Generation Z: Here’s How to Turn Your Career Expectations into Reality

Generation Z: You told us what you want out of your career. Here’s how to turn those expectations into reality!

If you’re an older member of Generation Z, you’re likely looking for your first job, or you just found it. And while you may have big dreams for your career, you’ll need to take strategic steps to reach your short- and long-term goals.

Robert Half recently teamed up with Enactus to conduct a survey of more 770 college and university students between the ages of 18 and 25 in Canada and the United States. Our objective was to find out what you and your Generation Z peers want out of your careers. Results of that survey can be found in a free white paper titled Get Ready for Generation Z.

Here, we’ve highlighted three of your top career goals and offer concrete tips to help you turn those expectations into reality.

Goal: Command a comfortable salary

When seeking a full-time job, Generation Z survey respondents said landing one that offered opportunities for career growth was their top priority. But salary is a big concern too. Generous pay was the second highest priority of those surveyed, with respondents revealing they expect to make an average of $46,779 at their first job out of college.

How to do it: When negotiating your starting salary or asking for a raise, make sure you know how much you need and want before you enter the conversation. But be careful to root your expectations in reality: Consult Robert Half’s Salary Guides to find out a reasonable range for your position, experience level and location. Take other financial perks into consideration, such as bonuses, employee benefits, paid time off and matching contributions to RRSPs. Finally, practice framing the salary conversation in terms of the value you bring to the company — not how much money you need in order to pay back student loans or move into a bigger apartment.

Goal: Become a manager within five years

Five years out of college, 32 per cent of Generation Z survey respondents expect to be managing or supervising employees in a corporate environment. Another 24 per cent expect to be working their way up the corporate ladder, though not yet among the management ranks.

How to do it: Being both patient and proactive is the key here. As you progress, inform your manager of this longer-term goal and request responsibilities that will move you closer and closer with each annual review. For example, you could ask to assist in the process of interviewing and selecting an intern and, eventually, managing your department’s intern.
Additionally, identify communication courses that would help prepare you for a management role. Find out if your company offers a management-training program and identify the steps you need to take to qualify for it. Ideally, you and your boss will create a career development plan early in your career and use it as a roadmap for reaching this goal — and others.

Goal: Get along with other generations

According to our survey, 77 per cent of survey respondents expect to work harder than previous generations. While your generation feels that working with millennials will be very or somewhat easy (79 per cent), you believe working with baby boomers will be very or somewhat difficult (45 per cent).
Survey respondents anticipate that a difference in work ethics, values and expectations will be the greatest challenge in working in a multigenerational workforce. Generation Z members also worry that older generations will view them as “kids.”

How to do it: Approach working with members of other generations with an open mind and set your assumptions aside, especially if they’re related to age. Go in with the attitude that everyone brings valuable skills, ideas and processes to the table and that there’s much to be learned from one another.
If you don’t feel like you’re getting the respect you deserve from a coworker of any age, address the issue with your manager and work together to find ways to collaborate more effectively. In general, you can’t go wrong if you aim to be an affable, team-oriented employee who’s always eager to learn.

Looking for more tips on starting your career on the right foot? Check out Robert Half's Career Centre for a wealth of articles on how to stand out among other job seekers and make a great impression on employers.