Is your tax department ready to welcome Gen Z?

Vertex Technology Consulting

The ‘zoomers’ are joining the workplace in rapidly growing numbers. Generation Z – the first demographic cohort to ‘zoom’ the Internet practically from birth – is set to overtake the baby boomer generation at work this year. Born between the mid-90s and early 2010s, Gen Z has distinctive ambitions and perspectives on the world of work.  

With the ongoing tightening of the accounting and tax talent pipeline, it’s important to help position these young professionals so they can thrive. For tax leaders and managers, this means understanding and addressing Gen Z’s unique expectations about their careers, the workplace and their relationships with employers. 

So what are Gen Zers looking for in the workplace? A Korn Ferry article offers useful insights from a Gen Z intern at the HR consulting firm’s London office. Here’s a rundown of this generation’s priorities: 

  • Working towards a purpose: Having grown up in a time of social and environmental disruptions with a digital window on global injustices and inequalities, Gen Zers are looking for careers that will help to make the world a better place. Pride in work is a priority. 
  • Emphasising corporate social responsibility: Gen Z’s insistence on work that’s meaningful and ethical entails a strong focus on what a business stands for. The most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history will seek out employers that adopt robust diversity, equity and inclusion policies and (more importantly) deliver on them. 
  • Approaching business as unusual: For a generation that grew up with economic instability, the rise of the gig economy, inflation and ecological threats, business as usual isn’t working. Here’s how they see key components of the employer-employee contract: 
    • Salary: Gen Z is projected to be the most educated generation in history. Faced with the rising cost of living and student loan debt, they will need to see an adequate return on their educational investments. For these professionals, student loan repayment programmes will be among the most attractive employee benefits. 
    • Work/life blend: Work and life are not so much balanced as meshed. Wherever there’s Wi-Fi, there’s a potential workspace. Members of Gen Z appreciate workplaces that accommodate flexible working patterns. But they’re also aware of the benefits that offices can provide in facilitating in-person interactions with more experienced colleagues. 
    • Going it alone: Gen Z has a strong entrepreneurial streak and the traditional 9-5 job is just one of their options for generating income. Fourteen percent have already started their own business. 
    • Work approach: Gen Zers’ independence and self-reliance make them extremely creative and efficient workers. Their activist spirit, gained from sharing thoughts publicly on social media and responding to feedback, makes them natural change agents to drive innovation. 

Gen Z will constitute about one third of the workforce in three years. Talent-savvy tax departments have a lot to offer that can align with this generation’s values and provide an attractive destination for their talents. 

Blog Author

Larry Mellon, Tax Directory, Vertex Inc

Larry Mellon

Tax Director

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Larry Mellon is a Tax Director in the Chief Tax Office, where he is responsible for providing insights, thought leadership and customer-centric direction to Vertex functional groups, supporting the continued expansion of Vertex indirect tax solutions and overall enterprise strategy. He has over 30 years of experience in sales and use tax compliance, risk assessment, jurisdictional audits, administration and management, as well as VAT compliance. Larry joined Vertex in 2005 as a Sales and Income Tax Supervisor and has served as Tax Manager since 2012, where he has played a pivotal role in elevating and advancing the company’s tax management offerings.

Prior to joining Vertex, Larry served as a Senior Tax Accountant and Property Tax Manager at Foamex International, Inc., a polyurethane and advanced polymer foam product manufacturer and marketer. Mellon also held multiple roles at The Franklin Mint and is a member of the Institute of Professionals in Taxation (IPT).

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