Workers across New Zealand have overcome profound threats to emerge intact and renewed over the past two and a half years. Yet one thing is evident in this new world of work: the dynamic between employees and employers has shifted.

A heightened sense of purpose now guides people’s career choices and work.

man hopping out of the bus
man hopping out of the bus

welcome to the new era of self-determination, driven predominantly by our younger generations.

randstad’s workmonitor research reaffirms such sentiments.

The majority of employees under 35 years of age say they would quit their job if it prevented them from enjoying life. Most respondents across all age groups also said their personal life is more important than their work life.

Happiness at work is a priority for many people in the post-pandemic age: they want their values reflected in their company's mission and leaders.

Job flexibility is expected, and most want access to training and development resources.

It’s not surprising that Gen Z and Millennials are leading the charge for a new social contract with employers, as they are often at the forefront of societal change.

our survey of 1,000 employees across New Zealand shows that the youngest respondents harbour the strongest sentiments around aligning work with personal goals.

Opinions diverged across age groups on issues such as job flexibility, work-life balance, personal and professional growth and corporate social responsibility.

Our data reveals that not only will many younger employees not accept a job that doesn’t meet their expectations, but they are also willing to walk away from one if it interferes with how they want to lead their lives.

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42% of Gen Z and 40% of younger Millennials say they have previously quit a job because it didn’t fit with their personal life.

And in a sign of growing interest in social causes, 48% of younger Millennials and 38% of Gen Z and older Millennials said they wouldn’t accept a job with an employer unwilling to make efforts to improve their diversity and inclusion.

Gen Z shows the most confidence in finding a new job quickly, compared with Baby Boomers. 67% of all workers are open to new opportunities if the right job comes along.

However, even though most workers in New Zealand say flexible hours and flexible locations are crucial, over half feel that they don't have a choice in where they work.

When talent scarcity is faced by employers, failing to meet the expectations of an enlightened workforce can be disastrous.

talent scarcity is here to stay.

Structural deficiencies in the pre-pandemic global labour market made sure of that—digital transformation during the past two years, the skills gap. 

So, in today’s highly competitive labour market, how can organisations stand out from competitors to become an employer of choice?

group meeting
group meeting

focusing on five key areas is essential.

employee engagement

 A key lesson that emerged from the past two and a half years is that employees, particularly younger workers, want more meaning from their jobs. Millennials and Gen Z are at the forefront of a movement to find greater satisfaction and happiness in life and at work.

So employers must determine how they evolve their corporate culture and workforce strategy to accommodate this phenomenon.

values alignment

The acceleration of the social justice movement, growing concerns about climate change, and workplace diversity and inclusion are increasingly becoming top of mind for workers and organisations. For many younger workers, their priority is purpose over a paycheck.

They are forcing businesses to put meaning and values at the heart of their work, aligning their work with their convictions.


The economic environment puts the power in jobseekers’ hands as they can demand what they want from employers when they want it. Understanding and leveraging the power of financial and non-monetary incentives are vital in winning the loyalties of job seekers and employees alike in a highly competitive talent market.


Providing employees with a choice of when and where to work has emerged as one of the significant shifts in the labour market over the past two and a half years. And flexible working is here to stay with the 2022 Randstad Employer Brand research, revealing the number one priority for employees is for their employer to offer flexible working arrangements.


Technology has changed how we live and work, and the future of work will be driven by technology. To keep pace with rapid digitalisation, employees need to embark on their journey of continuous learning.

Coaching, upskilling and reskilling will take centre stage for those wanting to reach their true potential. Everyone can take control of their self-improvement goals.

Businesses delivering on all five value propositions are poised to attract the best people. Everyone else can expect longer hiring times, higher recruitment costs and losing out on exceptional talent. 

What is clear is that in navigating this dynamic new world of work, more than ever, organisations need to adopt a people-first mentality. It’s essential for business leaders always to be mindful that people are increasingly prioritising happiness and purpose in their lives.

Investing the time and resources in evolving your people strategies to attract, engage and retain talent effectively will ensure you build a great workplace culture and a strong pipeline of talent into the future.

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