Recruiters take note: Generation Z are seeking contract jobs

Goodbye full-time positions, as new insights show the post-millennial generation prefer non-traditional roles.

Recruiters might soon find it difficult to fill roles. 

That’s because the generation after millennials – or Generation Z jobseekers – are more likely to seek temporary employment over permanent full-time positions, according to an APAC Workforce Insights survey recently commissioned by Persolkelly.

Almost two-thirds of Gen Z respondents agreed that more jobseekers are pursuing contract-based roles, 20 percentage points higher than other age groups.        

Often referred to as the gig economy, this way of working describes a labor market where temporary jobs—or “gigs”—are commonplace, and companies grow or shrink their workforce on an as-needed basis. This allows workers to act as free agents with greater control over their work situation.

Flexibility was the most compelling reason for workers to join the gig economy, with flexible working hours a key reason for 60% of respondents.

“The gig economy is becoming increasingly appealing to Gen Z workers because it affords them an increased sense of control over their careers, access to stimulating work, and the ability to grow their networks,” said Jessica Ang, Regional Head of Corporate Brands Management, APAC at PERSOLKELLY.

Overall, however, Asia Pacific’s diverse and multi-generational workforce might not be fully inclined towards a gig economy yet. Only 43% of all age groups agreed that jobseekers are more likely to be seeking flexible contract-based roles over traditional full-time roles, suggesting that the shift away from permanent full-time roles is not yet prevalent.

This could be due to the widespread awareness of the challenges in having a gig economy, with 44% of those surveyed citing increased organisational challenges in integrating freelancers and permanent staff as the most likely impact. Organisations which successfully overcome this hurdle are expected to see increased employee satisfaction and productivity (40%), and access to a more fluid workforce that is adaptive to change (37%).

“Employers can take some comfort that jobseekers still value permanent, full-time roles,” said Ms Ang. “However, with the work ideals of each generation changing, adjustments will need to be made in the future to accommodate employees’ desire for flexibility and ensure high levels of attraction and retention.”

While the move toward a gig economy workforce style is not yet entrenched, it is gaining traction in certain parts of the region. Hong Kong has most embraced the free agent trend, with 55% of its workers agreeing that there is a preference for more flexible employment. Vietnam (50%), Thailand (48%), and Singapore (47%) are close behind.

Coupled with Gen Z’s preference for the gig economy, it is likely that a greater proportion of the workforce will seek more flexible employment opportunities in time as Gen Z enters more senior roles and are able to assert more control over when, where and how they work.

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