HR Leader logo
Stay connected.   Subscribe  to our newsletter

Flexibility is a green flag: The key to attracting Gen Z and Millennial workers

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read

The biggest green flag for Gen Z and Millennials on the job market is flexibility, and they’re willing to change jobs to secure it.

A recent report by Jabra has highlighted that flexibility is the top priority when it comes to changing jobs. This comes as 53 per cent of Millennial workers, 50 per cent of Gen Z workers, and 32 per cent of Gen X workers are expected to change jobs in 2024.

In the report, Gen Z was found to be the most likely to have the flexibility of workplace location as their number one priority when switching careers or jobs, with 35 per cent of Gen Z placing it at the top spot compared to Millennials at 31 per cent, Gen X at 28 per cent, and Baby Boomers at 26 per cent.


Working hours were also selected as a top priority, with 26 per cent of Millennials wanting that flexibility, not just settling for your basic nine-to-five. Close to half of Millennials (48 per cent) and Gen Z workers (45 per cent) reported feeling stressed and experiencing symptoms of burnout due to work.

Another headline takeaway was the fact that work/life balance continues to be a priority. More than a third (34 per cent) of Millennials revealed that keeping a work/life balance is among their primary measures of success at work, along with 26 per cent for Gen Z workers.

The prioritisation of flexibility can be related to the desire for workers to achieve a healthy balance. Work/life balance itself was ranked as a top measure of success at work for all age group workers, second only to a good salary, of course.

Therefore, the key incentive for employers should be flexibility. Across a range of reports, work/life balance has been the priority for workers, and that is achieved by having flexibility of location and/or working hours.

Employers, however, have become reluctant to grant the wishes of these employees because of the stigma that flexibility carries. Some employers believe that with flexibility comes additional challenges, such as managing distributed teams, keeping people engaged, and preventing employees from feeling isolated from the rest of their teams.

Solving this issue is becoming increasingly easier through the use of technology. Having calls, instant messaging chats, and email correspondence are the top factors that influence the feeling of connection workers across all age groups have with their peers and managers. For instance, 22 per cent of Millennials said having calls was the most important factor to their feeling of connection, while 40 per cent said instant messaging conversations were most important.

Therefore, excuses for limiting flexibility due to the challenges mentioned before are not really viable for employers. Michael Downey, marketing and communications director ANZ at Jabra, spoke to this: “Recent studies suggest that Gen Z and Millennials currently make up approximately 38 per cent of the global workforce — a percentage that will only rise in the coming years.”

“This is why business leaders must learn to understand the shift in worker mindset, attitudes, and values to unlock their full, collaborative potential, while also ensuring their collaboration technology is meeting the needs of the workers coming through the pipeline. Otherwise, they may miss out on tomorrow’s talent.”

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.