They’re coming – and they know what they want!

Generation Z - They’re coming – and they know what they want!
Generation Z - They’re coming – and they know what they want!

We’ve spent the last couple of decades evolving our recruitment processes to appeal to millennials; the largest and most educated generation we’ve ever seen. Now it’s all change. Those thirty-something millennials are climbing the career ladder, moving into management and executive roles. And coming up fast behind them to fill their place are the new kids on the block. 

The oldest of Generation Z are now entering the workforce and are forecast to represent a quarter of the global working population by 2021. And if you want to entice them to your organisation, you need to understand them. What makes these young people tick, and what will they expect from you as an employer?

Who are Generation Z?

Usually defined as those young adults born from 1996 onwards, this is the first truly digital native generation – and this is probably their biggest differentiator from the millennials. They could use a tablet almost before they could talk.  Online everything is second nature to them – along with great wi-fi to drive it, of course. They all have smartphones and manage every aspect of their lives via apps, spending on average 15 hours a week on their phones. And whilst they may not know the term Cloud, they save everything to it. No flash drives needed for this lot.

Attracting them to your job

You need to adjust your recruitment marketing messages to appeal to these young adults. Before developing your proposition, do some research into what drives them.

For example, EY (formerly Ernst and Young) recently surveyed 3,200 16 – 18 year olds. Their aim was to get a clearer insight into how these upcoming professionals’ perceptions of trust might influence their future employment decisions.

They found that ‘Gen Z values equal opportunity for pay and promotion, and that opportunities to learn and advance are leading factors in trusting a future employer. The top factors Gen Z respondents globally said were “very important” in trusting an employer were “provides equal opportunity for pay and promotion” and “provides opportunities to learn and advance in my career” (both 66%).’

Other research suggests:

  • 74% believe work should have a greater purpose. – they want to work for organisations that represent their own values
  • 84% give the potential for career progression and growth as their top priority. They will make full use of mentors, internships and training.
  • Whilst 70% of Gen Z say they are motivated by money, security is also vitally important. This generation grew up during a tough recession.

What tools should you use?

It’s no surprise that the smartphone is their device of choice. A mobile recruitment strategy is essential, as these guys will certainly be using their phones to seek employment. 

So, you need to keep adverts short and mobile responsive. Make replying easy with the use of buttons. If you must ask for an uploaded document, ensure the functionality works well and fast. And of course, social media is essential.

Video is the Gen Z’s natural environment – they are the YouTube generation.  So make use of video in your recruitment to give a snapshot of life at your company. Or ask them to upload a quick video selling themselves. They’ll be far more comfortable with this than completing long forms.

What are they looking for?

Early indications show that this generation has lost the slightly entitled attitude that categorised the Millennials. They are a group prepared to work hard for a living, and they understand that the safety net of state financial support may not be available to them. As a result, they have a high interest in achieving financial stability.

Positive relationships with their co-workers and bosses are important to them.  They may be adept at social media and texting, but they seek genuine connections with their colleagues.

Like it or not, you need to understand that these people have grown up in a politically correct society. They will have a handful of rosettes reading ‘good sport’ somewhere in a cupboard. Because there were no winners at their sports days, everyone was praised for taking part. When you’ve been rewarded for each achievement, large or small, you crave feedback and input.  As a manager, you need to understand that to connect with your Gen-Zers, you need to give support and encouragement in all areas of their work.

If there’s one thing that characterises Generation Z, it’s the ability to multi-task wherever they are. They’ve grown up on the internet. Their mobile devices are always to hand. These young workers manage their personal lives on the go.  They will want to extend this flexible approach to their work lives too. With an astonishing capacity to focus and get work done from anywhere, Generation Z won’t simply prefer autonomy and flexibility in the way they work – they will insist on it.

As a result, if you want to attract and retain the best workers, you may need to adapt your company practices. We can’t all be a Microsoft type of workplace, but we can all take a look at how to strike a balance between the traditional workplace expectations and those of this new generation who are going to very quickly become an essential part of our workforce.

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