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Report: 68% of Gen Z workers would take an unwanted job for good pay

Written on Apr 25, 2024

Being able to understand and work with Gen Z employees is a requirement for any CFO who envisions long-term growth. Finance leaders should be prepared to deal with young professionals who have graduated into an economically harsh, technology- and social media-driven environment. 

Gen Z, those born between 1997 – 2012, are slowly taking a closer look at accounting careers, according to recent data from the job platform, Handshake. The survey found about 2.5% of Class of 2025 bachelor’s degree students on the platform are majoring in accounting, up from 2.1% of the Class of 2023. 

Young accounting prospects face career barriers to entry that, while ensuring the integrity of the profession, have also resulted in a decline in matriculating talent. When considering new research from Gen Z consulting and research firm dcdx, these factors will deter young people from pursuing accounting and further exacerbate the shortage among qualified professionals. 

Dcdx research found that Gen Z is looking for compensation relative to their costs of living. Since those costs have been increasing due to persistent high inflation, a career in finance and accounting, although not the most desirable to many Gen Z’ers, may be an answer to their problems. Dcdx data found that 68% of Gen Z workers said they would accept a job they didn’t like in exchange for a higher salary.  

A desire from younger workers to earn high salaries early in their careers is a desire based on needs and not wants, data suggests. When asked about the main reasons for compensation increases, 31% said to pay for all their bills and expenses and 25% said to save money for the future. 

While a fifth (20%) said they want to feel properly compensated for their work, presumably feeling underpaid, the desire to earn more to upgrade their lifestyle isn’t prevalent. Only 10% said they want more money to “splurge on things.” 

Happiness and purpose at work are elements that both reports credit as important to Gen Z workers when it comes to workplace connection and longevity. 

Over the past few years, more accounting roles have mentioned how their employees can have a social impact through their work, presumably to attract Gen Z candidates. 

According to the research, 36% of Gen Z employees said they would be happier if they had a feeling of purpose from their work. Those looking for accountants may already be aware of this, at least slightly according to Handshake, whose data projects a 6% rise in accounting roles mentioning social impact keywords in their job posts. 

This, Handshake suggests, may make their role more appealing to a worker looking to find purpose within their accounting duties. 

Flexibility and work-life balance, something CFOs have credited with the expansion of their personal and professional lives, is another extremely important factor to Gen Z workers. 

The most important element of work environment flexibility is the autonomy to choose work days. While those surveyed were somewhat split, the most popular answer was the ability to choose the days on which they worked (37%), followed by choosing the hours worked (33%) and work location (25%). 

With initiatives like a four-day work week and the controversial push for right-to-disconnect laws in the realm of possibility, desired workplace flexibility, at least to Gen Z standards, may be more than just a pipe dream for entry- and mid-level workers. 

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