What Gen-Z Wants From Employers: Skip the Flexibility, Bring on the Career Mobility. Compensation and flex time are important, but young workers especially value the chance to grow in their roles.

By: Rebecca Deczynski

Money talks, but for some employees, it isn’t everything.

In fact, some workers would be willing to take pay cuts for certain jobs that allow them career mobility. That’s according to LinkedIn’s most recent Workplace Confidence Survey, which polled about 5,000 workers in March. The survey shows that 40 percent of Gen-Z employees would be most willing to take a pay cut of up to 5 percent of their current salary for a role that offered them a better chance of career growth — compared to 26 percent of the overall workforce.

The younger generation also prioritizes “enjoyable work,” notes the survey, which concludes that 38 percent of Gen-Z respondents would be willing to make less money for a job they found pleasurable. Millennials feel even more strongly inclined in this regard, with 40 percent saying they’d take a pay cut for a more enjoyable job. What’s least important to Gen-Z employees is flexibility and the ability to work remote, with 32 percent saying this incentive would compel them to take a pay cut, compared to 36 percent of Millennials.

While cutting workers’ pay right now — in the middle of a labor crisis — may not be advisable, directionally, the results of this survey are useful, as they can help you better position your jobs to attract talent. For these businesses, the key is to play up the fun atmosphere at your office, along with the notion that upward mobility is possible. 

And not only do these incentives help to fill roles, they keep employees engaged and loyal; nearly two-thirds of workers say they would leave their jobs due to a lack of growth opportunities, according to research released by the software company Amdocs in September 2021.