Gen Z Wants Employers to Help Them Build Their Personal Brands

More than other generations, Gen Z adults expect employers to offer resources to support the development of their personal brands
Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Ashley Berry
February 28, 2024 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • 61% of Gen Z adults believe companies should encourage employees to develop and promote their own personal brands — the highest share among all generations.

  • Gen Z adults also generally reported the strongest interest in tested personal brand perks, including dedicated content creation time during the workday and in-office production studios.

  • As they enter the workforce in larger numbers, Gen Zers’ unique investment in personal branding will likely spur shifts in how employers approach information-sharing policies, benefits and work culture more broadly.

After growing up on social media and a steady diet of influencer content, it’s no surprise that Gen Zers feel especially compelled to develop “personal brands.” But, as with most things, this trend doesn’t exist in a vacuum. 

New Morning Consult research highlights how Gen Z’s fixation with self-promotion may impact companies looking to attract members of the young cohort moving forward: Our latest survey finds that a clear majority (61%) of Gen Z adults expect employers to offer tools and training focused on personal branding. 

And while internet-influenced work trends may seem inane or fleeting, more and more are resulting in very real employee action. Companies that aren’t actively monitoring youth culture risk falling out of favor with up-and-coming talent. 

Personal brand-building as a benefit 

Traditional benefits like equitable pay, opportunities for promotion and work-life balance still rank as the most important for all respondents — including Gen Z adults. But the nice-to-have status of personal brand support shouldn’t dilute from its potential to attract talent, especially with U.S. worker satisfaction rates continuing to decline.

3 in 5 Gen Z Adults Say Companies Should Offer Personal Brand Training

Shares of the following who said companies should or should not provide their employees with information and trainings on how to develop their personal brands:
Morning Consult Logo
Survey conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2024 among a representative sample of 2,202 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Though self-promotion is largely a young person’s game, the appeal of personal branding perks at work is still quite broad: 2 in 5 U.S. (40%) adults said they believe companies should support employees’ personal brand endeavors. 

Personal branding has even made its way into the C-suite in recent months and years. Many leaders now view advertising their individual expertise as essential to promoting that of their companies — and a cottage industry of thought leadership content agencies has emerged in response. 

However, some firms are opting to keep this type of production in-house, which Morning Consult’s data suggests may be prudent. 

Office or production studio? 

More than 3 in 5 (62%) U.S. adults said they would be interested if their employer offered opportunities to learn about personal brand content creation. Similar shares said the same about dedicated content creation time during the workday and access to audio or video recording studios.

A Majority of U.S. Adults Are Interested in Content Creation at Work

Shares of respondents* who said they would be interested in the following benefits related to the development and promotion of their personal brand…
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Survey conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2024 among a representative sample of 2,202 U.S. adults, including 952* U.S. adults who said they currently have a personal brand or are interested in developing one, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points, respectively.

Of course, enthusiasm for the tested perks was once again highest among Gen Z adults. And though it may sound counterintuitive to offer such benefits — particularly as questions of worker productivity remain salient — they may be effective in accomplishing the increasingly difficult task of engaging young talent. 

Previous Morning Consult research found that most Gen Zers like to share videos and photos of themselves on social media, so encouraging them to create content on the job (where appropriate) could make work more meaningful for the cohort. After all, career advancement and personal development are perennially popular internet topics, and most Gen Z adults (69%) believe they should be free to post work-related content online. 

Brands for all

Ultimately, Gen Zers’ penchant for personal brand building is poised to alter corporate culture in many ways. Ping-pong tables and on-tap cold brew won’t be enough to satisfy this savvy set; they expect employers to allow them full ownership over — and help amplify — their unique skill sets. 

While certainly not the be-all, end-all for talent attraction and retention, supporting personal branding efforts can be a powerful way to show Gen Z employees that their interests matter. Companies that get comfortable with employees posting content around their work will likely enjoy some goodwill among a younger generation entering the workforce hungry for this kind of autonomy.

A headshot photograph of Ellyn Briggs
Ellyn Briggs
Brands Analyst

Ellyn Briggs is a brands analyst on the Industry Intelligence team, where she conducts research, authors analyst notes and advises brand and marketing leaders on how to apply insights to make better business decisions. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Ellyn worked as a market researcher and brand strategist in both agency and in-house settings. She graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

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