Intergenerational tensions boil over in workplaces in South Korea

43.4% of respondents to a survey expressed concerns about escalating conflicts with Millennial and Gen Z colleagues, surpassing other workplace issues.
By: | February 21, 2024

Rising tensions between generations threaten to erupt in workplaces in South Korea, according to a recent survey by the National Labour Relations Commission.

Of the 3,105 respondents nationwide, 43.3% expressed concerns about escalating conflicts with MZ Generation (Millennials and Gen Z) employees. This figure surpassed concerns related to dismissal, disciplinary actions, sexual harassment, and discrimination, with only 31% citing dismissal or disciplinary actions as potential sources of conflict, and responses concerning topics like sexual harassment or discrimination standing at 8.8%. Workplace bullying registered at a mere 0.1%.

The survey, conducted online from January 15 to 26, underscores broader trends observed in many organisations, where conflicts over duty hours, work methods, and corporate culture have become significant social issues.

These conflicts stem from contrasting characteristics and expectations between MZ and older generations. While loyalty and experience are valued by older employees, younger individuals, especially Gen Z, prioritise autonomy, flexibility, and purpose in their work.

READ MORE: Seniors fill majority of new jobs in South Korea

The survey also delved into perceptions of job mobility, with 76% of respondents anticipating an increase in job changes. Analysis by age group revealed varying levels of optimism, with individuals under 30 being the most optimistic at 81.4%, followed by those in their 40s at 74.3%, those in their 50s at 74.1%, and those aged 60 or older at 67.5%, reported The Korea Times.