A global report*, with research from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), looking at the attitudes and motivations of Generations Y and Z* towards employment, technology adoption and brand interaction. The new report, titled ‘Digital contagion, trust and social influence: The technological and cultural impact of a new generation’ identifies trends amongst these two generations, looking at the impact of digitalisation in both a work and non-work setting.
LSE began this primary research in 2010 and the report also includes 200 face-to-face interviews held in 2022 with Gen Y and Z cohorts across the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway.
It’s Not All About the Money
The study shows that the newest generations to enter the workplace are rethinking what they want out of jobs and employers. Hybrid working and flexibility outrank salary as the top factor when choosing where to work. That preference is 10% higher among the younger Gen Z participants, reinforcing the generational shift from salary to freedom. Lack of engagement from companies, poor management and career advancement, as well as a desire to travel, are key reasons why Gen Z and Gen Y quit their jobs. ‘Helicopter’ management, strict hours and poor communication were the main criticisms of leadership teams.
Communication and Collaboration are Standard
Easy-to-use technology is an expectation for the youngest generations in the workspace – unsurprisingly, the perfect workplace tech consists of a laptop combined with social media and instant messaging capabilities and collaborative apps, such as Slack, Teams and Zoom.
However, Chatbots and AI capabilities were listed by respondents as ways to improve employee engagement, as well as offer more self-service options to carry out simple tasks. Gen Z and Gen Y both stated that they wanted to see omnichannel contact used for support, placing an emphasis on real-time messaging, suggesting that these new generations seek instant assistance and real-time answers.
Emails are Cancelled
Today, social media is the primary method for how Generations Y and Z prefer to engage with brands. In fact, nearly twice the amount of Gen Y respondents (compared to Gen Z) cited influencers as key factors in their purchasing decisions. Smartphones are the way to purchase products, and text heavy websites drive down engagement. While participants
state that brand trust, authenticity and personalisation is key, high prices, poor experiences and lack of or poor-quality IM/chat for customer support remain major turn-offs.
“The first few truly digital generations are gaining independence and entering the workplace – our latest report, in partnership with Freshworks, highlights how attitudes have shifted in recent few years,” said Dr Alexander Grous, lecturer and researcher from the Department of Media at LSE. “To truly harness the potential of the first generations who don’t know a world without tech, we need to properly understand their motivations and attitudes. Only then, can businesses offer these new techno-files exactly what they want in both a professional and personal environment. Businesses armed with this information must be prepared to act now or die.”
“If businesses really want to tap into the right talent, they need to know what makes them tick – both Gens Y and Z want immediate engagement with brands and colleagues, expecting real-time response times making chatbots and AI a standard expectation, and need,” said John Crossan, Vice President & General Manager of Europe. “Long response times and clunky chat features are being routinely rejected.”
This study draws on primary research undertaken to date by the LSE Team on digitalisation since 2010, including during the pandemic, on core areas of expertise – digitalisation, Gens Y and Z behaviour and management practices. In addition, it includes primary research conducted through face-to-face interviews, with a sample of 200 Gen Y and Gen Z cohorts from five countries: the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway. Gens Y and Z behaviour analysis and predictive modelling to establish 10-year trends.
*Generation Z encompasses those born between 1997-2012, aged between 10-25 while Generation Y, Millennials, are born between 1982-1996 and aged between 26-41.
*Research from Freshworks Inc