Millennial and Gen Z workers reshaping the idea of work

Reshaping the idea of work

“Entitled.” “Picky.” “Strawberry.” — these are just some common thoughts of employers after their interviews with millennial or gen Z candidates. Observers say that millennials and gen Z workers are reshaping the idea of work.

The tables have turned 

Armed with knowledge and networks, millennial and gen Z workers are going for interviews ever more prepared. Apart from presenting what they can offer to the company/organization, Millennial and gen Z workers are ever more concerned about their employment rights, entitlements and privileges. 

It takes two hands to clap 

Beyond what they can offer to employers, millennial and gen Z workers are looking at what employers can offer them and meet their tangible and non-tangible needs. 

The pandemic upended our lives and gave us time to re-evaluate what is important to us and how we can potentially do things differently — but with the same result with minimal compromises.  

Work is no longer just work — millennial and gen Z workers are redefining work. Should work be around one’s life or should life be around one’s work?  

Flexibility — My life, my way 

If possible, many millennials and gen Z workers have abandoned the idea of a fixed contract, 9 – 6 jobs (with possible overtime). With Covid-19, we’ve learnt that many meetings are unnecessary, and work can be streamlined and done remotely.  

This presents a double-edged sword for employers as well – they can hire candidates internationally to fulfil their business objectives, but at the same time, remote work is giving companies a run for their talent pool which is rapidly shrinking. Millennials and gen Z workers get to work remotely for other companies if flexible work is what they want!  

More than wages 

So, really — millennial and gen Z workers are looking beyond just the basic salary in the offer letter, but more about the kind of holistic package that the employer can offer confidently. If millennial and gen Z workers find out that they have been somehow ‘duped’ after signing the employment contract, you can be sure that they would be the first to leave — and employers can expect being called out on LinkedIn about their false or failed promises. 

Employers speak 

Employers confess that it has been difficult to hire and retain their talents. Some say that millennial and gen Z candidates coming for interview with unfair expectations on the employer — for example, higher salary for a job with ‘normal’ working hours.  

Employers are also more reserved towards giving millennial and gen Z workers what they want because they have not seen what they can really offer, and what they can produce when unsupervised. This is especially true for fresh graduates stepping into the workforce, regardless of how stellar their academic achievements may be.  

To be fair… 

Employers have seen youths that have managed expectations, are willing to work hard and learn. Remember, not all apples are bad — this applies to both employers and employees. To all employers and employees, do your research and preparations and evaluate each candidate/employer critically and make the decision that your heart speaks to. 

NTUC embarks on year-long engagement to understand work-life aspirations of Singapore’s youth

About Author

A young Singaporean concerned about issues workers face. As humans, we spend a third of our lives sleeping and recharging, and another third for our personal life, and the last third at work (based on a 24-hr distribution). That's why we should pay attention to issues surrounding work.