LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky has issued a word of warning to employers grappling with an intensifying battle for talent: “Motivate and inspire Gen Z, or risk being left behind.”
The professional social-network chief was addressing a crowd of advertising and marketing professionals in a packed conference hall in Cannes, France, where he discussed what LinkedIn data revealed about a shifting generational attitude toward the workplace.
With the world slowly battling back from the COVID-19 pandemic, Roslansky revealed how the end of 2021 brought on a surge of professionals jumping ship to new employers following a period of great uncertainty.
“This is what we refer to as the Great Reshuffle,” Roslansky said.
“People are switching jobs at a higher rate than ever before as they figure out not only how and where they work, but why they work.
“What’s fascinating to look at is the fact that the Great Reshuffle has played out differently among generations,” he noted.
The surge in job-hopping was mainly driven by Gen-Z and Millennials, who moved at a record pace in what represented an unprecedented shift in the advertising industry.
“Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, were the most loyal to their roles, well before COVID and straight through the pandemic and recovery,” Roslansky continued.
“Gen-Xers [1965–1980] followed pretty much an identical path until post-COVID, where their tendency to move ticked up a bit.
“Millennials [1981–1996] follow a similar pattern, but when things started to ease in the spring of 2021, they moved at record pace—transitions tipped past the 100% year-over-year mark.
“However, this is all in contrast to what we see with Gen-Z [1997–2012], who not only were the biggest movers during and post pandemic, but were also the most active movers even before the pandemic struck.
“This generation believes it’s not only okay to move around frequently, but it’s expected, and potentially have a side gig or two along the way.
“Motivating and inspiring this generation is going to be critical to the future of the ad industry,” he said.
While Roslansky’s findings specifically refer to the advertising industry, it serves as a warning to every sector that retaining Gen-Z talent is not as straightforward as it once was with previous generations.
Since May 2021, U.S. employers have consistently reported more job openings than the total number of unemployed Americans, and the gap has widened almost every month.
The latest data shows an unprecedented imbalance: Even if every unemployed person in the country got a job today, employers would still have 5.4 million unfilled roles.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com