The landscape of work is undergoing a dynamic shift, particularly among the youngest members of the workforce, as evidenced by a national survey conducted by Resource Solutions, a leading provider of workforce and advisory solutions. This comprehensive survey included 2,000 working adults, revealing significant changes in career perceptions and the frequency of reskilling among the newest generation of workers.

Gen Z, the latest generation to enter the workforce, exhibits a unique approach to career development. The survey’s findings indicate that individuals from this generation expect to switch industries at least three times during their working life, a frequency higher than any previous generation. This expectation highlights a significant departure from traditional career paths, where long-term tenure in a single industry was more common.

A striking 73% of Gen Z respondents are open to accepting a substantial pay cut or a lower position to secure a more fulfilling career path. This statistic contrasts sharply with the attitudes of previous generations. Only 24% of Gen X and 36% of Baby Boomers would consider jeopardising their career progression for greater job satisfaction.

The Pursuit of Fulfilling Careers

While job fulfilment seems to be a priority for Gen Z, with two-thirds planning to leave their current roles by 2025, older generations demonstrate a stronger inclination towards long-term employment. Approximately half of the Millennials and Boomers aim to remain with their current employer for five years or more. Gen X shows the highest employer loyalty, with 64% hoping to stay with their employer for over five years.

The consensus among employees, regardless of generation, suggests that staying in a role for an average of two years and nine months is appropriate before considering a job change. However, this duration shortens for younger generations to around two years. In light of these findings, Resource Solutions urges employers to revise their talent attraction and retention strategies to align with Gen Z’s career aspirations.

Adapting to Changing Career Expectations

Kristen Buckheit, Managing Director EMEA at Resource Solutions, reflects on these changes: “What a career meant 10, 20, or 30 years ago is no longer what it means to young professionals today. Our data indicates an awareness from young professionals that more career changes may be necessary throughout their working life, which could be down to a myriad of elements impacting this generation: people are retiring later in life, the accelerated pace of technological advances – notably with AI – may render certain roles obsolete, and as the first to grow up with the internet, their acute awareness of how the world is changing is bound to impact how they feel about their future or purpose.”

To attract and retain this new generation, Buckheit emphasises the need for roles that are challenging, purposeful, and make the best use of individual skill sets. She highlights the importance of investing in professional development and training to keep employees engaged and enthusiastic about their industry. Opportunities for employees to contribute to the company’s value-led initiatives are also crucial.

As the workplace continues to evolve, it becomes clear that traditional career paths and employer-employee relationships are being redefined. Gen Z’s approach to work, prioritising fulfilment and readiness for change, is reshaping how organisations think about talent management and employee retention.