Published: October 29, 2019

Forget hip: Gen Z wants to be accountants

Generation Z — those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s — is the next wave of Americans to hit adulthood and change how people work.

Yes, they text instead of picking up the phone, and many want flexible schedules so as to escape the 9-to-5 mindset. But they want to work, and they’re paying attention to careers like accounting that can promise financial stability and opportunities over the years, said Brett Good at staffing firm Robert Half. One job they like: Accounting.

Among Gen Z’s attributes:

• They’re competitive. “They’re worried about security, job satisfaction,” Good said about Gen Z, who are expected to make up 20% of the overall workforce by 2020. “They don’t anticipate jumping around as much.”

• They care about career paths and salaries. Generation Z is more focused on this than other generations, Good said, largely because they grew up during the Great Recession and many saw parents struggle.

• They value inclusion. Gen Z expects diverse workplaces where opportunities are available and workers are encouraged regardless of gender, race and sexual identity.

• They crave space. This group doesn’t necessarily want the open-office, collaborative settings that Millennials appreciated, Good said. Instead, they have expressed a desire to be able to concentrate on their work in their own space.

“Half of them want more of a private setting or even a private office,” Good said.

• Last, they want feedback. One observation some hiring managers have noted, Good said, is some hires lack grit, the ability to deal with the unknown and find solutions.

With unemployment at its lowest level in a half-century, employers are having an increasingly harder time being picky. J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, said it will offer applicants with criminal records a second chance at a good job.

The economy loses as much as $87 billion a year excluding people who have a criminal record from the workforce, the bank said. The FDIC regulates bank hiring practices; it eased some rules last year.

The unemployment rate among the 5 million formerly incarcerated people is estimated at 27% J.P. Morgan said. That overall U.S. joblessness rate is 3.5%.

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration wrote Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the 10 “most serious management and performance challenges” facing the IRS for fiscal 2020.

The inspector general’s office works with the IRS to identify, investigate, and combat threats to the IRS’s cyberinfrastructure, focusing on how the IRS ensures that only authorized taxpayers can access their information on public-facing applications. Strong electronic authentication controls are needed to prevent identity thieves from succeeding at impersonating taxpayers and gaining improper access to tax records.

The inspector’s office noted that IRS’ 52 “public-facing applications have not met the National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines issued in June 2017, even though the Office of Management and Budget had mandated compliance within one year of their issuance.

The other challenges include implementing tax law changes, addressing emerging threats to tax administration and supporting an improved taxpayer experience.