A vast majority of Gen Zers say that they care about social and environmental issues—and they think companies should take action on them, according to the 2019 Porter Novelli/Cone Gen Z Purpose Study.
More than nine out of 10 survey respondents (91 percent) said they want companies to get involved in promoting job creation in the U.S., while 90 percent want to see companies do their part to solve problems surrounding racial equality and sexual harassment. Working for women’s equality (89 percent), battling climate change (85 percent) and defending religious freedom and tolerance (83 percent) were also priorities.
Two topics that show a big jump in interest from Gen Zers were gun control and LGBTQ rights. Eight in ten respondents said that companies should address gun control (up from 68 in the 2017 survey), and 74 percent said they should get involved in working for LGBTQ rights (up from 65 percent in 2017).
In addition, Gen Zers want companies to take action, not just make statements. Nearly all respondents (93 percent) said that companies should have the appropriate programs and policies in place to back up their commitment to an issue. And three-quarters (74 percent) said they intended to do research to see if companies really follow through on their statements.
A company’s positions and actions can have a strong effect on how attractive a place it is to work, and to whether or not Gen Zers want to buy its products. 83 percent of survey respondents said they consider a company’s purpose when deciding where to work, and 72 percent said that purpose was a factor when they make a purchase.
When it comes to how they can move social change forward themselves, most Gen Zers are big believers in social media, with 80 percent saying they feel they can have an impact on issues by going online. Sharing positive opinions about a company that is doing good (85 percent) or taking an online action to trigger a donation (76 percent) were two popular ways of exercising social media’s power.
In fact, survey respondents believed in social media’s power so much that 64 percent of them said supporting issues online is more effective at making a difference than doing something in their communities.
But perhaps the biggest priority for Gen Zers is finding a way to bring people together, with 90 percent of survey respondents saying they were tired of how negative and divided the country has become, and 94 percent citing the need for greater unity. They do see hope for the future, however, with 76 percent saying progress is likely to be made on important issues within the next five years.
The Porter Novelli/Cone Gen Z Purpose Study surveyed a random sample of 1,026 American consumers ages 14 to 22 between Aug. 12 and 15 of this year.