If we asked you right now what it is that you want in a career, what would you say? Perhaps it’s an above-average salary or comprehensive benefits or good work-life balance. Believe it or not, but your answer could depend on your generation.
Medical Travel Gives Gen Z’s the Career They Want
As it turns out, each generation — from baby boomers to Gen X to millennials to Gen Z — has different priorities when it comes to their workplace. For example, while baby boomers may value job recognition, Gen Z’s may appreciate flexible work hours. As they say, to each their own.
But what does Gen Z really want from a professional career? The answer may surprise you.
Who is Gen Z?
First things first — let’s talk about who Gen Z is. Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z (also known as centennials or zoomers) grew up with the internet, social media, and Disney Channel in its prime (Millennial editor's note: the prime of Disney Channel is debatable). They’re the true digital natives of our time and have the power of technology on their side. Unfortunately, with access to unlimited information at their fingertips, this generation is also referred to as the “loneliest generation,” which has impacted Gen Z’s mental health, leading to increased levels of stress.
Now the oldest of the bunch are in their mid-20s and they’ve become the largest and most ethnically-diverse generation, currently making up 32% of the global population and 11% of the workforce. And by 2030, Gen Z will make up 30% of the American workforce! So, now we know who Gen Z is, let’s talk about what this generation values in a job or professional career.
What Gen Z values in jobs
Here’s the thing: most people want to feel good about what they do professionally for a living. But when it comes down to it, we all have different things that make us tick, different things that motivate us to get out of bed in the morning and go to work.
Like most people, Gen Z wants the usual things from their jobs:
💲 Advancement/promotional opportunities
💲 Good wages
💲 Attentive bosses
In addition to the obvious, Gen Z also values:
💲 A good work environment
💲 Flexible hours
💲 Making an impact
💲 Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
For Gen Z, a “bad job” is one with excessively long hours, and low pay. In short, members of Generation Z simply want to feel like they’re in control of the meaningful work they do. And that’s exactly what they can get when they choose a career in medical travel.
3 benefits of medical travel for Gen Z
If you value professional advancement opportunities, high wages, attentive recruiters, a good work environment, flexible hours, making an impact, and DEI, then spoiler alert: you should consider a job in medical travel. As a professional traveler, you’re in control of your career, meaning you decide how you work, when you work, and where you work. Why is medical travel the perfect career move for Gen Zers, you ask? Let us explain.
No. 1: Cash money
A survey by CloudBees found that 35% of Gen Z respondents named salary and benefits the most important factor during their job search. And in case you weren’t aware, medical travel comes with some sweet cash money, as well as great benefits (when you travel with Fusion Medical Staffing 😉).
In fact, generally travel nurses and professional travelers make more than their staff or perm counterparts, partly because of the additional tax-free stipends. Since professional travelers live on the go, they tend to accrue more expenses for housing, travel costs, meals, and more. To help lessen the blow to the bank account, medical travelers are eligible to receive a tax-free stipend, as long as they have what’s known as a “tax home.”
Tax homes can feel a little complicated. According to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), a “tax home” is “the entire city or general area where your main place of business or work is located, regardless of where you maintain a family home,” aka the place you work or where you take a travel assignment. The catch is your tax home must require overnight stay accommodations. For example, let’s say you live in Omaha, Nebraska and accept a job in Council Bluffs, Iowa—that would fall under your tax home radius because you could just drive the 30 or 45 minutes to work. However, if you live in Omaha, Nebraska and accept a travel job in Miami, Florida, then that falls outside of your tax home radius because you will need temporary lodging. You with us?
Now, there are two ways you can qualify your tax home, and they are:
1) Prove your primary area of residence is also your main area of income
2) Or, more commonly for medical travelers, visit your primary residence at least once every 12 months and provide proof that you pay for the expenses to maintain your permanent home. Once you’ve qualified your tax home, you must prove to the IRS that it does, in fact, exist. You can do that by:
- Maintaining a current driver’s license from your tax home state
- Registering to vote in your tax home state
- Registering your car in your tax home state
- Maintaining a bank account in your tax home state
- Filing your resident tax return in your tax home state
- Keeping records that you maintain your perm home, like mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, home maintenance expense payments, or house sitter payments
Voila! Just like that, you’re eligible to receive the additional tax-free stipends for housing, transportation, meals, and more. It’s no secret that the above-average salary is one of the major benefits of travel nursing and allied health travel. And as it turns out, good pay happens to be one thing Gen Zers care most about.
No. 2: The flexible hours and work-life balance
According to the American Psychological Association, Gen Z is the most stressed-out generation for a variety of reasons. Overall, this generation values their mental health and physical wellbeing over productivity and seek to find a strong work-life balance, so workplaces have shifted to accommodate, allowing employees to take mental health days and implementing four-day work weeks.
“We’re seeing this young cohort of workers demand that employers care about them as whole people,” said Linda Jingfang Cai, vice president of talent development at LinkedIn. “And the ability to understand their career path is worth more than a paycheck.”
As a professional travel nurse or allied health traveler, you get to decide how you work, when you work, and where you work. And when it comes to job flexibility, Gen Z is all for it. In fact, a GOBankingRates survey found that 42% of adult Gen Z professionals make work-life balance a top priority when looking for a job.
When it comes to medical travel, you’re in control of your schedule, so you get to decide if you want to work a morning shift, day shift, or night shift. You’ll call the shots on whether or not you want to float between hospital units and how many days a week you want to work. Simply work with your magic genie, I mean, your recruiter to make your travel wishes come true.
“My generation is going to embrace flexibility and is taking a different approach rather than going straight to the corporate ladder,” said Allison Williams, recent Pepperdine University graduate.
With this high level of job flexibility, medical travel allows professional travelers to have a strong work-life balance. Plus, travel nursing and allied health travel provides a unique opportunity for professionals to experience and explore a new part of the country with each travel job.
No. 3: The meaningful impact
Most people want to feel good about the work that they do, but that may be even truer for Generation Z. According to a 2022 Lever report, 42% of Gen Zers would rather work a job that gives them a sense of purpose. Socially focused, this young generation cares deeply about the community and the impact they can and do have on others around them.
“I want to make a difference before I want to make money,” said Aryaansh Rathore, the 16-year-old founder of Bread, a Dubai start-up reimagining banking for Gen Z.
“Gen Z is innovative and powerful,” said Emma Havighorst, a 2020 graduate. “The way we see the world is very different from prior generations.”
And if one thing’s for sure, it’s that you’ll make a great impact as a professional medical traveler. Whether you’re a travel nurse, physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), respiratory therapist, rad tech, or other professional traveler, you can feel good at the end of every day knowing you’ve made a positive impact in the lives of others.
Here’s the thing: No matter what generation you’re a part of, medical travel gives you a career opportunity of a lifetime and allows you to focus on the things that matter the most to you inside and outside of the workplace. Ready to take on your next adventure? Search Fusion Medical Staffing travel jobs and learn how you can make a positive impact in the lives of others.