Generation Z law students don’t want to be told where to work.
Sixty percent of the students born between 1995 and 2000 want total say over whether they work in or out of the office, according to a survey released Tuesday by legal recruiter Major, Lindsey & Africa.
Fifty-two percent of the 240 students surveyed would take a pay cut if it meant that their employer would be flexible about their geographic work location.
“Whether remote work is here to stay is kind of still unanswered,” said Jacqueline Bokser LeFebvre, managing director at Major, Lindsey. “What the data clearly shows us is that this is something that this generation wants.”
The survey, called “Post Covid Attitudes of Gen-Z,” aims to give Big Law firms clues as to what they need to do attract the generation as it begins to enter the workforce.
“If we understand what motivates them,” Bokser LeFebvre said, “challenges related to retention might be better addressed.”
Generation Z adds value to firms because of its “huge consciousness around diversity in all forms,” said Nathan Peart, managing director at Major, Lindsey.
While the majority of those surveyed said they want full flexibility on working remotely or in the office, 20% said they favor having set remote work days. Just 3% wanted no remote work days.
Firms will have to step up their formal training if remote work becomes more common, Bokser LeFebvre said. Post-Covid-19, “we saw a huge influx of interest” in training from students compared with the minimal regard they showed before the pandemic, she said.
When asked about the challenges of remote employment, 32% cited the difficulty of integrating into the workforce, 28% mentioned a lack of mentorship, and 23% pointed to a lack of training.
In the survey’s other findings:
- 66% said firm decisions regarding layoffs, pay cuts, and furloughs negatively affect their perceptions about the organizations.
- 69% said that decisions about reinstating salaries and paying bonuses positively affect perceptions.
- 52% agreed that Big Law cared about associates during the pandemic.
- 45% said they are mostly interested in working in Big Law, 39% said they are drawn to non-profit or in-house work, and 16% said they favor working at a mid-sized firm.