A new generation is entering the marketplace, and sooner than you might expect. Gen Z may only be at the oldest 24, but they are entering the workforce sooner than their Millennial counterparts so it’s time to update your recruiting strategy to include them.
Gen Z, also known as Digital Natives or the iGeneration, grew up with smart devices in their hands and Youtube as their teacher. Many of them don’t remember a time without apps, or wifi, and they are extremely tech-savvy. At the same time, Gen Z is extremely risk and debt-averse, having seen the generation before they incur outlandish student debt. For that reason, many are seeking college alternatives, including entering the workforce before college.
According to Sparks & Honey, 75% of digital natives say there are other ways of getting a good education than in college. They may look for companies that provide college-like training or use self-learning models like UnCollege. This will require employers to consider alternatives to college degrees to secure the next generation of talent.
Let’s look at what steps you can take today to recruit and retain Gen Z.
What does Gen Z want out of the Workplace?
Personalize your recruiting strategy for Gen Z. Create a specific value proposition. Why would a member of Gen Z want to work for your company? To answer that question, take a look at Gen Z’s unique priorities.
74% of Gen Z strongly believes work should have a greater purpose, according to Monster’s Multi-Generation Survey. They also care about pursuing their passions and have an entrepreneurial spirit. Advertise your mission statement in employer branding, especially to target audiences that are inspired by similar goals. Showcase yourself as a place for career growth for the youngest working generation.
They want security and benefits that have previously been associated with Boomers and Gen X. Their top priorities in a job are health insurance (70%), and a competitive salary (63%). Flashy perks that are used to appeal to millennials, like office lunches and games, won't cut it for Gen Z.
Their other priorities are a boss they can respect (61%), opportunities for professional development (47%), parental leave (33%), and flexibility to change roles within a company (32%). Advertise your skill growth opportunities, mentorships, and educational assets. As strong multitaskers with an entrepreneurial edge, Gen Z will want to wear multiple hats in the workplace and learn how everything works together.
Tech is essential to their lives and work, with 57% saying technology, in general, allows them to be more productive, and 45% saying specifically mobile increases productivity. Smartphones are essential for 39% and 37% rely on laptops—hardly surprising for the iGeneration. Their tech literacy is a huge asset for a company. Not only will they come in with some expert knowledge, but they are proactive about learning new skills and can teach themselves, often from Youtube.
They will expect their workplaces to be tech competent. A great way to show off your tech competency is to have a seamless application process that is mobile-friendly and even uses technology such as chatbots or skill test games. Simple communication can go a long way as well, as Gen Z will be frustrated by an application with poor employer communication.
How do they search for jobs? 41% expect to find their first job through friends and family, but 54% also cite social media as a source for jobs. The network on social media, after all. Although, they have mostly left Facebook behind for Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat according to Monster’s study. That means that your recruiting must be active. Before Gen Z even applies, you should have your employer messaging in their networks and the back of their minds.
Employer Branding is a Must
Employer branding can hit on some of the essentials for recruiting Gen Z. Address their passions and drive for a greater purpose with messaging about your company’s mission. Position your company as a stable home for their development. Reach their circles through employer branding, to make a good impression before they’re even looking for work.
Treating potential applicants more like customers is a great strategy because Gen Z is already discerning customers. They are extremely likely to look up reviews on Glassdoor, so it helps to respond to Glassdoor and Indeed reviews and listen to trends so that you can improve the workplace. They are also literate in branding and messaging. Authenticity is key, as well as maintaining a strong employer brand on at least one social media site.
Play up your company’s strengths, especially where they align with Gen Z’s values. Review your positions and career growth opportunities, and identify where Gen Z could fit, whether coming in for an internship or entry-level position in the next year, or a more long-term plan.