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  • Writer's pictureRonnie Ray

The Impact of Generational Shift

The global workforce has been undergoing a significant generational change, with Gen Z and millennial workers projected to reach nearly 75% share by 2025. This evolution has been accompanied by a shift in values and expectations, impacting the workplace in a variety of ways. The degree of change is further accentuated in knowledge professions, where technology is either the work itself, or is a core enabler of doing the work.


One of the primary changes that younger workers are bringing to the workplace is a focus on work-life balance. Flexibility in work schedules, remote work options, and the ability to maintain a healthy balance between personal and professional lives, is high on the list of priorities.

  • A July 2022 McKinsey study cites flexibility to be the second highest motivator (40%) just behind salary (41%) as a decision factor for employees to continue to stay in a job.

In recognition, employers have increasingly offered flexible work arrangements including hybrid and remote working and variable scheduling options, so workers can choose how and when they work. Remote working and telecommuting reached its peak during the pandemic, with many employers now trying to coax or even mandate workers back to offices. Yet, given the push from younger workers, the share of remote work will continue to remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels.


Another important generational shift is the increasing importance of shared culture. Younger workers place a high value on working for an organization where they feel like they are part of a community and can be themselves. Progressive organizations are in response creating environments that are more collaborative, open, and transparent, as well as emphasizing diversity and inclusion. They are also investing in programs and initiatives that foster a sense of community and belonging. For example, mentorship programs or social events that help build stronger relationships among workers are becoming more of the norm.


Younger workers are also bringing a new set of values to the workplace, including a desire to have greater purpose and meaning in their work. They want to work for organizations that have a positive impact on society, while being aligned with their personal values.

  • Employers have responded by creating more purpose-driven workplaces, where employees can better connect to the direct impact of their work.

  • They are also investing in social responsibility programs, such as volunteering and charitable giving.

However, given the hierarchical structure of most organizations, ensuring that individual workers feel supported depends a lot on their managers and the immediate team environment. Meeting the need for purpose is much harder to orchestrate at this unit level and needs experimentation with management visibility and organization structure.

Career Development

Finally, younger workers are also driving a shift in how employers approach career development. They are looking for more opportunities for growth and development within their jobs, and are less willing to stay in a job that does not offer such potential.

  • While data on younger workers being more open to changing their jobs has been mixed, the fundamental shift is that millennials and Gen Z's want to be more in charge of their careers.

Coupled with the desire for more flexibility and purpose, the traditional model of employer's dictating career progression is giving way to a higher level of autonomy and voice in initiating career and role changes.

In Conclusion

Overall, the modern workplace is in the throes of change, driven by technology and the increasing fluency of younger workers to live and engage with it in new ways. While employer attitudes will tend to revert to the mean, like in the case of remote work, the path to the future is more flexible, more purpose-driven, and more fundamentally independent than for generations earlier. The advent of AI based knowledge tools that promises to reduce drudgery and elevate the share of creative work is bound to incentivize further change. Continuing to follow this trajectory will be undoubtedly exciting!


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