Why do you want money? Is it because you want to own a big house, big car, big yacht, big island? GenZers want money just as badly. But they want it for a different reason.

Most of us feel under pressure to make money. For Boomers about 30% of them say they feel pressure to make money and be a success. For GenZ (those born 1995 to 2015) that figure is double, at 60%.

So from this you might deduce that GenZ are a grasping bunch of greedy youngsters obsessed by money and what it can bring. But the key here is to understand what money signifies to GenZ. It’s not the big physical items, it’s not material possessions.

It’s comfort, safety, security. We have to remember that this isn’t a generation brought up in the relative safety and luxury of their predecessors, the Millennials. Gen Y, the Millennials, were brought up to think everyone was a winner, you could be whatever you wanted to be, it was going to keep getting better. What did GenZ see growing up?

They saw 911, they saw the 2008 global financial meltdown which impacted family and friends for real, they saw entire industries and careers turning to dust, they saw the rise of homelessness even/especially in cutting edge cities like San Francisco, they saw the climate changing perhaps more than it should.

If we can put ourselves in their trendy trainers just for a moment, it’s not hard to see why GenZ have such a drive for stability and security. Once that key point is grasped, then the rest should fall into place.

So if you want to attract the best GenZ candidates, a decent salary is clearly going to be needed, but that is just the start, not the end. You’d imagine, when we’re talking about people in their teens and early twenties, that party time would be high on their agenda, but the data says otherwise. Would you believe that 12% of them have already started saving for a retirement plan? Or that the average age when GenZers start to research financial planning is 13?

So, if you want to attract a GenZer, there’s now a decent salary – which you have to be able to justify – and a pension plan of some sort. And, when you’ve finished shaking your head, understandably, at that thought, we get to the next thing. Which is the personalisation of everything.

Whatever other benefits are on offer – health club, flexitime, whatever – it needs to work for the individual, to be tailored to their tastes and likes. That sounds like simple pampering, but this is not a generation you can ever address an impersonal bit of junkmail or anything, and expect to get away with it. They know that technology can do the heavy lifting, that it’s not difficult to make the impersonal personal, and they’ll demand it.

But, above all, if you want to employ a high-quality member of GenZ, there’s one thing above money, above pension, above the fancy gym. And that is for the work to genuinely offer passion and purpose. For GenZ that has a value above mere money.


“They are perhaps the most brand-critical, bullshit-repellent, questioning group around.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are Millennials on steroids.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are self-starters, not selfie-takers.”

Lucozade Energy report

“Millennials– Self-centred. Generation Z – Self-aware.”

Ernst & Young

“Generation Z characterises itself by highlighting the need for passion and motivation in their work.”

Claire Stradling, Manager of Charities and NFP