The 21st century workforce has a very clear list of demands from its business leaders.

Gone are the days when the workforce bows down to what the boss wants, no questions asked. Nowadays, because the cards have turned and we now live in a world of possibilities, the younger generation have several options to consider when looking for a job.

The Entrepreneur notes how Generation Z includes people born after 1996, and that this group currently makes up 32 per cent of the population and 11 per cent of the workforce globally. And these numbers are swiftly growing, so much so that by 2030 the percentage of Gen Zs in the global workforce will hit 30 per cent.

Here are five characteristics that the 21st century workforce looks for in a job and a leader.

  1. A sense of purpose

They need to feel that what they are doing fits into the grand scheme of things and that the organisation has a valuable purpose. “Amid rapid climate change, they also want their employers to be aware of global warming’s negative externalities and take steps to mitigate their own contributions to the crisis,” The Entrepreneur notes of Gen Zers . And they expect their leaders to have the same sense of purpose and lead by it.

  1. A healthy and flexible working environment

The younger workforce also looks for leaders who provide a healthy and flexible working environment, whose aim is not the hours they put in doing a task, but the quality of the task itself. They also appreciate leaders who respect time off and who go above and beyond to prioritise hybrid and remote work schedules. “Flexible employers that respect these boundaries are more likely to attract and retain more Gen Z talent.”

  1. A sense of belonging

Gen Zers are used to using the internet and they understand the importance of establishing relationships through online communication. As a result, they also want to feel connected to those people they spend their days with. Employers can facilitate this by organising team building activities and other types of events allowing their teams to get to know each other over and above work.

  1. Diversity

The younger generation also wants the companies they work for “to have teams and leaders representing a wide range of cultural, political and intellectual perspectives.” This is also seen in a company’s approach towards personal and professional development.

  1. Innovators and entrepreneurs

We discussed of the importance of business leaders to inspire their workforce. In fact, Gen Zers want leaders who are innovators and entrepreneurs and who are not scared to share these skills and this knowledge with those who look up to them.

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