Young Australian workers are increasingly likely to list flexibility as the most important consideration when it comes to switching jobs, with more than half of Gen Z and Millennial employees expecting to change workplaces this year, a new report has found.

Jabra’s Mind the Gap: How Gen Z is Disrupting the Workplace in 2024 report is based on a survey of more than 4,400 people across 14 countries around the world.

It found that the younger an employee is, the more likely they are to list flexibility as their most important consideration when looking to change jobs.

Gen Z, also known as Zoomers, are those born from around the mid-90s to mid-2020s.

According to the research, 35 per cent of Gen Z employees ranked the flexibility of their working location as the top consideration when switching jobs, with 31 per cent of Millennials doing so, 28 per cent of Gen Xers and just over a quarter of Baby Boomers.

This is also likely to come into play soon too, with about half of the Millennials and Gen Zers surveyed saying they expect to change jobs this year, while a third of Gen X workers surveyed said this.

Jabra marketing and communications director ANZ Michael Downey said young people are a crucial part of the workforce, and employers need to listen to their priorities.

“Recent studies suggest that Gen Z and Millennials currently make up approximately 38 per cent of the global workforce – a percentage that will only rise in the coming years,” Downey said

“This is why business leaders must learn to understand the shift in worker mindset, attitudes and values to unlock their full, collaborative potential, while also ensuring their collaboration technology is meeting the needs of the workers coming through the pipeline.

“Otherwise, they may miss out on tomorrow’s talent.”

Flexibility reigns

When it comes to flexibility in the hours worked each day, more than a quarter of Millennials ranked this as the most important factor when looking for a job, while 20 per cent of Zoomers listed it as the top priority.

Millennials were also more likely than Zoomers to list work-life balance as a priority in work-life balance and as a primary measure of success at work.

Overall, work-life balance was ranked as the second most important measure of success at work, behind only remuneration.

Nearly half of the Millennial workers surveyed and 45 per cent of Gen Z employees said they felt stressed and were experiencing symptoms of burnout due to their work, compared with 40 per cent of Gen X workers and 20 per cent of Baby Boomers.

It backs up a study from late last year that found employee loyalty is increasingly tied with their ability to work flexibly, despite many businesses now looking to wind back remote working.

The study found that 45 per cent of employees surveyed listed the ability to work remotely and flexibly was the biggest driver of loyalty, but that there was a 16 per cent drop in flexible work arrangements being made available to employees across the previous year.

Another study found that Australia is the 25th best place in the world to work remotely, with the position boosted by economic safety but brought down by lax cyber security measures and cost-of-living pressures.

Australian workers will also soon gain an added layer of flexibility, with right to disconnect rules recently passed by Parliament as part of the government’s wider industrial relations reforms.

The new laws aim to ensure workers cannot be punished for refusing to answer work communications outside of their paid hours.

Employer groups have already railed against the concept, saying it may jeopardise flexible work arrangements already in place.