Millennials and Gen Z employees: how to place them in the world of work

Looking to attract Millennials and Gen Z employees? Here’s what they look for in a job.

Today’s workforce is made up of age-groups from different generations and each generation brings a different dynamic to the table. Through life experiences each group is associated with, certain characteristics are typical.  

We believe that life experiences shape our world-view and our behaviour in distinct ways. For this reason, there is a need to understand each generation’s dynamics in order to place individuals where they’ll be best utilised within the workplace.

A generation usually spans 15 years, so it is possible that up to four generations are present in your work environment. Those over 40 are probably in management, so we will focus on millennials and Gen Z.

Understanding Millennials

Born between 1981 and 1996, the oldest are turning 40 this year, and the youngest are in their mid-twenties. Millennials are primarily known for being the ‘digital natives’ – the first generation that grew up around the internet and mobile devices. They exude confidence in the workplace, they’re very ambitious and highly driven by achievement, which they equally expect from their employers.

Millennials take an assignment-based approach to work, and they seek out new challenges more than previous generations, many of whom were brought up in a culture where job tenure was encouraged and comparatively, more common.

This generation thrives on collaboration; team-work is a no-brainer for them. They just want meaningful tasks that allow them to grow and utilise their creative skills. That also means the environment from which they work must be relaxed.

So, open plan work areas with bean bags in the corner and a kitchenette from which to enjoy some coffee and $3.99 mini muffins ordered online from places like will be most welcome. Google, Airbnb, and HubSpot all nailed this strategy.

Also known as Gen Y, millennials will definitely challenge the status quo to come up with innovative solutions to any challenges they face in the office. If anything is rigid and doesn’t suit them well, they are not afraid to walk out the door, and they will keep doing so until they’ve found their perfect fit. Salary alone will not keep them grounded, they value benefits more.

What kind of jobs do Millennials prefer?

So, what kind of jobs are preferred by this lot?

  • Web developer
  • Marketing research analyst
  • Marketing specialist
  • Advertising and promotion manager
  • Statistician
  • Digital Marketing manager

Introducing Gen Z

 From 1996 to 2010 a new breed of tech-savvy individuals was born. Gen Z, or the iGeneration as they’re known, this group of young professionals is more daring than the millennials. Because they were exposed to technology since birth, Gen Z employees are hyper-cognitive and the best informed across any age group. They are innovators and entrepreneurs with strong opinions and a desire to be heard.

Gen Z may not be much younger than Gen Y, the millennials, but they bring a slightly different work ethic. They bring loyalty, ambition, and a desire to improve the world in which they’re working.

They care more about work-life balance and personal well-being, with a salary holding less importance. Because they were born into a world of technological efficiency, they are used to top-notch online customer service experience so they will demand excellence even from their employers.

Compared to millennials who want to share their workspace with co-workers and form strong connections, Gen Z members are more independent, preferring to figure things out on their own. The iGeneration is more competitive and focused on individual success, prioritising control of the end product of their work.

What kind of jobs do Gen Z prefer?

Where then do you place Gen Z in the world of work?

  • Software development
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Audio engineer
  • Sales person
  • Accountant

Though these differences exist, each generation brings something uniquely valuable to the workforce. By taking time to understand what they have to offer, you can identify key training and development opportunities that will align to their unique strengths, and also benefit your organisation in the long-run.