Generation Z: Future Employees and Employers, Not a Typical Workday

Will Jackson, Senior at Randolph-Macon College

My name is Will Jackson. I will graduate from Randolph-Macon College in December of 2022 with a degree in Business Management. After graduation, I will join the workforce as an employee of my family’s business in North Carolina.

Ever since I was 10, I have been spending my summers working for my father in the auto body business his grandfather built. Although I have not always had as big a role in the business as I do today, I am very aware of the changes that have happened over time. I remember when my dad bought his first Blackberry smartphone so that he could better manage day-to-day affairs. Change is always happening regardless of the size of a company. I believe that for my generation (Gen Z), working for a company that embraces change is a must. A company that is stuck in the past is less likely to be flexible and attract employees with the ability to change and adapt to everyday situations.

When you ask Gen Z what they want in a job, most would say they’re looking for flexibility and not a typical 9-to-5 workday. Now more than ever we want to explore, go new places, and see new things. A job where you have to be there every day and get a week’s vacation once a year doesn’t cut it anymore. The COVID pandemic gave employees and employers the opportunity to see that hybrid jobs work and that it’s not necessary to be in the office all the time. This is something that my generation wants to continue for the rest of their lives. This allows us the work-life balance we feel is so important. When I picture the perfect job, flexibility is a top priority.

Will Jackson #76 makes a play for the Yellow Jackets.

Looking at my internship with VAA, I see aspects that are very enticing to a Gen Z college student. A flexible workday is something I have never seen before. I’ve always worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seeing that the employees at VAA are not always in the office is also refreshing and enticing. Being behind a desk every day can get mundane. Another aspect of a great employer is the people working around you. Happy employees promote a happy workplace and help make any job enjoyable. The perfect job needs employees that work as a team, who are happy to be employed and are friendly. Nobody wants to collaborate with people that are unhappy and hate their job.

When I graduate in December, I plan to go back to North Carolina and prepare to run my family business. I want to grow our small local business by adding more locations and making it a great place to work. Not everyone enjoys blue-collar work. To be a competitive employer I will need to implement ideas like the ones I have previously mentioned so that Jackson’s Body Shop can be that “perfect job” for the individuals I need to hire to grow my business and make it a success.

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