The class of 2023 will graduate this spring with a rented cap and gown, high egg prices, and a new season of Succession to curb or distract from recession fears.
Graduating into economic uncertainty is never a welcome entry into the adult world, but Gen Z isn’t taking a recession sitting down. So indicates Adobe’s survey of over 1,000 upcoming and recent university grads as part of its Future Workforce Study. It found that while 70% of Gen Zers are worried about a recession, that hasn’t stopped 78% of them from feeling good about the current labor market.
Rightfully so. Some CEOs hoped that economic straits would end the era of worker empowerment, with many—like Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman—ushering workers back into the office. Despite tech layoffs, the job market has a relatively low unemployment rate and an average layoff rate lower than what it was pre-pandemic. And people are still quitting. It’s emboldened Gen Z to maintain the upper hand at work—they know exactly what they need and want during difficult times. The majority of them (67%) say that macroeconomic factors have influenced or are likely to influence their job search, Adobe found.
Case in point: Over half (55%) reportedly look at an employer’s financial outlook before applying to a position. Most are also paying attention to an employer’s reputation and employee reviews. Established, bigger companies are more appealing to a slight majority (52%) of graduates, who feel they represent stability in tough economic times.
Most (85%) won’t even apply to a job listing if it doesn’t include the salary range. It’s no surprise, considering the generation is bold about asking their peers what they make and sharing their salaries with strangers on the internet. Vaishali Sabhahit, global head of university talent at Adobe, says this is partly because the generation grew up consuming social media, where everyone shares their lives with followers, and because they lived through the worst of the pandemic.
“Most likely saw people they know personally lose their job or take a pay cut,” she said in a statement shared with Fortune. “In this environment, knowing the pay range can help Gen Zers decide quickly if the posted salary range makes sense for them financially.”
When it comes to actually getting a job offer, Gen Z tends to not be interested in a position if it lacks competitive pay, work-life balance, or inclusive benefits, according to Adobe. While previous graduates may have also valued these attributes, recent grads place even more value on them, Sabhahit said.
But, perhaps surprisingly, whether the position is remote or not is less important to them. While they enjoy the flexibility to make their own schedules, they still like to go into the office to further their career and get to know people. Most respondents (75%) said they’d even be open to relocating to be closer to the office.
By the end of spring, the next wave of Gen Zers will enter the workforce. While the majority of Gen Z feel ready to get started and prepared for what is to come, per Adobe’s findings, the question that remains is: Are employees prepared to appeal to what younger workers want?
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