13 Gen Z Statistics for Leaders

13 Gen Z Statistics for Leaders image DATE: March 13, 2020

So much is and will be changing in the workplace over the next several years. Here are 13 Gen Z statistics to help you prepare!

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13 Gen Z Statistics for Leaders

It’s Friday the 13th so I’m giving you 13 Gen Z statistics! These stats will help you better understand your employees who are appx. 24 years old and younger. When you better understand your people, you can adjust what you do and say which will help you connect better with them. When leaders truly connect with their people, that’s how you level up your leadership in the 21st Century!

I’m digging into the latest information I’ve found on Gen Z and we’re looking at multiple aspects of their lives. I want to paint a full picture of them for you — from what they’re doing when they’re on their phone to what they are wanting when they walk in the break room to when they actually want to hear from you!

Alright leaders, let’s dig in!

13 Gen Z Statistics


58% (compared to 47% of Millennials and Gen X) of all Gen Z eating occasions were prepared without using any kind of appliance at all. -The NPD Group/National Eating Trends®, 2 YE May 2017

That stat is saying that the majority of Gen Z’s surveyed choose ready to eat foods and meals versus anything that has to be prepared with a microwave, toaster, etc.

Here is what we know: Gen Z is still young — somewhere between appx. 7 and 24 years old. Many of their food choices are shaped by what their Gen X parents are buying for them, but with millions of Gen Z’s already on their own and making their way in the workforce, we’re starting to learn more and more about their personal food choices. Why should food choices matter to leaders? Do you provide food in your breakroom, during training, as gifts, etc.? Why not give the people what they really want?!

Gen Z’s Gen X parents (maybe because they’ve watched all the food documentaries on Netflix ;)) have instilled in them the value of nutrition, not just sustenance, from food. We are seeing that Gen Z (unlike Millennials) care less about supporting small, non-national brands. Instead, they care more about if the brand aligns with their own beliefs, where and how the ingredients were sourced, and equally as important — if it’s easy to eat! We’re also seeing Gen Z pick more “snack” foods vs. whole meals in order to make up the traditional 3 meals a day of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you’re having food in the break room at work, are you including more foods for Gen Z that require a toaster or microwave to prepare? Foods such as P3’s,   Core Bars, and even Oreos are just a few choices they might be looking for.

Here’s the thing, we all love food! When your people are craving something in particular and they find it in the break room…you can count that as a leadership win. No doubt they’ll have a surge of happiness as they walk back to their desk with the snacks you strategically placed. It’s the little things that make people feel seen, heard, and important. Time to go grocery shopping!

Work-Life Preference

65% think it’s acceptable to be contacted outside of office hours (that’s more than double the amount compared to baby boomers). – Talent Works International

72% agree that employees should be allowed to use their personal phone during work hours. -Talent Works International

We’re seeing that for many Gen Z, they put more importance on flexibility than salary and benefits.

In order to attract and retain the best-of-the-best Gen Z employees, think about ways you can change up schedules at work to give employees more options. Could employees work remotely? Can you change your performance evaluations to be more task-oriented? Maybe an in-depth conversation on vacation time needs to be discussed and evaluated with employees?

There are so many different legitimate options to create more flexibility in the workforce. It’s your responsibility/opportunity to lead the way for the next generation!

Work Ethic

32% of Gen Z say they are the hardest working generation to date. -Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated

Gen Zs have grown up in a world where they’ve seen Millennials struggle with debt and their parents struggle through the recession. Overall, Gen Zs seem to have a pretty realistic view of what it’s going to take to be successful in the real world — hard work. That’s good news to leaders, right? Absolutely! It’s easy to default to the negative attitude that bringing in another generation to the workforce is going to create more headaches. Choose a positive attitude. Lead with a positive attitude! Stats are showing there are good things to come from Gen Z!

University or Trade

89% of Gen Z have considered an education path that looks different from a four-year degree directly out of high school. -TD Ameritrade, 2017

What should this mean to you as a leader? Many things. However, my focus for today is for you to consider loosening the qualifications for a job in your company. If your job qualifications say a bachelor’s degree is required, you may miss out on really great talent. Additionally, you may miss out on more female talent. Studies have shown that females are less likely to even apply for a position if they don’t check all of the qualifications boxes versus males who will apply anyway.

Worried your employees won’t be prepared for the workforce without formal education? Think about this for a moment, how much of the knowledge you learned in college do you now use in your current role? Instead of the education you gained, are the skills you learned in the real world just as — or potentially even more — valuable? That could be the base for your best future employees, too. Leaders, it’s time to think outside the box more than ever before!

Preferred Communication Style

72% of Gen Z prefer face-to-face communication at work.

It’s easy to assume that because young people seem to always be on their phone that they would prefer to communicate through some sort of text electronically. Don’t be deceived! Several studies have come out and show that is simply not the case. As a leader, go talk to your Gen Z people face to face. They may seem hesitant at first, but they just need practice! Lead them to be a better communicator.

Social Media of Choice

TikTok & Instagram both have 1 billion+ users in 2020. The majority of their users are Gen Z.

The average TikTok user is on the app appx. 52 minutes per day.

The average Instagram user is on the app appx. 28 minutes a day.

If you’re wanting to attract Gen Z employees, my question to you is does your company have a presence on Instagram and/or TikTok? If not, you may be losing potential candidates to those companies that DO have a presence on those social media channels. Maybe now is the time to go have a conversation with your Marketing and HR Directors!

(As with everything you do, you must manage the risks that come along with using social media for your business. Be sure to mitigate the privacy and reputation risks that are associated with using these applications.)

Prominent Skill

73% (of Gen Z surveyed) rate their technology literacy as good or excellent. -Dell

I feel like this is not surprising…but Gen Z has only known a world where machines and people interact constantly and technology is changing constantly.

The fact of the matter is that technology is changing the way companies operate and will operate in the future. Gen Z is the first uniquely equipped generation to help lead the way right out of the gate! As a leader, find ways to involve Gen Z in the discussion on the future offerings of your company. You never know, they may surprise you with the best ideas out of anyone else on the team!

Prominent Weaknesses

60% (of hiring managers) said new grads lacked critical thinking skills. -PayScale

What’s surprising about this statistic is that the majority of Gen Z surveyed said they thought their skills were up to par. Obviously there’s a gap between self-awareness and leadership expectations. In a world where Google and calculators are at our fingertips — even during school — it’s no surprise that critical thinking skills are lacking in Gen Z. With all that Gen Z brings to the table in value, it’s important that leaders invest in developing the critical thinking skills of their youngest employees!

Job Market Expectations

72% of high school students and 64% of college students are eager to start their own business. -Future Workplace

If the majority of Gen Z want to be entrepreneurs, what is this going to mean for your company? The importance of great leadership is more important than ever!

The fact of the matter is that Gen Z has an incredible amount of job opportunities they could pursue. From building a multi-million dollar business making YouTube videos, to starting their own business that is crowd-funded, or even choosing multiple freelance jobs on UpWork…it seems that the possibilities are endless nowadays. Gen Z is not entitled, they just have more options! Be the leader that helps the employee achieve their own goals while achieving the company’s too–and you’ll be a top contender in the Gen Z job market!


48% of Gen Z is non-caucasian. -Pew Research

Depending on where you’re from, Gen Z is likely only going to notice diversity in the workplace when it’s not there. If your company is largely one demographic, that’s going to be a red flag to many Gen Zs. Something will not seem right. Many have grown up in a world where all they see is diversity around them, on their phone, on TV, in the movies, in magazines, etc. Gen Z is a very inclusive generation. Does your workforce say the same thing?

Typical Household Makeup

The share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017. -Pew Research

How a person is or is not parented is such a huge determining factor to how he or she will think, act, and feel. If someone grows up in a home where the father is very authoritarian and the mother is very timid, his/her viewpoint on male or female leaders in the workplace may be very different. Someone else may grow  up in a home with only a mother, one who is an incredibly hard worker and worthy of huge respect, the employee may prefer female leaders in the workplace. If someone grows up in a home where they were mistreated, they may bring their own set of walls into the workplace.

How you grow up will have an effect on determining who you are as an adult — good or bad. As a leader, you have to realize that your employees are each different and want to be treated that way. Make sure you’re getting to know your employees on an individual basis!

Teen Employment Rate

2018’s summer employment rate for 16- and 17-year-olds was 24.1%, up from 18.5% in 2010. For 18- and 19-year-olds, the summer employment rate last year was 46.2%, compared with 41.6% in 2010. -Pew Research

From the 1940’s-1980’s the data shows that you could expect anywhere from 46%-58% employment rate among teens. As you can see now, that number is in serious decline. However, the number is rising over the last decade.

So, while many employees were trying to enter into the corporate world without any prior work experience, we have good news for leaders! It looks like as Gen Z is getting older that many of them are getting on the job experience before they apply for your company. Most Gen Z are working in the foodservice industry which potentially helps them develop customer service, interpersonal communication, and adaptability skills. I am a fan of teens having jobs. Lots of lessons cannot be learned until you’ve thrown yourself into the real world!

Social Causes Interest

94% of Gen Z respondents said they believe companies should help address critical social issues. -Cone Communications

Whether your company is big or small, what are you doing to help address critical social issues? Additionally, how are you as a leader making sure your Gen Z potential new-hires and current employees know what you’re doing? There is a fine line to walk when it comes to bragging about what you’re doing and showing people what you’re doing to they’ll understand who they’re really doing business with. If your company is not doing anything in the way of addressing social issues, with Gen Z entering the workforce, now may be the time!


Gen Z Statistics AND Stories

If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand times — today’s leaders must know both the statistics about AND the stories from their people. Not everyone is going to fit the statistics, but if you treat them like they do — you might risk losing your very best employees! People are shaped by their personal experiences, the stories that make up their lives. As a leader, make time to ask and listen to the stories about your people this week. Adapt your leadership style to meet them where they are and lead them to where you want them to be. That’s the incredible power of leadership!


Do your company leaders need help understanding their multi-generation workforce?
I can help!
Email me: alyson@vanhooser.com


#leadershipdevelopment #multigenerationemployees #multigenerationteam #diversity #diversityintheworkplace



Alyson Van Hooser

About The Author:

Alyson Van Hooser, Leadership Keynote Speaker, Trainer on Millennials, Gen Z & Women in Business With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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