Gen Z Wish List

New research from Compass Group and market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that Gen Z workers want enhanced wellbeing, sustainability and digital benefits in the workplace, and will look at alternative employers if their needs are not met. 

Irish Gen Z employees particularly valued sustainability commitments in a business, as well as advanced technology. In terms of eating at work, Ireland’s young workers were ahead of the global curve, with 83% demanding healthier food at work (versus 73% globally) and 68% of our Gen Z workers shunning meat and favouring plant-based meals (63% globally).

Compass Group’s Global Eating at Work Survey 2023 is one of the largest inter-generational surveys of its kind. It analyses insights from 35,000 global workers in 26 countries on workplace preferences, including views on eating at work, sustainability, digital adoption, health and mental wellbeing.  

The research reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic and global cost of living crisis have made employees more mindful of what they want and deserve from an employer. 

Across all age groups, 61% of Irish workers say they are scrutinising employee benefits more closely than they used to, peaking at 74% among Gen Z here.

40% of Irish workers say they feel less loyal towards their employer since COVID-19, jumping to more than half (61%) for Gen Z employees in Ireland.

Facing higher costs of living, 82% of Gen Z and Millennials here advocate for employers to provide free or subsidised meals at work.

Deirdre O’Neill, Managing Director at Compass Ireland, says that with Gen Z and Millennials soon to make up the bulk of our workforce, their influence in workplaces is on the rise. 

“Our research shows that Gen Z workers want to be associated with companies who share their values, provide a safe, comfortable working environment, and support their health and wellbeing. A staff restaurant is shown to be an effective way for employers to attract, retain and motivate their teams, helping win the war for talent and addressing the productivity challenge at the same time.”

Across all age groups, flexible working hours are considered the most appealing non-monetary benefit that employers can provide, followed by health insurance. A staff restaurant or meal provision is number four on the list of valued perks. 

Of any generation, Gen Z are most open to digital foodservice innovations that can improve their productivity and health at work. 

88% of Gen Z workers here say that taking a proper lunch break makes them more productive when they return to work, compared to 80% among Baby Boomers.

79% of Gen Z workers are happy to order food and drinks via an app, compared to just 32% of Irish Baby Boomers.

65% of Gen Z workers say they like to stay on top of their calorie intake by tracking their diet via an app, versus 36% among the wider population in Ireland. 

Gen Z are naturally digital natives, says O’Neill, and, therefore, have a greater interest in technology-based foodservice in the workplace.