Insight & Analysis

Press release: Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business offers insights on China’s Gen Z workforce

Published: Jun 2023

27th June 2023 – Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) has released a groundbreaking report, Understanding China’s Gen Z in the Workplace: Strategies for Effective Cross-Generational Management, unveiling new insights into China’s Gen Z workforce. Based on a survey conducted by CKGSB Professor Zhang Xiaomeng, the report delves into Gen Z’s career priorities, goals, job satisfaction, psychological status, and intergenerational differences.

With over 16,000 responses and 2.4 million data points collected across China, it represents the first large-scale intergenerational study aimed at deepening our understanding of Gen Z’s preferences and behaviors in the workplace.

The report reveals that Gen Z’s values align more closely with those of other generations than previously thought. Physical and mental health as well as wealth accumulation emerged as Gen Z’s top priorities, mirroring the preferences of other age groups. Gen Z were also less likely to resign impulsively than previously anticipated, with a high proportion of respondents willing to adapt their mentality when faced with work challenges.

Nonetheless, China’s 18-25-year-olds experienced the highest levels of anxiety and depression and the lowest levels of resilience in the workplace compared to other generations. Professor Zhang also explores how such levels are altered by Gen Z’s level of education and corporate rank. Notably, Gen Z founders, CEOs, and senior executives, and those with higher levels of education, tended to show greater anxiety and depression, along with lower levels of resilience.

Additionally, the report identifies key incentives to retain Gen Z employees. Income and promotions emerge as a crucial concern, with over half (54%) of respondents indicating their willingness to resign after a year without a pay raise. Furthermore, a greater proportion of respondents (66%) expressed their intention to resign after two years in the absence of a promotion.

With Gen Z set to become the largest demographic group in China’s workforce in the coming years, it is increasingly crucial to understand their preferences, motivators, and goals of Gen Z in the workplace. Forward thinking organizations recognize the need to tailor their management strategies accordingly. Through this report, CKGSB aims to paint a clearer picture of the challenges faced by Gen Z employees in China’s workplace, prompting organizations to take proactive measures and devise innovative strategies to address their specific needs.

Read the report

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