Gen Z employees want higher salaries, so what can you do to attract them?

Gen Z want higher salaries. But for many companies, increasing everyone’s salary isn’t an option. Here's how you can still attract hungry-for-money Gen Z employees?

Benefits 101
Company Culture
Future of Work

⋅ min read

The younger they are, the more money they want. That’s what people are saying about Gen Zers entering the workplace. But for many companies, increasing everyone’s salary isn’t a viable option. Neither is offering younger workers proportionally more money than their older counterparts. So with pay rises off the table, how can employers still attract hungry-for-money Gen Z workers?

Who are Gen Z workers and why do they want more pay?

Generation Z is defined as anyone born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They’re often criticised by the media for their ‘entitled nature’ and their love of ‘quiet quitting’, while being praised for their aversion to unhealthy habits like binge drinking and smoking. They’re also the generation most likely to ask for more money when accepting a job offer.

And who can blame them? The cost of living has been on the rise for a few years now, and wages (for the most part) have failed to catch up with inflation. Whereas their parents would have been able to buy a house at the same age, most Gen Zers can barely find a room in a houseshare thanks to soaring rental prices. In fact, this survey found that 39% of Gen Zers cite financial insecurity as their leading stressor. 

They’re also regularly cited as being the most saving-savvy generation, thanks partly to the plentiful deals and rewards offered by digital banks combined with a turbulent economy creating a need to save for emergencies. Their ability to save is helped by the fact Gen Z are more likely to weigh up going to university due to rising tuition fees. This means they’re not entering the workforce already burdened by thousands of pounds’ worth of debt.

What can employers do to appeal to this generation?

If you’re not in a position to offer higher salaries, don’t worry – there are a number of things you can do to stay relevant and cater for the younger generation. With the majority of Gen Z workers hoping to find a career that lets them learn and expand on their skills, it’s clear that money isn’t the only hook. 

One of the best alternatives is great employee benefits. While things like a solid parental leave package might not appeal to a university graduate, there are plenty of benefits that will. Here are some of the best perks to consider offering at your company:

Mental health and wellbeing

According to a study by Ogilvy, a huge 70% of Gen Zers say their mental health needs the most attention or improvement. This might come as no surprise given events like the Covid-19 pandemic creating widespread panic and anxiety, and the ‘always-on’ culture young people subscribe to. But this is an opportunity for employers to provide the right support to enable their staff to do their best work.

There are plenty of employee benefits angled towards mental health – one of the most popular being an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). These help employees deal with personal problems by giving them access to free 24/7 counselling and telephone support. Alternatives like Spill and MYNDUP also give workers an objective, external person to talk to if they’re struggling.

You can also help your employees with their mental health indirectly, using mindfulness or meditation apps like Headspace. It goes without saying that physical and mental health are inextricable, so it’s worth investing in keeping your staff active as well. You might want to offer subsidised gym memberships or app subscriptions that reward users for walking a certain number of steps each day, for example.

Financial security

Offering a generous pension scheme is the obvious option when it comes to giving your employees a financial safety net. In the UK, the legal minimum total pension contribution is 8% of an employee's salary, but you could choose to match your employees’ contributions rather than offering the statutory minimum. Take a look at our country guides to see what’s considered best practice in different countries.

Or, you could offer a pension that lets employees choose what they’re investing in. Given that Gen Zers often see climate change as an emotional burden, they might like the option to make sustainable investments, for example. Most providers will have a more ESG-friendly fund on offer if you ask.

But pensions aren’t the only way to help your staff feel financially secure. With Octopus Money Coach, employees get help from a qualified human who’ll create a personalised financial plan including investing, pensions and more. At Ben, we partner with Claro, which offers digital and interactive tools and personalised one-on-one coaching. Farewill is another of our financial wellbeing partners – they make creating a will quick and easy, giving you peace of mind that your family is taken care of if anything were to happen to you.

Flexible working

While many companies are returning to in-office working styles, for Gen Z, flexibility remains a priority. But this doesn’t just apply to working from home, which 37% of people want. Workers these days also want the option of a 4-day working week and flexitime. It’s this flexibility that often leads to greater productivity, better mental health and less money spent commuting. What’s not to love?

And bear in mind that, contrary to popular opinion, not all of Gen Z are desperate for entirely remote work. In fact, this study found that less than two in 10 respondents actually wanted to work fully remotely, and 14% have concerns about its impact on their ability to make connections and find mentors.

If you’re unsure what working arrangement your employees would prefer, ask them. Then, create your own flexible working policy using Ben’s free template.

Focus on your culture and Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Creating a diverse and inclusive culture is one of the best ways to attract Gen Z. In fact, it’s key to both attraction and retention. This poll found that 83% of Gen Z respondents said they consider an employer's commitment to diversity and inclusion when deciding where to work, so it’s something to factor in. Want to prove your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)? Creating your own DEI policy is a great place to start.

And while money is a key driver for younger workers, so is working for a company that looks after them. You can communicate this in your EVP, which includes the perks and culture your business can offer in exchange for employees’ skills and experience. This can also help to strengthen your employer brand, opening you up to the best possible Gen Z talent.

If you’re looking for inspiration and to see which brands are doing a great job at appealing to younger talent, Google, Apple and Microsoft all get high approval ratings from this demographic on Glassdoor! It’s worth checking out their Glassdoor profiles to see what people love about working there.

Choice and control

One thing Gen Zers are desperate for is control. With the disorderly state of the world right now, being empowered to make their own decisions is a way for workers to feel that bit more stable. You can do this via your employee benefits package. Work perks are designed to attract and retain your employees, so it’s worth finding out what they want and putting the ball in their court. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to benefits; what a Millennial or Boomer wants is likely to be very different to a Gen Z who’s just left university.

Give your staff the control they crave by letting them choose their benefits with Ben. It’s easy to sign up, and your team can select all their own benefits and spend their flexible allowance with the Ben Mastercard. From health insurance to pensions and meditation apps – it’s all covered. Book a demo today and find out how to create the perfect package for everyone in your business, including Gen Zers.

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