Student News

What Gen Z and Millennials Want from Part Time Jobs

It's not all about ping pong tables and work life perks.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

February 20, 2020

What Gen Z and Millennials Want from Part Time Jobs
Move over, Boomer. The Millennials and Gen Zers have officially taken over the workforce. Today, Millennials comprise a majority of the workforce, and Gen Z is right behind them, according to PR Daily. With their growth, there has been a significant shift in workplace environments and benefits. Just take a peek into Facebook’s headquarters. You’ll notice ping pong tables, coffee shops and creative maker spaces. Additionally, policies relating to extended paternity leave and paid sabbaticals are becoming the norm at large, global companies, like Eli Lilly and Bank of America. Though it looks as if these newer employees just want to have fun, their work ethic and what they really want from their jobs prove that looks can be deceiving. And this isn’t just about full-time, post-graduate opportunities either. Millennials and Gen Z believe that every job is important, especially those foundational, first part-time jobs. Here is what they’re looking for as they start their career:

They want flexibility.

Millennials and Gen Z want to be able to work from anywhere, anytime, reports PR Daily. That’s why “side gigs” or “hustles” are so prevalent amongst these young workers. Employers that work in “side hustle” sectors looking for part-time employees would be remiss in dismissing students. For one, they want the work – and are eager to prove their worth. Secondly – and practically speaking – they have the ability and endurance to work long or late hours. Additionally, school is just as important to them as work, and they want employers who understand that their schedule needs to have some elasticity. They need an employer who is empathetic to midterms and finals, giving them time off if they require more hours in the library than at work. Millennials and Gen Z: When you interview for a part-time job, be up front and honest about your status as a student. Ask about flexibility and your student schedule. You don’t have to commit to the first job for which you interview. Find an opportunity that works for you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions that represent what you’re looking for in a job.

They want to be seen.

Young they may be, but Millennials and Gen Z want to feel valued at work, regardless of the role they’re filling. To them, everything they do is an investment in themselves and in their future. With that, they want to feel seen and heard at work. This means they want 1-on-1 time with their boss or supervisor, says Millennial Boss. They want constructive criticism that will enable them to grow professionally. Finally, they want praise for their hard work, ideas and contribution to the team. Millennials and Gen Z: Don’t be afraid to communicate with your boss or supervisor. Take the initiative to meet with them about your performance on a regular basis. Ask them what’s working, what you could improve upon as well as any ideas you may have to make the work space and the team better. You may be new to the team or the “lowest on the totem pole,” but you have just as much value as any other employee.
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Millennials want growth opportunities.

Though much of what Millennials and Gen Z want from both full-time and part-time jobs is similar, there are ways in which they differ. And while every employee in the workforce wants growth opportunities, Millennials are especially motivated to advocate for themselves and seek out new and better jobs if the one they’re currently working seems like a dead end. Essentially, they are not happy with the status quo. Millennials are always curious about how they’re doing and what they could improve. Millennial Boss states, “They may find the standard manager feedback such as ‘“you need more time in the role to be promoted’” or ‘“keep doing what you’re doing’” as not sufficient.” Millennials: Make it a point of communicating your desire for growth and improvement from the start – this means during the job interview. Explain to the hiring manager or supervisor that you value feedback and constructive criticism in order to mold you into a better employee. Once you’re hired, if your boss or supervisor doesn’t provide you with a clear cut plan about how to be promoted or recognized, ask for guidance. Chances are, they will appreciate and value your mentality and drive.

Gen Z wants stability.

Surprisingly, Gen Z could care less about all of the frills at the workplace; they crave stability. Anna Blue, co-executive director of Girl Up, summed it up well in an interview with Forbes last year: “Gen Z was most directly affected as children by the economic crash that started in 2008. They are the generation who watched people around them lose jobs, lose homes, lose their 401(k)s and retirement accounts. They want something that feels safe because of what they witnessed. So they’re more interested in salary and benefits and things like that.” In addition to stability, PR Daily reports that Gen Z seeks a clear career path, mission and money. Basically, they know what they want, and they’ll find the job or the company that provides it. Gen Z: Your desire for stability sounds like loyalty to a potential employer. As you market yourself in part-time job interviews, be sure to provide examples of your reliability. But don’t be afraid to put the hiring manager on the spot by asking what’s in all of it for you. Explain to them your desire for a successful career path, a company that stays on brand and on mission as well as appropriate compensation for the role(s) you will hold. Gen Z and Millennials shouldn’t be written off just because they crave open communication, work life balance and an interactive community at work. Their desires for stability and growth lie at the heart of their need for a fun, engaging work environment. They simply want to feel like they belong somewhere and that there is value to their work. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what everyone wants from their job?
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