Who's afraid of Generation Z?

LAURA CHAMBERS • 29 Apr 2024

- Your EVP isn't ready for Gen Z
- Your ED&I strategy is not authentic enough for Gen Z
- Your job ads are gender-biased
- Gen Z want to see content where they are
- Gen Z are job hoppers

There's a lot of talk about Generation Z (Gen Z) and how to attract and hire them. After all, by 2025, they're expected to represent 27% of the workforce (Zurich). They'll soon make up over 50% of the workforce (PwC) so having ideas on how to attract and hire them couldn't be more important.

Picture this - you've advertised your job, but you're disappointed by the number of applications you received from Gen Z. So, the question is: are you ready to meet the expectations of this generation? In this blog, we've offered our thoughts alongside industry data on how to strategise to recruit Gen Z.

Your EVP isn't ready for Gen Z

Gen Z-ers needs to know about your culture and values - and importantly, they want to be aligned with your values too. Does your company have an EVP (Employer Value Proposition) strategy? If you're not already talking about EVP, culture and values, then you've fallen at the first hurdle. What is an EVP? Check our blog article here where we chatted with EVP experts, DNA.

Perhaps you're already rolling with an EVP in place, showcasing what it's like to work at your company, the benefits and your culture. But does it consider Gen Z and what they're looking for? While we can't pigeonhole all of Gen Z, industry opinion says they're looking for more in an employer. Here's the minimum you should be showcasing:

Reward - of course, compensation is important to everyone, but for Gen Z, financial security is important. After all, they've grown up in a global recession and a cost-of-living crisis - but it's not just monetary reward. Employers should emphasise other benefits too, like mental health and well-being initiatives or volunteering days with their chosen charity.

Whos afraid of Generation Z - charity work (1)

Offer purposeful jobs - Most Gen Z-ers went down the higher education path, so the assumption is that they're more focused on building a fulfilling career rather than just settling for a job. Some industry opinion believes that for most, their primary aims are to gain experience, advance their careers and boost their income prospects. Ensure this is showcased on your careers site, social channels and Glassdoor on how fulfilling it is to work at your company.

Demonstrate how Gen Z can thrive, evolve and flourish - with an innate ambition to acquire new skills. There's an opinion that Gen Z can be job hoppers (see our section below), so deter that with a strong EVP message that spotlights opportunities for progress within your organisation.

Your EVP must showcase pathways for growth and progression within your company to captivate and retain them. This includes providing access to resources for continuous learning, fostering mentorship opportunities and implementing training programs. Additionally, highlighting the potential for professional advancement within your company is paramount. 'Growth, learning, and development' rank among the top 10 sought-after attributes in an employer (WMAE 2022) and should be carefully integrated into your EVP to resonate effectively with this demographic.

Emphasise flexibility and work-life balance - Your EVP should showcase to Gen Z-ers that your company supports work-life balance through options such as flexible hours and remote/hybrid working. Highlight your initiatives that help employees manage their personal lives better, such as wellness programs and family-friendly policies.

Your ED&I strategy is not authentic enough for Gen Z

A study by LinkedIn found that 58% of workers would not work for a company that didn't align with their values.  For Gen Z-ers, 39% said they have turned down job offers because they didn't align with their values. They're looking for authenticity too in everything you say about your organisation - and that's particularly relevant when it comes to policies on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I). A recent article by Euronews said:

"Companies that pay lip service to DE&I (Diversity, equality, and inclusion) initiatives without making any kind of meaningful change and lasting impact are increasingly coming under fire."

A shocking 47% of leaders said they do not have an ED&I strategy or action plan in place. Added to that, a quarter admitted their ED&I activities were entirely or mostly “reactive to issues or reporting requirement changes”.

So what should you do? The content you're talking about on your careers site, on Glassdoor and on your company's social channels shouldn't just be saying what you think Gen Z-ers want to hear; it should be embedded in your culture and run through the veins of your company.  Spotlight your company's values and social responsibility. Make sure that any social initiatives you have in place, like regular charity fundraising initiatives or a designated hiring practice to ensure women and people identifying as LGBTQ+ are hired and hold senior roles are included in your EVP strategy.

Whos afraid of Generation Z - job adverts (1)

Your job ads are gender-biased

When it comes to job adverts, some important steps are to remove gender-biased language, include compensation details and highlight your company's equality and inclusion values. This approach not only promotes transparency but also helps in attracting a wider and more diverse candidate pool​.

Job adverts are a shop window to your company and are often the first impression candidates see. Touch on what we've mentioned above (but don't bore them with detail - link them through to content on your careers site that provides them with more information and they'll also be able to get to know you more). 

A lack of pay transparency can deter applications - from all generations. It disproportionately affects women and minority groups, so make sure compensation is included in job adverts. It tells job seekers that you're a transparent company and can speed up the recruitment process as applicants can self-select in or out based on what you have to offer.

Gen Z want to see content where they are

The digital and social media landscape plays a crucial role in attracting Gen Z. They expect to see your recruitment efforts on their favourite platforms - be it YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram - they want to see content that resonates with their values and interests without being too "try-hard".

Gen Z are job hoppers

A contentious opinion you might say. According to some opinions, as we noted above, Gen Z wants career progression rather than job hop. So why say this? Other research tells us something different. According to our own Candidate Insights report and research by Randstad UK:

"The research also reveals an emerging preference amongst younger generations to explore multiple career paths rather than sticking to a single career. Organisations must continue to be adaptable and flexible in their approach to talent development, offering opportunities for diverse experiences and skills that cater to the evolving aspirations of candidates."

Supported by a survey by Michael Page, they found that Gen Z is more likely to follow the 'hopper' career approach (35% of Gen Z compared to just 8% of those aged 45 to 64). 46% said this approach offered more opportunities for varied career experience and 37% said the hopper mentality made them more adaptable.

That's not to say that Gen Z doesn't want to develop and progress - for some, they just don't want to stick to one discipline. Employers could benefit from more rounded and adaptable employees and a more flexible workforce as a whole, if their job descriptions and selection criteria are thought about differently. Sell shorter career opportunities (with good training included) to help promote a stepping stone for candidates in their life journey.

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