Pride Month Conversations: Gen Z, Gender & the Workplace

Are your views on gender changing? For Gen Z they are. What you need to know.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s June 2021 Household Pulse Survey, Gen Z young adults are much more likely to report identifying as either trans or nonbinary than other generations.

What does this mean for corporate America?

Workplace demographics are shifting, and astute companies need to understand and prepare for the shifts that are taking place. Generation Z (Gen Z), individuals born between 1997 and 2012 (who in 2023 are between the ages of 10 and 25), are the next wave of workers entering the workforce. They will soon outnumber Millennials to become the largest generation in the workforce. Gen Z is projected to comprise 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030.

Recent studies highlight the following about Gen Z:

  • They are more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations. While Millennials might be immigrants themselves, Gen Z workers are likely to be children of immigrants and are projected to become majority non-white by 2026.
  • They are expected to bring unprecedented levels of technology skills into the workplace along with an expressed apprehension about their interpersonal skills.
  • They have come of age in the age of diversity, equity and inclusion. Gen Z professionals value a workplace culture that is open, transparent and inclusive.

Is your leadership ready for this next wave of workers? 

Importantly, Gen Z expects leaders to not just be knowledgeable about transgender and non-binary issues, but to be inclusive and conversant.

A 2023 Deloitte survey of more than 22,000 Gen Zs and millennials across 44 countries examined their shifting relationship with work, and how they continue to make lifestyle and career decisions based on their values. The survey underscores continuing concerns about finances, climate change and mental health.

“For Gen Z the concept of gender is fluid,” noted Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the author of Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future, “Gen Z young adults are much more likely to report identifying as either trans or nonbinary than other generations. While only 1 out of 1,000 Boomers report they are transgender (one-tenth of 1%), 23 out of 1,000 Gen Z young adults (2.30%) identify as trans—20 times more. By this estimate, there are now more trans young adults in the U.S. than the number of people living in Boston.”

Tweeter offers this advice in a recent Time article, “The large generational difference in gender identity suggests an intensifying need for empathy, understanding and communication across the generations in the years to come.”

How can you foster conversations and workplace inclusion?

During Pride month, ask yourself are your views on gender changing? Reflect on your responses and seek out additional information as needed. Then have conversations with your peers to discuss their thoughts and experiences. As we work to challenge stereotypes, fight bias and broaden perceptions, here are some resources to assist in including more voices in gender equity conversations at work: