Generation Z Attitudes About the Workplace During COVID-19: An Exploratory Survey
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Generation Z—those born between 1995 and 2012—have begun to enter into the workforce at a rapid pace. Although they will make up a significant portion of the workforce within the next few years, little research has been done regarding their work preferences and attitudes, especially whether and how they have been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to analyze the workplace experiences, expectations, and preferences of Generation Z, an exploratory survey was distributed to undergraduate students at Texas State University. We found that while most participants were very comfortable with personal technology use, many were uncomfortable with technology use in a professional setting. In terms of work benefits preferences, students preferred healthcare over retirement benefits. We also found a relation between success with online courses and work setting preferences, such that students who were doing better on online courses preferred jobs where they could work from home. Finally, we discovered that although COVID-19 greatly impacted students’ academic experiences, the pandemic did not significantly impact their optimism about their futures. Our study was limited by the fact that we had no pre-COVID data and that our demographic breakdown did not fully capture Generation Z. Future directions could include expanding the survey nationwide and following participants over multiple years to see if their preferences and experiences stayed consistent.