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Despite Low Retention Scores, Gen Z Are Engaged at Work

Gen Z are at least 20 points more likely to leave than every other generation in the workforce

Younger workers least likely to say they have the flexibility they desire at work and report the lowest levels of well-being

Last updated:  May 14, 2024

PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE, May 14, 2024 – Contrary to popular belief, Gen Z workers are willing to work hard and are engaged at work – they’re just the most likely to leave as well, according to a new analysis of Qualtrics research.

Three-quarters (74%) of Gen Z workers (up to 27 years old) are engaged at work, and along with millennials are the most motivated to contribute more than is required at work (72%). Most (74%) Gen Z workers will even recommend their company as a great place to work. Yet despite being engaged and motivated, only 40% of Gen Z workers plan to stay with their current company for three or more years. That’s at least 20 points lower than any other generation in the United States.

Older workers are less engaged, with Baby Boomers being the least engaged generation of employees. In fact, despite the recent trend of “quiet quitting,” Gen Z employees are much more likely to be motivated to go above and beyond than Baby Boomers.

“The employee experience is important for everyone – at all stages of life and career, and equal care should be given to those later in their career as those just getting started,” said Qualtrics’ Chief Workplace Psychologist, Dr. Benjamin Granger. “The relatively low engagement scores among the Baby Boomer generation suggests that organizations may not be meeting the shifting needs of these workers, who may place higher value on career stability.”

With Gen Z predicted to outnumber Baby Boomers in the workplace this year, leaders have to navigate creating an employee experience that understands and addresses a very diverse set of needs and expectations. Organizations able to understand the needs of each generation will have an advantage in attracting talent and retaining high-performing teams.

Across all generations, employees are more likely to stay if they feel they can meet career goals and have benefits that meet their needs. But Gen Z has unique drivers that reveal how this young generation is bringing a new perspective to the workplace. They want to be able to challenge the traditional way of doing things, and it’s important to them to know how to report unethical business practices. Neither of these are strong retention factors for older generations.

And while Gen Z employees are as engaged as the typical American worker, they have unique factors that drive their engagement. They are engaged at work when they can balance their work and personal life, and when they feel that their manager cares about their well-being. Older generations are driven by factors like productivity and optimizing their skills at work.

Despite their desire for work-life balance, young workers are least likely to say that they have the flexibility to meet both work and personal needs. They also report lower levels of well-being, especially when it comes to feeling energized or positive about themselves at work.

“Gen Z workers are relatively new to the workforce and it’s well known that stage of life greatly impacts workers’ needs and expectations – and yes, new generations of workers bring different ideas of what role work plays in their lives,” said Granger. “But leaders who actively listen to these workers’ expectations and needs can win over great employees who are willing to go above and beyond.”

US  Gen Z Millennial Gen X Baby Boomer
Intend to stay 3+ years 62% 40% 65% 76% 60%
Engagement 73% 74% 76% 73% 67%
Company motivates me to contribute more than required 68% 72% 72% 68% 58%
Would recommend the company as a great place to work 73% 74% 76% 74% 65%
Have flexibility needed to meet work & personal needs 77% 71% 79% 77% 77%
Feel energized at work 64% 59% 68% 64% 62%
Feel positive about myself at work 79% 71% 81% 80% 81%


About Qualtrics
Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees. With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle. To learn more, please visit