What Filipino Gen Zs Want From Their Future Employers

Although salary is still a fundamental requirement in choosing a company to work for, Filipino Gen Zs have diversified their employment preferences to include so much more.

Did you know that based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Filipino Gen Zs in the 16 to 24-year-old age range made up 11.6% of the workforce in 2020 alone? As a matter of fact, most of them are working in the retail and hospitality industries, which were all hit hardest by the pandemic and lockdowns. And given these extraordinary circumstances, their perspective and needs have changed—based on both their ideologies and the situation at hand.

How so? For one thing, Gen Z behaviors are rooted in one element: the search for the truth. This is why they “value individual expression and avoid labels, mobilize themselves for a variety of causes, believe that communication can effectively solve conflicts and improve the world, and make decisions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way.”

What’s more, they “value diversity, push for inclusion, and look for a positive company culture that acknowledges social issues and promotes equality and belonging,” according to data from Manila Recruitment.

Given all this, and the fact that the oldest Gen Zers are just starting out in their careers—thus making them the smallest population in the workforce today—human resource managers or recruiters will need to keep their hiring and employment tactics up-to-date.

In this article, we delve into what the Gen Z workforce wants from their future employers and how you can attract and retain them in your company.

What the Filipino Gen Z Workforce Wants

According to the latest annual global talent insight report by employer branding agency Universum—which polled more than 5,000 students from 103 universities from November 2022 to March 2023—young Filipinos prioritize employers who are able to offer training and development, a conducive work environment, and high future earnings.

What’s more, the state of their mental health is also a non-negotiable for this young workforce.

“The findings of our latest study reveal that the country’s future workforce is attuned to the challenges faced by the Philippine labor market,” says Mike Parsons, the Asia-Pacific managing director for Universum.

Simply put, Gen Zs are more discerning about their future employer since they will “look not only at what the company is about but also at how the employer can help them achieve their mid to long-term professional and personal goals.”

These key preferences include:

1. Capacity Development Training

Universum’s survey reveals that the future and current talent pool of Filipino Gen Zs prioritize employers who offer professional training and development. This goes hand-in-hand with the young generation’s strong desire to learn and build their skills.

This is where capacity development training comes in. Defined by the United Nations as “the process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes, and resources,” these are skills that are needed to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world—even more so in the workplace.

“An essential ingredient in capacity-building is [a] transformation that is generated and sustained over time from within,” the report adds. “Transformation of this kind goes beyond performing tasks to changing mindsets and attitudes.”

2. Friendly and Flexible Work Environment

While most companies have resumed on-site operations, many are opting to continue remote work or implement a hybrid setup. According to Universum’s survey, the future talent pool prioritizes a friendly work environment with flexible conditions.

And given that Gen Zs are known as tech-savvy digital natives—having grown up with the internet all their lives—remote work is undeniably a popular choice. In fact, 82% of those surveyed said they are interested in exploring remote work opportunities.

But even so, respondents are aware of the challenges that arise from a remote work setup. These include internet connection issues—a foremost concern and prevalent problem in the country—followed by remote work issues (46%), the potential impact on work-life balance (42%), and limited social connection with colleagues (42%).

3. A PHP 370,000+ annual salary

While Gen Zs generally want a purpose-filled career for themselves, money takes precedence, especially given the state of the country’s economy and the rising costs of day-to-day items and services. This is why lawmakers have recently proposed Senate Bill No. 2002—known as the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023—which hopes for a PHP 150 increase in the current minimum wage.

But what is the salary amount that is expected from companies? Based on Universum’s 2022 report, Filipino Gen Zs eyed a PHP 495,966 annual salary or about PHP 41,000.00 monthly salary. But in 2023, the annual salary expectation dropped by about 25%, with the targeted initial annual salary at PHP 374,403 or about PHP 31,000 per month.

What’s more, the gender disparity in terms of pay is still prevalent, with young female Filipinos expecting 10% less salary than their male counterparts. The average annual salary expectation of female respondents is PHP 360,606 compared to male respondents’ PHP 399,081.

4. Work-life Balance

Being in lockdown due to the pandemic has blurred the lines between when work ends and home life begins. And with companies returning to the office or shifting to a hybrid work setup, work-life balance becomes a priority for young Filipinos.

Aside from that, Gen Zs are looking for a company that upholds ethical standards and respects its employees. They also want to work in a company that offers secure employment—given the precarious state of the workforce due to the pandemic.

Likewise, career growth is important, as Gen Zs want a company that can serve as a good reference for future careers. A company that can provide opportunities for international travel or relocation is also a good choice.

The Kind of Companies That Gen Zs are Eyeing

Now, we look at the kind of company that will best fit the Gen Z workforce. These include the nature of the company, as well as the location.

Private and Established Companies

According to the Universum study, 54% of the surveyed young Filipino talents would rather go for private employers over companies in the public sector.

Despite the growth of start-up businesses in the Philippines, many future workers still prefer companies with organizational maturity, with 79% of survey respondents saying that they would rather work for a well-established organization instead of a start-up (21%). Moreover, 57% of respondents would choose to work for large organizations, versus the 43% who chose small to medium-sized companies (SMEs).

But why is that? Stability and learning are still key concerns for Gen Zs and start-up companies, as well as SMEs, while equipped with avenues to learn, are not as well-established as legacy brands.

Companies in Key Cities

When faced with the decision of which company to work for based on location, a good number of respondents prefer large companies in key cities. Despite efforts by the Philippine government to establish business hubs outside Metro Manila, findings show that 69% of the Gen Z workforce would rather work for companies in large cities. Meanwhile, 31% want to work for companies in small to medium towns.

Between large companies and SMEs, 57% of those surveyed are still inclined to go for the former.

Global Companies

Aligned with the pursuit of international travel or relocation and a strong future career path, the majority of Filipino Gen Zs want to work for global companies. In fact, the report shows that 74% of respondents want to jump-start their careers in companies with global operations while 52% prefer companies of global origin.

On the other hand, only 26% of Filipino Gen Zs would opt for companies with Philippine-based operations, while 48% would work for companies of local origin.

Top Ideal Employers in the Philippines

The survey also revealed the top 50 ideal employers among respondents. Among students pursuing business and commerce courses, they have ranked Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Philippine Airlines, Google, Ayala Corporation, and San Miguel Corporation as their top 5 attractive employers.

On the other hand, students on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) track prefer companies like Google, Microsoft, Intel, Ayala Corporation, and Pfizer. As for the students in the humanities, liberal arts, and education, they’ve chosen Google, ABS-CBN Corporation, GMA Network, Philippine Airlines, and Microsoft as their ideal employers.

But how do these Gen Zs learn about companies? As a tech-savvy generation, 69% of Filipino Gen Zs said that they would use Facebook to learn more about their employers, while 45% would check the employer’s corporate website. Meanwhile, 44% of the young workforce would visit career websites like LinkedIn or JobStreet.

“The findings of this study remind us of the importance of understanding the preferences of the country’s future talent pool and how organizations can prepare or address those,” Parsons explains. “The challenge for employers who want to attract the best and brightest is to juggle providing a work environment that presents opportunities but at the same time offers flexibility and work-life balance.”

“Awareness among companies of what future employees seek would be valuable not only in hiring the best candidate but also in retaining them, which is essential for both the individual’s and the company’s growth and success,” he ends.