Millennials vs. Generation Z:
How Their Work Values Compare

date | Category | 7 minute read
kelly Lovell at Youth conference


Generation groups tend to span two decades, but the dramatic change facilitated by the dot-com internet boom divided today’s youngest generation into two distinct cohorts.

As the most researched generation in history, Millennials were born in the 1980s and grew up during the digital revolution, and most notably the birth of social media. As a result, this generation has been referred to as “digital natives” who command the spotlight of businesses and policy makers. With the earliest Millennials now nearing their 40s, it’s time to focus on the “new kids on the block,” Generation Z, and how this group will impact the workplace.

The First Generation to Prioritize the Pursuit of Passions

Born one decade later, Generation Z is a group of young people with similar yet decidedly different goals and values than Millennials. One notable difference that sets this group apart from other generations is a strong affinity for pursuing one’s passions and the influence this has on career choices. For this reason, we have coined Generation Z The Change Generation®. Evidence of this shift can be found in Lovell Corporation’s 2017 Change Generation Report.

Generation Z Represents a Shift in Beliefs, Values and Interests

Through Lovell Corporation’s in-depth comparative research study of the work values of more than 2,000 Millennial and Generation Z members, a shift in beliefs, interests and priorities between the two groups was evident. While slight variations in values were observed between the generations in 1987 and again in 2001, the greatest inflection point occurred around 1994. As a result, this analysis considers 1994 +/- the cusp years as the dividing line between Millennials and Generation Z. In addition, our findings suggest that the characteristics that define this generation will likely end around 2008.

Both Millennials and Generation Z can be characterized as: Technologically inclined, socially conscious, and proponents of work-life balance.

Generation Z, however, is the first generation to prioritize the pursuit of passion in a career and exhibit caution in balancing their personal and professional lives. In addition to fulfilling personal interests, Generation Z desires the satisfaction that comes from helping others and making a difference. This finding influences what Generation Z desires in a career and from an employer. For example, a strong employer brand known for social responsibility, a positive work environment and opportunities for mentorship and continuous learning is very important.

For more information about Generation Z and key work value differences of this emerging generation, download the full 2017 Change Generation® Report.