‘3 times a week’: Top cop baffled on Gen Z

Australia’s top cop has revealed major differences in the way each generation works. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

Australia’s top cop has claimed young workers need to be praised “three times a week” by their supervisors, and that they find happy face emojis “offensive”.

Addressing senate estimates on Thursday, AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said there was a huge divide in how each generation needed to be managed at work.

He told the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee that while younger workers needed constant praise, older workers could march on with barely any.

“We learned that Gen Z, the younger generation, need three times a week praise from their supervisors, the next generation only need three times a year and my generation only need once a year,” he said.

AFP Statement on the Investigation Into the Mediba
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw has revealed major differences in the amount of praise each generation needs at work. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Commissioner Kershaw said there was also a stark difference in the way each generation communicated.

“I saw some emojis that Gen Z use, that is actually offensive, but my generation use these emojis,” he said,

“The world’s changing … you know like a happy face – that can actually mean the opposite in Gen Z land.”

The Commissioner also said the AFP, like other forces, was facing issues in relation to recruiting and retaining staff – and that they had been making changes to how they marketed the job.

“We’ve had to change some of our marketing and our communication,” he said.

”We are having more of a conversation with the community about what the AFP does.

”We’re trying to appeal to those Australians, and young ones as well, about the AFP’s work and how serving your country is probably one of the best things you can ever do. And how there’s a lot of satisfaction out of that.”

Commissioner Kershaw said Gen Z also find some common emojis “offensive”, confusing their older colleagues. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

A study from researchers at the University of Melbourne on the 2023 State of the Future of Work, which interviewed 1400 Australian workers, revealed younger people were feeling less motivated about their work than their older colleagues.

The report also found those aged 18-55 were three times more likely than those over 55 to report they were having trouble concentrating at work because of personal responsibilities outside of their jobs.

“It is no surprise that our survey shows over one-in-three prime aged workers are considering

quitting their job compared to just 1-in-5 older workers,” the report reads.