Gen Z face unique career challenges according to new research

Gen Z face unique career challenges according to new research
Gen Z is far more likely to call out sick from work …
New York Post / VideoElephant

There is often discourse about the generational divide between Gen Zand their older counterparts, particularly in the workplace where they are failing to communicate as Career Echo Chambers stunt growth, according to new research from LinkedIn.

The world’s largest professional network has revealed a huge gulf between Gen Z and older generations in the workforce and Career Echo Chambers could be to blame.

Although nearly all professionals work in multi-generational environments, 1 in 5 Gen-Zers haven’t had a direct conversation with someone over 50, and 40% of those over 55 haven’t spoken to a Gen Z colleague in over a year.

Consequently, this limits their exposure to different perspectives and means they’re losing out on valuable learning and development opportunities.

Better communication is needed and 70 per cent of Gen Z that this could improve the workplace with increased productivity, learning opportunities and team morale.

While the majority of professionals know they have a lot to learn from other generations (74 per cent agree), nearly a fifth (17 per cent) don’t know how to approach colleagues of other age groups.

The tendency to exist within a professional vacuum is also exacerbating skills gaps and outdated perceptions of all generations, with Gen Z at risk of suffering the most.

What is the challenge Gen Z face?

Gen Z are well-documented advocates for work-life balance and are financially driven, but are often at the receiving end of criticism for their apparent unrealistic expectations of work.

However, the research from LinkedIn suggests that these views are unfounded and stem from a lack of communication and misunderstanding among workforce generations.

Professional development is top of mind for Gen Z as 61 per cent say a stable and secure career is their biggest priority in life, while 4 in 10 say opportunities for growth and learning are the biggest priority when evaluating a company’s culture and values**.

Young professionals recognise the importance of networking to build their careers, but as a generation who entered the workforce amongst hybrid and remote workplace settings (all thanks to the Covid pandemic), they are missing out on informal observations and vital cues that traditionally guide behaviour, collaboration and networking.

In fact, half (50 per cent) of all employees recognise that professionals who started their careers during the pandemic need additional support with developing soft skills, such as communication, leadership and empathy.

Gen Z is the least likely to feel confident interacting with other generations (50 per cent), which is perhaps why almost two-thirds (64 per cent) want companies to do more to encourage and foster intergenerational workforces.

LinkedIn Career Expert, Charlotte Davies, says: “With the world of work evolving at a rapid pace and skills for jobs expected to change 68% by 2030 globally due to AI, there’s never been a better time to encourage professionals to learn from each other and break out of their career echo chambers.

Multigenerational workforces provide access to diverse perspectives, knowledge and insights that can help young professionals in particular make sense of the world of work and gain confidence. In fact, as the fastest growing audience on LinkedIn, Gen Z are increasingly turning to LinkedIn’s supportive community for guidance.”

Here are some tips from Charlotte to help young professionals break free from their Career Echo Chambers:

  • Seek opportunities to communicate with other generations: Leave your preconceptions at the door and encourage yourself to engage with other generations in the workplace. Actively listening to colleagues outside of your cohort can help avoid assumptions about different generations and their attitudes to work, build trust and rapport and allow you to learn from each others' experiences. LinkedIn data also shows communication is the most sought after skill from UK employers. There are plenty of free resources available to help, including Communication Foundations from LinkedIn Learning.
  • Find a mentor: Consider asking your manager for a mentor from an older generation. A good mentor can further your professional growth by helping you develop specific skills, set career goals and connect you to people and opportunities. Mentoring can help bridge generational differences in the workplace and help generations who are decades apart better understand each other. More experienced professionals should also consider reverse mentoring to connect with younger generations. Take a look at Reverse Mentorship Essentials for helpful tips.
  • Lean into your online professional network for support: Tap into your LinkedIn community for career know-how and advice on growing your career by building connections and following people you want to learn from. You can also take advantage of LinkedIn’s Collaborative Articles to tap into expert voices and diverse perspectives on a wide range of professional topics and make work, make sense.

The research comes as part of LinkedIn’s ongoing efforts to show how its supportive community of 1 billion members can help young professionals make sense of the world of work through:

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