The politics of America seems to permeate every aspect of American life. Everywhere you go, it shows up like a horror movie villain – impossible to escape. This reality is increasingly common among younger professionals in the workplace. A recent study revealed that Gen Z members are more likely to want to combine their activism and work lives.
Skynova, an online company that makes software, conducted a survey and found that significant numbers of people born between 1997-2012 believe potential employers should be informed about the political causes they support. Skynova received 765 responses, both from prospective employees and employers. The average age was 46 years.
Skynova’s study showed that 46.3 percent of Gen Z respondents believed “[i]ncluding activism on your resume should become more acceptable” compared to 28.9 percent of employers who agreed. Additionally, 37.1 percent of Gen Zers indicated that it is “vital for employers to be aware of social justice movements important to employees,” while 48 percent of employers said the same.
Even more noteworthy is that 34.6 percent of Gen Zers said they would likely turn down a job if the potential employer “did not share beliefs about social justice.” Among employers, 19.4 percent said they would reject an applicant for the same reason.
The survey’s findings also showed what type of activism Gen Zers are willing to include on their resume. The majority (55.3 percent) said they would put “[v]olunteering for social justice organizations” on the document, and 42.9 percent indicated they would include “[f]undraising.” Involvement in “awareness campaigns” also ranked high at 31.4 percent along with participating in protests at 26.9 percent.
When it comes to movements that Gen Zers would identify with on their resume, “equality” topped the list at 54.3 percent, with “racial injustice” slightly trailing at 51.8 percent. Black Lives Matter was chosen by 48.8 percent, and climate justice by 48 percent.
Joe Mercurio, Creative Strategist for Skynova, shed some light on the poll’s findings. When asked why almost half of Gen Zers feel it is necessary to include activism on one’s resume, he noted that this generation has “been increasingly vocal about the importance of their employer’s values matching their own” and that they might be seeking “an employer who shares those values.”
In essence, it appears to be part of the applicant’s vetting process. It is a way for them to ensure that their potential employers share similar political views. “In including their activism on their resumes, they’re ensuring their future employers are aware,” Mercurio explained.
She also spoke out about the difference between potential employees and employers when it comes down to activism displayed on a resume. “The difference here seems to be when the information is shared. While almost 3/4 of employers don’t believe activism needs to be included in a resume, it would seem that once a person is employed, employers might value having that information,” Mercurio said.
It makes perfect sense considering many businesses want to create a positive and comfortable environment for employees. They can retain their talent by giving them the feeling that their ideas are important and being part of something greater than just themselves.
“There could be many reasons why employers don’t want to know during the application process, potentially to reduce bias or simply because they only want relevant job-related information at that time. Knowing which causes are important to employees might help them boost their engagement, or encourage volunteers. Oftentimes volunteering together boosts team and company morale.”
I also sought Mercurio’s opinion on the survey’s finding that nearly a quarter of employers would reject an applicant “who did not echo their beliefs,” asking if he expects this percentage to increase. He said:
“While we don’t have data on how this number may have fluctuated over the years, it would be interesting to see how this number changes. As employers focus on diversity in their hiring practices, one could assume that would also include diversity of opinions and value systems.”
The one thing that was obvious about Gen Zers’ preferred causes was their preference for left-leaning organizations. The survey did not include any conservative causes. Mercurio pointed out that these are “currently some of the more prevalent movements that we’re seeing online and in the media, across party lines.” He also speculated that applicants who favor conservative causes “simply don’t feel the need to include that information.”
It is possible. However, it’s possible for right-leaning people to not include their activism on their resumes out of concern that their hiring managers may be biased against them. Conservative candidates may be right to assume that listing an affiliation with the pro-Second Amendment or Turning Point USA on their resume might not make them look good, especially since more corporates are accepting woke ideas.
This trend is hard to predict. But it is conceivable that incorporating political ideology into the work environment will become a more common trend especially as America’s political climate becomes even more divided.
Employers might be encouraged to go further into politics as a result of this paradigm shift. This was evident when corporations took a stand against red state voting laws. Disney teamed up with Florida Governor to be the most prominent example of a corporation entering politics. Ron DeSantis over the state’s Parental Rights in Education law.
For those not inclined to the far-left, this trend may lead to a more complicated professional environment. The possibility that right-leaning conservatives or independents will be required to work in an environment where they must either seek out a non-political employer, or self-censor while at work is plausible. It is possible that the backlash against politically-motivated corporations will cause them to correct their course and refocus on profits. It doesn’t matter what, the fact is that politics will be around for the foreseeable future.