Professional Development Ranks As Top Workplace Priority For Generation Z

This generation isn't impressed by flashy perks.

Want a cheat sheet to Generation Z? Download our infographic on “5 Fast Facts Every Employer Should Know About Generation Z” here.

When you think of a new generation of entry-level workers, what would you guess is their number one priority? Perks like ping-pong tables and beer on tap? Job security? An impressive name to list on their resume?

The answer, according to RippleMatch’s data collected on tens of thousands of entry-level candidates, isn’t a flashy perk – it’s the opportunity for professional development.

Upon signing up for RippleMatch, students take a candidate onboarding survey and rank the importance of factors of a job such as professional development, upward mobility, community and work/life balance on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being “Not at all Important” in a job and 5 being “Extremely Important.” Across all workplace factors, professional development came out on top.

Across all Gen Z subgroups such as gender, race, and ethnicity, professional development remains as the top preference and is closely followed by upward mobility and a strong sense of community. Professional development is so important to Gen Z that it highly influences their decision to accept a job offer.

A survey conducted by RippleMatch gathered information on the challenges of the entry-level job search, as well as the determining factors that led recent graduates to accept a job. The survey collected the responses of more than 700 class of 2018 graduates from universities across the country who now work in industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and consulting.

We asked respondents, “What were the most important factors that led you to accept your job?” and gave them the option to select as many provided factors as applied to them. The results showed that 69 percent of respondents selected “Professional Development” as a factor that led to their accepted offer. It’s worth noting that these results varied when broken down by race and gender, but professional development remained as an extremely influential factor in accepting a job despite the variations.

The finding about Gen Z’s affinity for professional development opportunities isn’t unique to RippleMatch’s data. A survey conducted by Ernst and Young on over 1,600 Gen Z interns found that potential for career progression and growth is the most important factor to Gen Z when searching for a job. This Gen Z group ranked salary as the least important, with only 1 percent of participants selecting it as something they prioritize most during a job search. A Door of Clubs survey also found that mentorship is the second most important benefit a company can offer, following health insurance.

While opportunities for professional development alone won’t attract and retain Gen Z talent – our data shows that company culture and a strong sense of community are important too – it’s clear that this generation values learning opportunities over flashy perks.

Want more information on what Generation Z wants at work? Download our full report on Generation Z below.

Download The Report


Ready to learn more?

Book a demo to learn why leading employers rely on RippleMatch to efficiently hire the right talent and build diverse teams.

Cindy Loggins

Global Head of University Recruiting & Programs

"Centralizing everything on RippleMatch reduced our overall applicant review time by 70%."

Ebonee Bradley

University Recruiter

"With one click of a button, I can get tons of great candidates from underrepresented groups."