Only 19% of Gen Z's would work for companies that share their values. A recent report by Lewis found that when evaluating an employment opportunity, company value is the second most important factor with personal growth opportunities still holding the top spot.
Gender and race were identified as the top qualities of diversity by Gen Z, emphasising the need and expectation for appropriate programmes and commitment within companies.
The Gen Z population is said to be prioritising values above all else when considering future places of work. The results from the APAC region reveal that 65% of the population believe company values are more important than that of the CEO or leader of the company, and
55% said they would not work for a company that is not gender or racially diverse only if it had a strong diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programme.
The study also revealed that 47% said that if two candidates had the same qualifications, they would be in favour of the candidate that results in greater diversity in the company. Their expectations on leading DEI efforts fall on senior management at 34% followed by HR at 31%.
The global research conducted by marketing agency, LEWIS, was conducted in support of the global HeForShe movement. Global head of HeForShe, Edward Wageni said that the research revealed how important DEI programmes and positive social impact are to Gen Z and that leaders of today have the responsibility of making clear commitments about how they will progress these topics. "By ignoring societal issues, they will fail to connect with almost an entire generation," Wageni said. The HeForShe movement was created by UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
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Results also show 41% of the group think being innovative is the most important quality in a CEO, followed by determination and creativity, marked at 39% and 29% respectively.
50% of respondents in APAC also believe CEOs should be judged by their ability to innovate and be an industry leader, followed by 38% valuing their commitment to solving social issues.
Failing to prioritise values and social causes will not serve companies, or CEOs, well. “The next generation are quickly moving into the workforce and they want to be heard,” CEO of LEWIS, Chris Lewis, said. “It’s clear that Gen Z prioritise values above all else – companies that don’t understand or reflect that will find themselves struggling to attract and retain the best talent,” Lewis added.
Separately, in a study done by Sandpiper Communications in April this year, 81% of respondents in Australia and Singapore said sustainable development was their major concern. In terms of the pillars of the sustainable development goals, Gen Zs across all markets were most concerned by environmental issues (86%), followed by social issues (84%), and economic issues (83%). The issues with the most overall concern were decent work and economic growth and reducing inequalities, which concerend 90% of Gen Z in Asia Pacific, followed very closely by climate action at 89%. Among issues with the highest levels of significant concern, climate change ranked first, with close to one third (30%) of Gen Z in the region saying this causes them significant personal concern.
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