Last year, Mr. Narayana Murthy made a call to the Indian youth for a 70-hour work week. Mr. Murthy, a Baby Boomer, requested youngsters, the Gen Z-ers to say “This is my country. I’d like to work 70 hours a week.” This was his proposed solution to compete with the likes of China; by adapting the work ethics of Japan and Germany, countries where the citizens worked harder and for longer hours to rebuild their nations after the Second World War. 

Bill Gates had an opposing view with his 3-Day Work Week facilitated by AI.

And Shashi Tharoor couldn’t resist tweeting (Xing) on the suggestions of both these IT stalwarts.

We love his brand of humour.

While you can’t deny that Mr. Murthy knows what he is talking about, having built a tour de force in the early 80s, but his solution may not have considered the motivations of today’s youth. Those required to execute this grand plan. The ‘4-Hour Work Week’ loving Gen Z.

Gen Z’s Career Outlook

When a client wanted insights into the career outlook of Gen Zs, we conducted an Instagram survey to get a glimpse of what they consider important in their careers. 110 professionals located in urban metros, between the ages of 21 to 35 years, took the survey, 53% of whom work in the IT sector.

What matters most to Gen Z at Work

Based on all the responses, we noticed that their motivations leaned more towards their financial interests. 57% were satisfied with their jobs due to good pay, while practically half, only 28%, derived their satisfaction from doing good work.

Appearances matter a lot to this generation in this age of social media. The topmost reason for choosing their current job was the company profile, followed by job profile and remuneration.

Accountability and ownership are a different matter altogether. They seem to prefer less or equal levels of both and definitely not as much as the generations preceding them. While Gen Z prefers entrepreneurship over 9-5 corporate jobs, their commitment to go above and beyond for the latter is relatively less.

A Team-Based organizational structure where employees are divided into cross-functional teams with equal levels of accountability, was a clear winner with 82% opting for it. A lower response (12%) was seen in the Flat structure which has few or no levels of middle management and puts a lot of accountability on the employer as well as the employees. 

Managing Gen Z at Work

This finding was also supported by the management style respondents preferred over others. 41% wanted a Performance-Based management which clearly emphasizes roles, expectations and accountability, 35% opted for Democratic management, which encourages collaboration in the decision-making process and responsibility of success and failure is shared. 24% chose Laissez-Faire management, which has a more hands-off approach, giving the employees a high degree of freedom.

Going back to Mr. Murthy urging young Indians to work 70 hours per week, which translates to about 12 hours of work per day, assuming a 6-day work week, to develop the country.

When we asked this group of Gen Zs what was most dissatisfying about their current job, 55% chose Work on Weekends over Low Increments and Unclear Progression Plan.

India’s worker productivity currently may be the lowest in the world, but sacrificing personal well-being for nation-building, especially when it isn’t paid for, may not be what zoomers want.