Survey finds Gen Z embraces curiosity, failure

As the newest age group entering the workforce, Generation Z will now be under the microscope of management and older generations. But according to new data, Gen Z may just be the easiest generation to work with.

This summer, Big Four firm Ernst & Young polled more than 1,400 Gen Z (those born from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s) individuals about their general workplace opinions at its annual International Intern Leadership Conference. Among the survey findings, 80 percent of respondents said that accepting failure in their work will ultimately help them become more innovative professionals, while another 17 percent said that failure will make them more open to taking risks.

“With the next generation of our workforce not afraid to fail in order to grow and innovate, organizations should create an environment that allows them to bring their ideas forward, fail fast, and then learn from that failure," stated Natasha Stough, EY Americas campus recruiting leader. "At EY, this means embracing values like inclusiveness, collaboration, openness and flexibility that best attract these candidates and encourage them to be fearless innovators once they join us.”

Over 70 percent of respondents reported that having a "curious and open mindset" is more important than a particular area of expertise. Another 24 percent embraced going outside of their comfort zone to take on a challenge.

“We are eager to watch Gen Z thrive as they enter the workforce,” added Stough. “By supporting a collaborative, team-friendly environment, organizations can successfully leverage this generation’s skills to manage and propel these forward-thinking individuals to solve the problems of the future.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 97 percent of Gen Z respondents are open to constructive feedback on a continuous basis or after completing a project, while 63 percent seek feedback over the course of the year.
  • A competitive salary is more of a priority for males (16.5 percent), while 22 percent of female respondents favor a more flexible work environment.
  • Over 90 percent of respondents favor a "human element" to teamwork in the form of innovative peers or co-workers and technology paired together.
  • 11 percent of males prefer new technology to get work done faster, versus just 5 percent of females.
  • 73 percent of female respondents would seek help from their peers when faced with a challenge; 63 percent of males agree.
  • 63 percent of respondents wish to work with a team featuring diverse education and skill levels. Another 20 percent believe cultural diversity is the most important team aspect.
  • 77 percent prefer a millennial manager over Gen X or Baby Boomers, while 68 percent of females and 67 percent of males also favor a manager of their own gender.
  • 65 percent of respondents feel they will be financially and professionally happier than their parents.
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