Gen Z: A Paycheck Is The “Bare Minimum” Of What Work Should Provide

For young workers, there is a big disconnect between what they need and what employers are offering.
  • For young workers, work is a place to find meaning, mentorship, and growth. 
  • However, there is a big disconnect between what workers need and what employers are offering. 
  • Gen Z are not only looking for good bosses; they’re looking for mentors and coaches that will help them become the best version of themselves. 

The way new workforce generations look at work is dramatically different than previous generations. 

For past generations, work was a place to get a job done. For younger workers—especially Generation Z—work is a place to get a job done, but also a place to find meaning, mentorship, and growth. 

In other words, “work is increasingly the site where people’s identities are lived out.” What does this mean for employers? 

Springtide’s latest research Work/Life: Helping Gen Z Flourish & Find Balance dives deep into how Gen Z currently feels and thinks about the workplace. What the research found is that Gen Z is not only anxious about work, but that there is a big disconnect between what they need and what employers are offering.  

“[T]he workplace (has) consistently emerged as a space of misunderstanding and disconnect when it comes to what young people want and need today—especially compared to their peers in previous generations.”  

Gen Z’s expectations about work are not being met; and something needs to be done about this.  

Work Has to Do More for Gen Z to Thrive  

The report found that a third of Gen Z is worried about work/life balance, with 33% saying they are worried about having to work excessive hours in order to succeed in their field of choice. As a result, almost half believe they don’t have time for hobbies.  

“[This] uptick in working leaves less time and fewer resources for outside pursuits: hobbies, passion, leisure, and more.” 

Work is such a huge part of young workers, that 3 out of 4 say that what they do for a job is a part of their identity. 

This means that more time doing work means work needs to do more to help people flourish both personally and professionally. 

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    “The days of relying on work to simply provide a paycheck, while spending free time on more fulfilling pursuits, are rapidly disappearing—if not gone already. Though they hope for more than a paycheck—including meaning, mentorship, and growth, among other things— young people today understand a paycheck as being the bare minimum of what work should provide.” 

    A big part of work doing more is for companies and leaders to truly care about their employees. 82% say it is important that their future boss/supervisor cares about their life and can relate to them as a person, not just talk about work. 

    Gen Z are not only looking for good bosses; they’re looking for mentors and coaches that will help them become the best version of themselves.  

    “Young people who have mentorship, meaning, and growth in their lives—that is, who have strong relationships with people who practice care (in a variety of ways), who are growth-oriented, who want to make a difference in the lives of others, and who seek meaning and purpose—are more likely to report that they are flourishing.” 

    Flourishing at Work: What’s Missing for Gen Z? 

    Doing meaningful work is only part of the equation for Gen Z; 74% of Gen Z want to work for an organization that enables them to help others. 73% of them say they are more likely to do extra work when they believe in the work they are doing.  

    The other part of the equation for Gen Z is to find meaning at work.  

    “Young people today want whatever organizations they join to reflect and uphold their personal values. When it comes to work, many are seeking spaces that are integrated with the other aspects and values of their lives. They want jobs that will help them contribute to the common good, but they also want stability.” 

    So, what’s missing for Gen Z to flourish?  


    Organizations can help Gen Z flourish by creating opportunities for mentorship, meaning, and growth.  

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