension, mix employees together who may have never met face to face, thus hugely improving internal communication and work dynamics.

What do people in their 20s look for in employment in 2023? – Google Forms

The results below have been obtained from research, including surveys and statistics found online the analysis focused on the actual motivations and wish list amongst the Gen Z as they navigate their way, somewhat naively, into their first real jobs.

The most obvious first conclusion is that there has never been such a vital need to include regular team building activities. This is crucial to bridge the huge chasm the pandemic has left. Team events release a lot of tension encourage collaboration amongst colleagues who may have never met face to face. This boosts internal communication and builds bridges between previously segregated departments. It is paramount to remotivate, reward and connect.

From an employers perspective, you need to keep your staff motivated, to keep up morale and drive.

Crystal Team Challenge

Gen Z employees are motivated by:

  • Team activities: such as escape rooms, go kart racing, karaoke nights, sports day, private tours of Buckingham Palace, constructing wheelchairs for disabled dogs. Plus unique and exciting experiences, in the UK and abroad
  • Regular team meetings and events, including celebrating achievements.
  • Occasional free lunch and drinks
  • Christmas/ Summer parties
  • On-site gym
  • Free breakfast before work
  • Ski trips
  • Private health care

95% of  the Gen Z work force think that team building is important in enhancing the working environment.

How Will Team Building Affect Gen Z?

Team building helps make colleagues comfortable around each other. It lets them get to know people they would not normally socialise with. Individuals in a team, who know each other well, are more likely to work collaboratively with greater efficiency.

  • Team Building develops better relationships amongst colleagues, this motivates employees to stay in with the business.
  • It keeps good morale within a team.
  • It creates a comfortable and enjoyable environment to work in and share your ideas.
  • Employees work harder if they enjoy being there/like who they are working for.
  • To have fun and a new experience in and out of the office.

Employers needs to wake up to the ethics of the woke generation.

  • Gen Z look for diverse and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • They revaluate cost benefit analysis of traditional education.
  • They define diversity differently to previous generations.
  • Because Gen Z is more open to communicating mental health issues, they follow brands that are open about their commitment to self-care.
  • They appreciate brands that are passionate and believe in nonviolent social activism.
  • They are driven towards Employers that are ethical global citizens.
  • Some Gen Z’s choose ethics over money – prioritising social activism more than any other previous generation.

If given the choice of accepting a better-paying but boring job versus a more interesting but lower salary, 64% of people in their 20s would typically choose the latter.


What Gen Z expect Employers to provide:

They want all the usual perks, flexibility, good salary etc. However, they also expect popup 5-star restaurants cooking their dish of the day. An American bank took their entire work force to ski in the Alps for a week. The candidate I talked to, left their employment a week later. They expect free health and dental insurance.

The media employees I interviewed expected perks to include: unlimited holiday (40 days a year were the average taken), free food throughout the day, an alcoholic drinks trolley came round at 4pm most afternoons. Free therapists on site, pampering options and amazing team building activities. Mixed in with free gym membership and weekly jollies with the client. But (and this is a big but) the interviewee was contemplating leaving the company, as the client she services was not ethically sound.

Other benefits considered are weekly drinks with the employer picking up the tab, pizza nights in the office (a good employer tactic to tempt the staff to stay late). Christmas and Summer parties were a must.

Social media platforms used by The Digital Generation

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • Tik Tok
  • Text message
  • Linkedin

Social media is essential to the search for employment and careers for the Gen Z. Companies with a very active and positive social media presence, benefit from attracting the Gen Z as potential employees. The Gen Z are digital natives raised on social media and have always had the world at their fingertips. Their modes of communication with friends face to face or by social media is merging into one. They have a fantastic understanding of how to use of social media to boost their chances at employment.

(184) What’s Your Passion? | Keep it 100 | Cut – YouTube

The video asked one hundred people about ‘their passions, work life, and everything in between.’ LinkedIn partnered the video, so encourages bias.

But LinkedIn is additionally where a significant amount of people in their 20s look for employment opportunities . You can be a different personality outside of you daily job.

The Way Forward

Fundamentally it is important for employers to tick the boxes that people in their 20s are looking for when considering recruiting the Gen Z. This is a volatile, entrepreneurial generation. With many start up whizz kids, making their first million in their 20’s.

The Gen Z seeking employment, prioritize and seek moral employers. They need to sell a diverse product or service into an ethical market. However, they expect their own personal reward to include multiple perks.

Whilst the main motivation to work is high salary, it is not all that counts to Gen Z. Following a period when record numbers around the world, resigned from their jobs, there is also the ‘Quiet Quitters’ name given to those who have chosen not to go ‘above and beyond’ in the workplace.

National surveys show 60% of employees said they would not work for a company that did not share their values. 53% of these said even a pay rise would not tempt them to stay. 20% of professionals are currently considering leaving their employment. So, employers need to prepare for this disloyal, younger generation, by building a thriving, bonded team culture in their business today.

Hybrid working is the norm for most employees. Employers wanting to keep their bright sparks on their payroll, need to adapt. They do not want the valuable skills and expensive training invested in their Gen Z employees, to jump ship and give their expertise to benefit their next employer who could also be a potential competitor. Hence, there has never been such a need and demand for team building throughout the business, making the whole company work and grow together.

So, to keep a thriving team together, working in harmony, producing effective teamwork, an investment in Team Away Days / social events / team building activities will be a very worthwhile investment and will quickly pay for themselves and you will reap the rewards you strive for.