Gen what? Debunking age-based myths about worker preferences

It’s no secret that the relationships between people and their work, and between employees and employers, have changed dramatically in recent years. The composition of the workforce is evolving, too, and quickly. As the youngest workers become an ever-larger share of the workforce—by some measures, Gen Zers could comprise more than one-quarter of the global workforce by 2025—it’s easy to turn to generational stereotypes for clues about what these employees, and their older peers, want from their work experience. Conventional wisdom supposes that different generations have different attitudes about work. But our research suggests that work preferences are more similar than different across age groups.

To understand more about how employers can improve their value proposition to attract and retain workers of all ages, we looked past broad generational labels to explore the specific work preferences and drivers of employment decisions across smaller, consistently sized age groups. The data suggest that employees of all ages are looking for many of the same things at work and largely quit their jobs or start somewhere new for similar reasons. One notable difference is that once employees are in a job, the retention factors that motivate Gen Zers to stay aren’t the same as those for other age groups.

For employers, some broader lessons have also emerged: let go of generational stereotypes, focus on the employment factors that matter across all ages, and take a nuanced approach to understanding how different factors interact and affect each individual’s decisions to stay or go, rather than applying a generic range of tactics to broad demographic segments.

Read the full article on McKinsey.