By 2030, Generation Z will make up a third of the workforce and Akkodis already has numerous Gen-Zers on the team. But what drives these digital natives, what types of environments do they like to work in, and how do they avoid burn-out in these tempestuous times?
We sat down with some of our terrific twenty-somethings to find out exactly what makes them tick.
Name: Annabell Brandes
Position: Junior Consultant, President’s Office
Name: Ibtihaj Chaouki
Name: Marc Hitzel
Position: Recruiter EoD
Name: Peter Matuszak
Position: Business Development Manager
Name: Abel Verghese
Position: Associate Consultant
Q: What most motivates and inspires you?
Ibtihaj: My country motivates me. I come from Lebanon. It’s a place that always makes me feel I want to keep growing. It spurs me on to obtain financial stability, but also creates a voice – one that aims to make a change in the world.
Annabell: I love seeing the bigger picture and what small actions deliver on a big scale. I also like to be able to say, “My company did this” to my friends and family.
Marc: Many different things motivate me! I often think about my future and where I want to be. I always think about what my five-year plan looks like, so I have a direct goal in mind, which I have the ambition to achieve.
Abel: What inspires me is how in-depth and ingenious the systems we use are. I’m inspired by how people have thought about and executed the build of the systems and technology we use and rely on. I’m also motivated by being able to work in that space, creating technology and systems used in the world around us.
Peter: Competition motivates me, and the opportunity to grow and develop personally and professionally. I’ve always been very competitive. I’ve played sports all my life and golf in college. I work in business development where the onus is on you to bring in revenue and I enjoy the competitive aspect of doing that.
Q: How would you describe your ideal working environment? What do you need to help you thrive?
Abel: Having a good team is necessary for a good working environment. It also helps to be around people with experience so you can learn from them, and to spend time with the team that’s not specifically related to work.
Peter: Akkodis has both a team and an individualistic aspect I enjoy. Everyone wants to help you and there’s a great support system. I don’t need much external motivation but it’s there when you see someone else close a deal. But day-to-day, sales rely on internal motivation – and if you aren’t successful you need to look at yourself. I love that challenge and the drive to be successful.
Ibtihaj: The ideal work environment for me is flexible and values well-being. The pandemic showed that people can work wherever they want and almost whenever they want. Today success shouldn’t be defined by how many hours we work, but how we work.
Marc: The first thing that comes into my head is recognition. I want to do my job well, but at the same time, I want to be shown the respect I deserve. The team is also an essential factor in ensuring a good working atmosphere.
Annabell: I like a happy, friendly, and supportive environment where you can ask any question. And teamwork is also one of the most important aspects for me in a work environment.
Q: How do you manage your work-life balance and maintain well-being?
Peter: I still play golf to unwind. Golf is great for relaxing – but also great for networking with clients (which I would call 90 percent fun, 10 percent business!). That’s all part of building genuine relationships rather than just transactional ones – something Akkodis encourages.
Annabell: I have a pretty flexible work schedule. It’s easy for me to combine my private and work life: that’s why I’m a big believer in flexible working – it was one of the things that attracted me to Akkodis.
Abel: Having things to do outside work is important – hobbies that are not related in any way to work. Getting into activities on the weekends helps to reset (such as motorbike riding and surfing). They help you feel fresh when you come to work because you switch off the work part of your mind.
Ibtihaj: I tell any friend struggling to maintain a good work-life balance to slow down. Nothing is worth compromising your health. Remind yourself to breathe. Taking breaks is not an option, it’s a must. Push yourself to go out, surround yourself with positive people, eat healthily, and take breaks away from social media.
Marc: I always try to start early in the morning so I can pursue my hobbies in the afternoon. It's super-important for me to go full throttle at work so that when I shut down my laptop, I don't have anything at the back of my mind.
Q: What advice would you give someone looking to get into the engineering and technology industry?
Abel: Stay updated. Before I started work, I was always fascinated by physics, new technology coming out, and technological breakthroughs. Without staying up to date, you don’t know what new discoveries are being made.
Annabell: Specialists are needed. But even if you don’t know the technology, there is also a lot of room for people who aren’t technical experts but understand business. An understanding of technology helps.
Peter: People should be willing to learn. I’m a different person today from the person I was when I joined Akkodis. It’s important to keep an open mind.
Ibtihaj: If you’re fascinated by and believe in the power of technology, there’s a place for you here, whether you’re an engineer, business manager, or developer.
Marc: Just do it – right now is the best time to start in the engineering and IT environment, and Akkodis offers the best opportunities!
Q: Why is now a good time to join Akkodis?
Abel: The company’s involvement in motorsport was a big factor. First our partnership with the Mercedes EQ Formula E and now powering my favorite F1 team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas. My generation also wants to make an impact on the world, and at Akkodis, we are working on technology and systems that benefit wider society – the Yarning App and work we did for grammar schools are examples. If you’re interested in sports and motor racing, it’s a great place to work too.
Peter: IT is a great space to be in right now. It’s booming. Joining Akkodis gives you not only security but the promise of constant returns – which you can’t necessarily expect in other business development jobs in other sectors.
Marc: Thanks to the merger of AKKA and Modis, new opportunities are emerging and we’re serving new customers. Personal and professional development is constantly being pushed forward. And how cool is it to be able to say you have been working for a global market leader from the very beginning?
Ibtihaj: If you feel motivated by challenges and want a career in IT or engineering, we’re the go-to place to evolve.
Annabell: There are so many things happening, and so much change taking place. That means you have the chance to make a difference.