Gen Z are entering the workplace during a time of great uncertainty and change, with Covid-19 causing job losses and affecting the ways people work together. While we know that simply having a job is a priority in today’s environment, Gen Z’s desires when it comes to prospective employers give a glimpse into what workplaces might look like in the future.

Using our foundational research on Gen Z, Youth Decoded, we delved deeply into how global youth were transitioning into the workforce prior to Covid. We identified some characteristics that make them stand out at work: their creativity and self-expression, desire for collaboration as well as independence, ambition and focus on gaining new skills, focus on social and environmental issues, and championing of inclusion and diversity.

When it comes to finding their dream employer, here’s what they look for:

Fairness and a sense of enjoyment. When it comes to job satisfaction, Gen Z teens and young adults place the most emphasis on being treated fairly (78%), doing something they enjoy (72%), and working in a healthy environment (72%).

A cause they believe in. Gen Z are drawn to employers whose mission aligns with their values. According to a study from Ad Age and UNiDAYS, 77% would prefer to work for a company that doesn’t just offer a good salary, but also shares their political views. When asked about mistakes made by previous generations, 59% agree that fixing the problems they inherited is their responsibility.

Growth and development. While Gen Z are concerned about money, personal growth is still important. According to Accenture’s “Gen Z Rising” study, recent grads are 3 times more likely to stay more than 5 years at companies that offer a personalized employee experience that takes full advantage of their university degree. They are willing to put the work in to achieve success, with 98% planning to pursue additional training, 84% considering an internship after graduation that could help them land a job, and 71% of US recent grads considering an unpaid internship if a paid job were not available.

Opportunities to be creative. Gen Z express themselves creatively in all areas of life, and they want the workplace to be no exception. 84% describe themselves as creative. Many see creative development as fundamental to their professional growth and believe that it will be necessary to their success in the workplace.