A new study claims a vast majority of the young people in the workforce do not want a return to full-time, in-office work days when the coronavirus pandemic ends.
The study, conducted by Citrix in partnership with Coleman Parks Research and Oxford Analytica, looked at the work habits and preferences of the so-called “Born Digital” generation. The “Born Digital” generation is made up of Millenials, i.e. those born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen-Z, those born after 1997.
The group of young workers are the “first generation to grow up in an entirely digital world,” the study notes, and will soon make up the vast majority of the global workforce.
Of the 2,000 respondents interviewed in the study (750 Gen-Zs and 1,250 Millennials), over 90% said they do not want to return to full-time office work post-pandemic, and instead prefer a hybrid or staggered approach to re-entering the physical work space.
That 90% is made up of employees in three categories, with 51% of respondents saying they would prefer to work from home most or all of the time. Another 18% would like to split their time between home and office, with more time spent in the workspace, and 21% would like an even split between home and office work.
The remaining 10% said they wanted a full-time return to office work post-pandemic.
But the study, which also interviewed 1,000 business leaders from across the globe, found a disconnect between bosses and their younger employees, as nearly 60% of employers who responded believed their Gen-Z and Millennial employees would want to return to the office full-time.
“These young employees are different from previous generations in that they have only ever known a tech-driven world of work,” Donna Kimmel, executive vice president and chief people officer at Citrix, wrote in a statement. “To shore up their future business success, companies must understand their values, career aspirations and working styles and invest in their development.”
Other studies have found similar answers from young respondents. According to PwC’s March Workforce Pulse Survey, both Millenials and Gen-Z workers prioritize the ability to work from home over potential future earnings.
“Nearly half of Gen Z (45%) and millennial (47%) employees surveyed said they are willing to give up 10% or more of their future earnings in exchange for the option to work virtually from almost anywhere,” the study found in part. “In contrast, 38% of the Gen Xers and only 14% of boomers said they would accept smaller pay increases.”
Those numbers lower slightly for young employees in urban areas, where respondents say they are interested in “spending time in the office to build professional relationships.”
Overall, PwC found young workers equate at-home time with personal wellbeing.
According to PwC, Gen-Z appears the most willing to “give up some of their future earnings for things like extra time off or dedicated time for volunteering.”