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When it comes to the salary expectations of the younger generations of workers, Gen Z holds employers to a slightly higher standard. A recent GOBankingRates survey asked over 1,000 Americans about their minimum salary needed to be happy, and the majority of Gen Z adults said they would need to make between $80,0001 and $100,000. Meanwhile, the majority of millennials said they would need to make between $60,001 and $80,000 to be happy.
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Here’s a closer look at the salary expectations of these two generations, plus whether or not these expectations are reasonable.
What Salary Does Gen Z Need To Be Happy?
Although the largest percentage of Gen Z adults (22%) said they would need to make between $80,0001 and $100,000 to be happy, just a slightly lower portion of this age group said they would be happy making between $40,000 and $60,000 (20%) and $60,001 to $80,000 (20%). An additional 16% said they would need to make between $100,001 and $150,000. Only about 1 in 5 Gen Zers said they would need to make over $150,000 to be happy.
Fergus Hodgson, economic columnist and founder and director of Econ Americas, was surprised that the majority of Gen Z would be happy making $100,000 or less.
“I am slightly surprised with the low expectations, but these individuals are early in their careers and likely placing more importance on experiences and exploring vocational options,” he said. “The weight of family expenses has yet to hit them. Further, my guess is they are considering roles with many fringe benefits over and above explicit salaries.”
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That said, Gen Z does actually have higher expectations than their older counterparts. Danetha Doe, an economist and spokesperson for Clever Real Estate, believes that because of inflation and the current cost of living, desiring a higher salary is not unreasonable.
“Salary expectations are increasing to match the rise in the cost of living,” she said. “Another reason could be the psychological impact of the pandemic. For some folks, the pandemic revealed the desire to work less and enjoy life more. In some cases, this means an individual will need a higher salary.”
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What Salary Do Millennials Need To Be Happy?
The survey found that there were …….