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how to attract the generation z
Picture of Verfasst von Julia Warisch

Verfasst von Julia Warisch

Recruiting Gen Z – How to Attract the Next Generation

As the younger Generation Z is entering the workforce, talent acquisition has to adapt to their priorities and needs. Failing to do so would be fatal for your company’s future recruiting success. Here’s how to recruit Gen Z.

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As the older generation is slowly exiting the workforce and moving into their well-deserved retirement, a new generation is entering the labor market and progressing the change Millennials (birth year 1981-1995) have set into motion. The young Generation Z (Gen Z) are born between around 1995 and 2003. Currently, roughly half of them are still in education and training for their future careers[1], but soon they will flood the labor market. This creates an interesting situation as Gen Z are a growing talent population that companies will compete over during times of talent shortage. In this article, we will unravel the mysteries of attracting Generation Z. Dive into the characteristics that define this dynamic generation and discover actionable insights to ensure your organization remains an employer of choice.

Decoding Gen Z: What Sets Them Apart?

Gen Z is defined by the events of the new millennium – from major historical events such as 9/11 or the pandemic to the great resignation (a large number of employees voluntarily resigned from their jobs due to dissatisfaction with employers) and the current recession. The young generation has not experienced these events without them impacting their way of choosing employers or even viewing work in general. Compared to earlier generations, Gen Z put more emphasis on work-life balance, spending valuable time with their loved ones and life-long learning opportunities.[1] This young generation is often defined by their ongoing anxiety that around 46% experience on a daily basis.[1][2] For about a third of Gen Zers, this stems from a lack of financial security both in the short and long term as well as the current global cost of living crisis.[1] Additionally, societal, economic and climate changes are a major concern for the young generation wherefore they experience a rather negative outlook on their future. Within the Deloitte Millz Mood Monitor, which looks at each generation’s outlook on the future and scores it from 100 (very positive) to 0 (not positive at all), Gen Z only reaches a score of 36.[1] The generation feels confronted with a number of global challenges expected to be detrimental to their outcome. Ensuring an understanding for these challenges the young generation is facing is essential in attracting them to your company.

Building an Irresistible Brand: Appealing to Gen Z

What has started with older generations, continues with Gen Z. They expect to find a lot of information about an employer online before applying for any open positions. As the young generation aspires to enjoy their work and not simply work to make a living, they inform themselves on an employer’s values, their company culture and potential future colleagues before deciding to apply.[2] That is why employer branding is not just a trend but now more important than ever. After all, according to a KPMG study, 92% of Gen Z ensure that the companies they purchase from have similar values as them.[3] Why should this be any different for a major decision as a future employer?

As with their purchasing decisions, Gen Z takes their time in researching potential employers starting as early as during their education. 70% of Gen Z report having made a choice for a future employer while still in college.[4] Thus, engaging the young generation as early as possible and through different online and offline channels could increase your chances of securing future candidates in your talent pipeline.

When it comes to which values Gen Zers pay special attention to, a great working atmosphere and a focus on mental health are at the top of the list. In their study, Glassdoor found that in US-tech-based company reviews by Gen Z, the term “work environment” was used the most in positive reviews, which suggests its importance to the young generation.[5] Young talent wants to be understood as human beings who put emphasis on their mental health instead of as a mere work resource. That is why Gen Zers embrace employers that focus on their employees’ mental as well as physical health.[1] The good news: 49% of Gen Z believe that this has improved since the pandemic.[1]

With financial security and the cost of living crisis being on top of their heads on a daily basis, salaries are an important factor for Gen Z when deciding to apply for an open position. “Good pay” is the second most used term in positive company reviews on Glassdoor.[5] Although they do not expect to be paid exceptional amounts of money, the young generation expects to be fairly compensated as to be able to cover living costs. That is why, for about 35% of Gen Z, salaries and benefits are a vital factor in their employer choice.[6]

Lastly, environmental and social responsibility are important to Gen Z. About one-third of Gen Z want to work for a company whose environmental values align with their own.[3] Given that about 90% of Gen Z report making an effort to protect their environment but only 15% believe that companies do so as well[1], draws a rather dark picture. Yet, because for Gen Z environmental values are an important factor in their choice of an employer, they are not afraid to reject a job offer if these values are not aligned.[3]

Tech-Forward Recruiting: Navigating the Digital Landscape

Having grown up using computers, phones and very early also social media, Generation Z is native to the online world and spends a significant portion of their lives online and on social media in particular. They are used to influencing the world around them through their social media networks and do not hesitate to share positive as well as negative experiences with brands online.[2] Stepping into this Gen Z dominated world is a must if talent acquisition wants to attract this young generation. Gen Zers expect to meet employers online, with 63% wanting to connect via social media such as LinkedIn and 87% expecting communication through email.[4] Yet, as stated above, they expect more information than just a list of job openings. They want to understand an employer’s company culture and be informed through an engaging career site, Q&A sessions, social media content and engaging employer branding content in general.

Inclusive Workplaces: A Magnet for Gen Z

Within the talent acquisition world, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) already is a well-talked-about topic. Yet, for Gen Z, this factor is even more vital in choosing an employer than for earlier generations. 72% of the young generation would choose an employer prioritizing DE&I and and inclusive work environment over one that does fails to do so.[7] In comparison, for Gen X (birth year 1966-1980) it was around 53%, and for Boomers (the birth years 1956-1965) 46% reported considering this aspect of the company.[7] Although inclusivity might appear as a huge change for an organization, it can start with a simple question that any recruiter can incorporate into their conversation when interviewing potential candidates. 88% of Gen Z in English-speaking countries would like for recruiters to ask them about their preferred pronouns but only 18% have reported ever experiencing this.[4] This number gap shows the vast room for improvement talent acquisition teams can use to attract Generation Z as employees.

Growth Matters: Gen Z’s Quest for Professional Development

For Gen Zers, starting work is not the finishing line of their educational development. Instead, they are very eager for continuous learning and development opportunities on the job. Thus, they put much emphasis on these aspects when choosing an employer. Around 10% of Gen Z have reported having left an employer due to a lack of learning and skill development opportunities on the job.[1] Offering training, internal job opportunities, and investing in employees’ skills will make any company more attractive to the young generation.

Flexible Futures: Gen Z and the Evolution of Work

Flexibility is a must for Gen Z in the workplace – in more than one way. On the one hand, priorities have changed for this young generation. With the pandemic hitting and the constant fear for loved ones’ health, priorities have shifted for Gen Zers. They simply would rather spend more time with their loved ones than working long hours in an office, making this a priority. When writing negative employer reviews, “long hours” was most used by Gen Z on Glassdoor.[5] On the other hand, flexible working hours is a very positively connotated term on the platform.[5] Gen Z expects to schedule their day according not solely according to the 9 to 5 office hours but they expect to be able to work when they feel most productive. For some this might be early in the morning when others are fast asleep, for others this might look like regular night sessions where they don’t expect to be disturbed by incoming emails but focus on the task at hand.

On the other hand, Gen Z expects flexibility when it comes to their workspace. The young generation would rather spend a part of their working days in their well-furnished home office rather than commuting to the office on a daily basis. According to a Deloitte study, 75 % of Gen Z want to work for a company that offers a hybrid work model, meaning that they split their time between the office and working remotely.[1] The reasons for this preference are diverse. From saving costs on cars, fuel, and public transport to saving valuable time they would rather spend with their loved ones than with strangers on public transport or in traffic jams. Additionally, this flexibility allows the young generation to pursue additional sources of income. After all, about 39% of Gen Z report having a primary job as well as a side hustle, mostly due to a fear of not being able to afford their costs of living.[2] While this now might seem a deterrent to employers, it also has its advantages. Due to their double responsibility, Gen Z is said to have very good time management skills as well as additional experience in different fields due to their side hustle. Thus, employers are advised to consider these assets as an advantage that Gen Z brings to the table.

Mastering Gen Z Recruitment: A Blueprint for Success

When it comes to attracting the young Generation Z for your company, employer branding plays a key role in the process. Starting from an early age, Gen Zers are eager to learn about job opportunities but even more so about the corporate culture of potential employers. Including the company’s values, especially its environmental as well as social responsibility, DE&I, fair compensation, and a positive working atmosphere are essential to engage the younger generation. A well-thought-out Employer Value Proposition and targeted communication will help transfer these values to ambitious talent. Including long-term learning and career advancement opportunities as well as offering flexible working arrangements regarding time and space, which will allow employees to manage their time more productively, will put your company at the forefront of aspiring talent employer choices. Yet, companies need to ensure that they meet the young Generation Z, where they want to be found – online, particularly on social media.

Creating a compelling employer brand that will inspire Generation Z to apply for your company can be tough. Even more so, when your career site as the central touchpoint in the candidate journey is not spot-on. Boston Pizza, a Canadian pizza franchise, had encountered just this challenge. Although their career site worked just fine, it lacked an authentic look into the company’s corporate culture and the staff’s stories. The simple “come work here” messaging and a list of open positions failed to engage young talent. By introducing Radancys Career Site as well as the Talent Acquisition Cloud, Boston Pizza can now offer a personalized experience on their website in which interested candidates can gather deep insights into what it is like to work at the company. By including Advanced Job Descriptions, Boston Pizza was able to increase their Apply Click on job descriptions for cooks by 55 %.

This example shows just how important an engaging and dynamic career site is to attract young talent for your company. Read more about the “The 6 Key Building Blocks For an Effective Career Site” to bring your career site to the next level.

If you too want to make your career site more appealing to young talent and take it to the next level, contact us. Our experts will show you how we can support you in your recruiting endeavors.

Sources

[1] Deloitte. (2022). Deloitte Global 2022: Gen Z and Millennial Survey. Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/de/Documents/Innovation/Deloitte%20Millennials%20Gen%20Z%20Survey%202022_GERMANY.pdf

[2] EY. (2023). How can understanding the influence of Gen Z today empower your tomorrow? Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://www.ey.com/en_us/consulting/generational-dynamics/2023-gen-z-study

[3] Stacey, Stephanie. (2023). Gen Zers say they’re rejecting job offers over a company’s climate credentials, survey finds. Business Insider. Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://www.businessinsider.com/gen-z-companies-kpmg-climate-quitters-esg-sustainability-climate-survey-2023-1

[4] Tallo. (n.d.). Tallo Data Insights: Where does Gen Z Want to Work?. Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://tallo.com/data-insights/tallo-data-insights-where-does-gen-z-want-to-work/

[5] Glassdoor. (2019). The Next Generation of Talent: Where Gen Z Wants to Work. Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://www.glassdoor.com/research/gen-z-workers

[6] CloudBees. (2021). Software Development Ranks as Top Career Path Among Gen Z in New CloudBees Survey. Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://www.cloudbees.com/newsroom/software-development-ranks-as-top-career-path-among-gen-z

[7] EY. (2023). EY Study: Workers feel a sense of belonging at their workplaces, yet most are uncomfortable sharing all aspects of their identities. Retrieved on February 15, 2024 from https://www.ey.com/en_ro/news/2023/09/ey-study-workers-feel-a-sense-of-belonging-at-their-workplaces

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