What is Gen Z? And What Do They Want from Work and The Office?

Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2022, is expected to make up 25% of the global workforce by 2025. 

This demographic shift is already having a major impact on the recruitment and retention landscape. What are Gen Z’s unique wants and needs for the ideal workplace?

Decision Lab and Dreamplex, a leading management consulting firm and a coworking space provider in Vietnam released Vietnam’s first report on Gen Z and the workplace in 2021. 

The report, based on a survey of over 260 Gen Z and Millennial workers in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, provides valuable insights for HR managers and business leaders on how to attract, recruit, and develop Gen Z talent.

Find out why Gen Z employees love Dreamplex?

#1 Gen Z is more passionate about learning than money.

Gen Z prioritizes opportunities for experience and learning over money, reflecting a shift in values and aspirations from previous generations.

This generation values personal and professional development, with 44% of survey respondents expressing excitement about learning new skills and 21% about learning new knowledge when starting a new job.

The focus on skills and knowledge of gen Z can be attributed to a number of factors. First, the digital age has made information more accessible, encouraging Gen Z to seek continuous learning as a means to stay competitive and relevant. 

Additionally, having witnessed economic turmoil and job market volatility in their early working years, they fear unemployment and see skill acquisition as a means of self-protection.

Our research reveals a stark contrast between Gen Z and Millennials in Vietnam. Unlike the younger generation, Millennials prioritize salary and benefits in the workplace.

This difference is understandable, as Millennials typically have heavier financial responsibilities. In contrast, Gen Z focuses on skills and knowledge, reflecting their desire for adaptability and self-improvement. 

Recognizing these distinct motivational factors allows companies to design and deliver job opportunities that are more relevant to each generation.

Lan, a young and vibrant Gen Z job seeker, said: “The goal isn't to have a job, but to learn something new. We want to not fall behind our peers, but the most important thing is that we feel like we're growing and developing.”

#2 Gen Z is more comfortable communicating through text and online platforms than in person.

Growing up in the digital age, Gen Z is comfortable using technology and communicating digitally. 

Texting, video chatting, and social media interactions are all part of their lives. This presents a challenge for traditional companies that still rely on email and in-person meetings, raising concerns about whether these methods are aligned with Gen Z's communication style.

Statistics show that only 8% of Gen Z prefer in-person communication, with the rest preferring instant messaging as a supplemental tool. This is in contrast to Millennials, 10% of whom prefer video chat. Recognizing and adapting to these preferences is important because effective communication is key to attracting and retaining employees.

To attract Gen Z, companies need to embrace digital channels, offer real-time communication, and provide quick feedback. This will help to improve communication, foster innovation, and create a satisfied workforce.

#3 No matter what, always be open to feedback. 

Gen Z is known for their independence, but they still crave feedback. Over 90% of Gen Z want feedback at least once a week, and 19% even want it daily. This is a stark contrast to previous generations, who were often content with less feedback.

Driven by the desire to learn and grow, Gen Z sees feedback as essential to achieving this goal. They are open to feedback, rather than avoiding or being defensive. When asked what feedback they would like to receive from their managers, most Gen Z respondents said, "areas for improvement."

#4 Gen Z dream of being in a startup

Gen Z is creative and competitive, actively seeking uniqueness not only in their personal lives but also in their careers. Departing from conventional corporate paths, an impressive 63% of Vietnamese Gen Z dreams of being in a startup, with 1 in 4 already made their hobbies into side businesses.

Their desire for uniqueness has fueled the emergence of distinctive startup ideas among Gen Z entrepreneurs, with an astonishing seven out of ten startups being spearheaded by individuals under the age of 30.

In addition, young professionals now view working for startups as a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. This shift in perception has transformed startup employment from a previously perceived risky and unstable career choice into an exciting and worthwhile endeavor for the Gen Z workforce.

Gen Z entrepreneurial spirit

#5 What is an ideal office for Gen Z?

Gen Z is demanding when it comes to their ideal workplace. They want a flexible, inclusive, and collaborative environment. They also want a comfortable, professional, and creative space. In addition, they are looking for a workplace that supports work-life balance and mental health.

Companies that don't offer hybrid work options, track employees' every move, and micromanage their employees may have a hard time attracting and retaining Gen Z talent.

Find out why Gen Z employees love Dreamplex?

“Comfort is so important to us. I want to be able to be myself, to do what I like, not to be constrained by existing stereotypes. And we don't want anyone to judge our look or our way of working.” – My, ‘98, HCMC

Companies that want to attract and retain top talent need to create a workplace that supports work-life balance and mental health. They also need to invest in creating a well-designed office that is professional, collaborative, and inviting – coworking spaces are perfect for this.

Gen Z and the Workplace

In conclusion, understanding the unique motivations of the Millennial and Gen Z workforce in Vietnam is essential for talent recruitment and development. 

To learn more about the findings and recommendations of this research, please refer to the report "Gen Z and the Workplace", which provides valuable guidance for creating a workplace that aligns with the aspirations and preferences of this dynamic generation.

About Dreamplex

Dreamplex creates “A Better Day at Work” by perfectly meeting the needs of rapidly growing companies that understand their young employees expect more from their workplace.

With professional, flexible workspaces, top-notch hospitality services, and a collaborative community for mutual growth, Dreamplex helps businesses work productively while optimizing operational costs.

Join the community with tech experts and startup founders from Vietcetera, TIKI, Zuhlke Vietnam, KMS Technology, at Dreamplex’s flexible office spaces in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.


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