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Could Gen Z be the solution to our nation’s labour shortage crisis?



Research Reveals the Future of Work for Australia's Gen Z

WorkJam – the leading digital workplace for organisations with frontline employees – has provided insight into the working preferences of Australian Gen Zers in response to the nation’s growing labour shortage crisis.

The research polled 1,000 Gen Z part-time and casual workers aged 16 to 25 years, to understand the sentiments of frontline employees. The findings reveal how organisations could improve their workplace to better utilise their current workforce.

With nearly one-in-three Gen Z employees (27%) working fewer than 10 hours per week, the data shows a desire for additional work. As seen in Gen Z’s willingness to work, 60% of young employees are interested in working from two-to-three locations if it means access to more shifts.

Geographically, the cohort is prepared to travel to work. One-third of respondents (33%) say they would be open to travelling up to 10 kilometres for additional work. A further 29% said they would be willing to travel up to 20 kilometres, 10% up to 30 kilometres and 7% would travel over 30 kilometres. 

This trend was also reflected in the recruitment of those aged under 25, with 59% of respondents being more inclined to apply for a job if there was the possibility to work at multiple locations. 

As Australia’s largest generation, comprising 20% of the population, WorkJam’s findings suggest Gen Z is severely underutilised, despite being willing to work. The research demonstrates an evolving mentality among young workers – caring less about where they work, but more about the number of hours on offer.

Speaking to the research findings, Andrew Myers, Managing Director at WorkJam APAC, explains, “The data confirms Gen Z is an underutilised cohort and we should be leaning into their skills to fill frontline shifts amid a national labour shortage crisis. 

“The data also signals the changing work preferences of the generation. We’re seeing the impacts of technology and the gig economy as Uber and Fiverr among others infiltrate traditional frontline employment settings. With this, employers should be mindful that Gen Z will turn to these services as it offers greater flexibility and autonomy on how they work. 

“Employees now expect technology to be integrated into their work lives, with access to real-time and online rostering and communication – this is where technologies like WorkJam work best in managing frontline staff.”

While access to shifts is high on the agenda for Australia’s frontline employees, WorkJam’s report found that Gen Z employees see flexibility (69%) as the most important consideration when applying for a new role. This is placed higher than the opportunity for career progression through training (57%) and the workplace’s proximity to their homes (49%). 

Interestingly, retail remains the top working preference for Gen Z, with the majority (31%) of the generation saying they are most interested in working in a retail setting. This was closely followed by a large cohort (29%) who said they were open to opportunities across all industries. Hospitality (17%) and administration/reception work (11%) fell behind, with fewer than one-in-five employees interested in working across either industry. 

WorkJam assists in scheduling, training, task management workflows, and real-time communications — all through a single app. WorkJam enables operational efficiencies, collaboration, employee engagement and higher retention by equipping frontline and head office employees with state-of-the-art solutions. 

For more information on WorkJam and its capabilities, head over to www.workjam.com

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