Sweeping into the workforce with increasing momentum, Generation Z (or Gen Z) makes up the fresh faces you’re beginning to see around the workplace.
It’d be a common mistake – though one easily made – to compare Gen Zs to their Millennial predecessors. After all, against a backdrop of the recession, the recent explosion of new technology, and a move to more socially conscious practices, the two can’t be all that different… right?
But while some trends stay the same, it can’t be ignored that Gen Z are approaching the workplace with new priorities shaped by vastly different experiences and upbringings.
Their values, career aspirations, and life attitudes are significantly different to their Millennial counterparts. Gen Zs are digital natives; a generation more racially and ethnically diverse than Millennials, and highly aware of the importance of advocating diversity and inclusion throughout society.
Gen Z is also the next cohort of working talent hitting the job market, and it’s expected that by 2025 they will make up 27% of the workforce. It makes sense, then, that HR teams learn how to make their organisation an attractive proposition to this new, distinctive group of people.
Here are five facts people professionals should keep in mind when looking to attract Gen Zs to their business…
A positive work-life balance is a top priority for Gen Z employees
When held up for comparison with older generations, perhaps the biggest difference in Gen Z is their demand for a positive work-life balance.
Having entered the working world at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, Gen Zs are far more inclined towards remote – or at least flexible – working practices. Whether it’s cutting the commute or simply opting for home pleasures over a desk chair, younger workers are increasingly ditching the office in favour of working in a location of their choosing – rather than being confined to a traditional shared workspace.
It isn’t just a more flexible approach to working that Gen Zs value, either.
Gen Z employees are increasingly placing a higher value on their personal time and creating stricter boundaries between work life and home life than their millennial counterparts. So if you’re e-mailing them with a question once the working day is over, you may be waiting until the following morning to receive a reply…
HR need to understand if the culture of their workplace would be compatible with Gen Z’s need for a healthy work-life balance, and what can be done to make it more appealing. For instance, if your company emphasises the importance of a strong work-life balance, but in reality has a reputation for employees working long hours and being contacted by managers outside of office hours, you may have trouble both attracting and retaining Gen Z talent.
Gen Zs value training and career development
Job security has shot back up on the list of priorities for new workers – and it’s easy to understand why. They’ve been raised against the backdrop of the recession, and are currently entering adulthood in the height of the cost-of-living crisis.
As a result, young jobseekers – and Gen Z-ers in particular – are on the lookout for companies that will support them in upskilling and developing as they go. Whether that’s through formal training or mentoring on the job, Gen Z want to ensure their choice of employer gives them the best chance at a stable, long-term career.
Training and mentoring isn’t just something Gen Z staff would benefit from, though. Given the current skills shortage in the UK, employers could find that training up employees has clear benefits all-round; meaning all staff can develop skills specifically in the areas that will support them in their roles, and ultimately benefit your company as a whole.
So, if you’re in a position to offer training opportunities within your organisation, it may well be the case that Gen Z-ers are more willing to hop on board and, more importantly, to stick around once they do.
Generation Z is socially conscious
Not unlike their millennial counterparts, Gen Z workers are taking a critical eye to their employers’ social consciousness – and it’s showing in more ways than one.
Apart from placing pressure on seniors to implement effective diversity and inclusion practices – shooting to encourage a more equal opportunity playing field in the corporate space – these are the workers who will care the most about your social and ethical initiatives.
Is your organisation making an effort to be more eco-conscious? Or are you engaging with local causes, issues, and charities? If not, your organisation may not feature brightly on a Gen Z’s career radar.
Of course, while becoming an ambassador of change won’t necessarily be the deal breaker for any younger worker, making an authentic overall effort to do good might just make your business a little more appealing to Gen Zs on the lookout for a new job.
Gen Zs are technologically savvy
Finally – although perhaps the least surprisingly – Generation Z has a knack for keeping up to speed with the latest technology. Be it the latest mobile device, social platform or gaming platform, it’s more than likely Gen Zs will be the ones indulging in the latest must-have gadget or social network.
This is something that organisations must take note of when looking to attract Gen Z talent. Although utilising cutting-edge tech across the board just isn’t realistic for every business, it is possible that clunky and outdated systems or software could damage your appeal to those raised in the technological boom.
A word of warning: employee loyalty isn’t high on the Generation Z agenda
Despite being the newest generation to enter the world of work, over 50% of Gen Z workers expect to quit their roles within the next year. The simple fact is that if a job doesn’t meet a Gen Z’s expectations, they won’t be inclined to stick around!
The challenge for HR, then, is not just figuring out exactly how they can attract this growing group of international bright young things, but moreover, what can they do to ensure they want to stick around and develop their careers for the long term.
But that’s a question for another blog…