Gen Z and Millennials: Values are shifting and changing the future of work

The world of work is changing and so are the values of the new Generation Z (1997 – 2010) and Millennials (1981 – 1996). Earlier this year, Kilpatrick Executive Search conducted a survey in Italy to provide an overview of the values that matter to Generation Z and Millennials in their work. The results of these surveys were mentioned by our CEO Cristina Spagna in an article in Il Sole 24 Ore. To provide a broader picture, we continued the survey in the Americas, Europe and Asia with responses from 755 people. In this article we will shed light on values, compare the different generations around the world and offer some data on the labor market from our own consultants.


Overview of the values that matter to Generation Z and Millennials in their work

The survey asked respondents to rank the following values from most important to least important:

  1. Development paths (growth plan in the company, international exposure, job rotation);
  2. Involvement and continuous feedback
  3. Company mission/vision (sustainability, diversity, inclusion, etc.);
  4. Remuneration and meritocracy (salary, bonuses, travel reimbursement, etc.);
  5. Training (webinars, online training, external training, on-the-job training);
  6. Work-life balance (flexible schedules, vacation, smart work, hybrid work, etc.); Work-life balance (flexible schedules, vacation, smart work, hybrid work, etc.); Work-life balance (flexible schedules, vacation, smart work, hybrid work, etc.);


Global Overview

If we analyze the global data for both Generation Z and Millennials, we see that in the United States they attach much more importance to a good work-life balance, while in Europe and Asia “Remuneration and meritocracy” is still in first place, but closely followed by a good work-life balance. While in Europe and Asia, mission and vision are more important, in the Americas, development paths are more important.

On the other hand, if we look at the difference between Millennials and Generation Z, we see that after work-life balance and remuneration and meritocracy, the latter value the company’s mission/vision more, while the former value the availability of development paths more.

So, overall, if we look at the full data, we see that compensation and meritocracy still slightly dominate, but work-life balance, mission and vision, and then development pathways follow quickly in degree of importance.



What do we see of this in the headhunting process?

 Alessandro Battini, Client Manager, and Alessandro Ruffini,, Junior Consultant, from Kilpatricks’ team in Italy, describe a change in perception among job seekers in Italy and Europe. They note that individuals place more importance on work-life balance and are less willing to make major sacrifices, such as relocating far from home or spending a lot of time commuting. As a result, candidates are looking for more sustainable alternatives to balance both aspects of their lives, with greater demand for flexible work arrangements such as smart working. Meanwhile, the prospect of changing jobs is increasingly becoming a risk, with those who do so expecting a high salary increase. Companies should offer salary increases of around 20-30% of the candidate’s current salary package to attract top talent. Of course, growth within one’s career is still important, but this is related to the economic growth mentioned above.

As a headhunter with the Kilpatricks team in India, Linda Joseph , has observed a marked shift in the attitudes and perspectives of both organizations and candidates. The younger generation of millennials increasingly prioritizes work-life balance in their career decisions, valuing a healthy work environment that allows for personal growth along with professional development. In response, many companies have embraced greater diversity across all levels and functions, a trend that has been reflected in the success of placement efforts.

Candidates are now more clear and direct in their communications and expectations when looking for jobs. They are looking for companies that do not encroach on their personal lives, recognizing that work efficiency and productivity do not necessarily correlate with long hours or strict office work. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations in Asia, especially in the technology sector, have adapted to hybrid work models, with positive results in terms of employee motivation and performance. The workforce of the millennial generation is results-oriented and therefore places great importance on remuneration, flexibility and career advancement opportunities.

In addition, Carlos Gomez, of Kilpatrick Mexico noted that millennial candidates place special emphasis on their sense of purpose and belonging. He argues that candidates are targeting companies and roles that are consistent with their long-term goals, both professionally and personally. By recognizing the commonality of certain values, such as development paths, corporate vision and work-life balance, candidates evaluate their job prospects from a more holistic perspective.

In addition, Lizeth Lopez, Hilda Martin and Perla Murillo, from Kilpatrick Mexico, gave some specific insights. Lizeth points out that if the commute to work is long, candidates do not even consider the option. In addition, Hilda states that especially within this generation, candidates prefer goal-based jobs rather than metrics or hours of work. Lastly, Perla shares that not only monetary compensation matters, but also benefits in a contract, such as gym memberships, food stamps, flexible vacations, and health insurance.


Change with the future of work

The values of Generation Z (1997-2010) and Millennials (1981-1996) are changing and reshaping the future of work, as evidenced by Kilpatrick Executive Search’s global survey and the experience of Kilpatrick headhunters. As an employer, it is important to take note of these changing values and adapt your practices to remain attractive. In addition to enabling your company to take these changing values into account, turning to a headhunting firm can help. Thanks to Kilpatrick’s global experience, we can find the candidate that fits the profile you are looking for and conduct negotiations to find a match.


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