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Let Me Play and Let Me Loose: Gen Z’s Motto At Work

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The young crowd of tech employees are dreamers, thinkers, and doers. It is no surprise that more and more tech companies are focusing their approach to attract, hire, and train Gen Z tech talent. But what really motivates Gen Z’s? And how should tech leaders integrate them into the workforce?

After Hours Vol. 5 gathered Dimitar Dimitrov, Founder, and CEO of Digital Lights, Ruslan Leteyski, CEO of Vanga AI and Checkout X, Desislava Petrova, Soft Skills Trainer at Telerik Academy, and Karina Khristich, Business Development Manager at Native Teams, to explore what do Gen Z wants at the workplace.

Catch up with the key takeaways from the event, that The Recursive and Bica held in November 2022.

Gen Z’s on Purpose, Money, and The Hustle Culture

We all have heard that Gen Z’s are quite ambitious when it comes to their salaries. But it makes a difference when you think about the root cause of this: are they just materialistic or there is something more? According to Desislava Petrova from Telerik Academy, Gen Z’s are looking for big salaries not because they want to buy expensive gadgets, but because they are economically pragmatic and think about their future material wellbeing.

How about switching jobs fast? This is also something that makes employers wary about hiring Gen Z talent. The truth is that Gen Z talent like to set boundaries between their personal and professional life. They are hustlers and are enthusiastic about working on a side project, but value their work-life balance. The implication is that companies should respect the entrepreneurial aspirations of their employees and even learn how to support them if they don’t want to lose them.

Karina from Native Teams summarized it very well: “Gen Z’s motto is let me play and let me loose.” As a person who has been involved in a couple of startup projects and venture-building initiatives, Karina said that she values the complexity of her current job. To her, being a Business Development Manager and having the responsibility to position Native Teams’ service on a new market feels much like developing her own startup, but “with someone else’s money” as she jokes.

Read more:  What Is Next for Fintech in CEE? All Roads Lead To Oradea

“After I burned out a couple of times trying to build a couple of projects on my own, I realized I would feel okay being an employee for a while,” she added.

I also related to what the founder of Checkout X Ruslan Leteyski said about Gen Z’s attraction to being challenged and taking risks, but also to their tendency to aspire to be top performers. “I am the CEO and still feel like being fired every day,” he joked. Transparency is also highly valued for Gen Z’s. Ruslan lets everyone know how much the company makes, how much it burns, and so on.

So if you are wondering what Gen Z’s are actually bad at, it is negotiation. Desislava and Dimitar pointed out that they have noticed how hard it is for young talents to deal with conflict or negotiate something with their managers. Oftentimes, Gen Z employees would choose to leave their job and search for a new occupation rather than resolving a problem that they experience at their current workplace.


After Hours Vol. 6: What’s the Secret Weapon To Growing a Product Mindset? is approaching soon! Register and join us on December 14. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.