Just as companies have developed strategies to successfully attract and employ millennials, it's time to do the same for Generation Z, who has begun entering the workplace. These individuals, born in 1994 and later, are graduating from high school and college, taking jobs across different industries, and will grow to be a significant portion of the U.S. workforce. You may want to consider the following regarding Generation Z in the workplace, as well as what HR departments can do to ensure they're attracting and retaining top talent.
Seeking Career Opportunities and Financial Stability
Many members of Generation Z experienced financial insecurity as their parents suffered job losses as part of the 2008 financial crash or lost property when the housing bubble burst. Combined with growing up in a post-9/11 world where terrorism and other security issues make headlines on a regular basis, many Generation Z members are eager to forego these challenges.
These factors, along with the fact that 70 percent of college graduates now have student debt, may add up to Generation Z becoming increasingly focused on getting a job and building financial security. This can manifest in different ways. Some may choose to bypass traditional college programs in favor of learning a trade or landing a job with an employer who will help pay for college. Others are looking for employers interested in making a long-term commitment to their careers, a contrast to the popular narrative about millennials and their propensity for switching jobs. Student loan debt is among the largest personal finance concerns for Generation Z, and employers can foster their sense of financial security by helping with their student loan repayments.
Open to Contract Work and Entrepreneurship
SHRM reports on one study that showed 55 percent of American Generation Z individuals were interested in starting their own business. There also seems to be an increasing percentage of the workforce looking to work for multiple employers as an independent contractor.
Build a Strong Employer Brand
Generation Z is the first digital-native generation, and employers are going to have to focus on their social and digital recruiting efforts to reach them. Employers should consider:
- Having a strong employer branding website, which is frequently updated with the latest jobs.
- Creating mobile-friendly content such as a video that shows the company's culture.
- Actively engaging with candidates on social media and other emerging platforms.
- Fully embracing mobile-friendly applicant tracking systems.
Authenticity and Diversity Matter
Generation Z members are generally self-educating about brands and may be savvier at a younger age than previous generations, due to their constant exposure to digital culture and advertising. Authenticity, brands with values that are larger than simply the bottom line, and brands that openly embrace diversity will likely all have an advantage. Just as companies are finding ways to bring these values to the forefront of their marketing, it's important that your HR team finds a way to center the same messages in their candidate outreach.
As Generation Z enters the workplace, companies will need to understand what's important to this next generation of talent and adapt accordingly. From increasing authenticity and corporate social responsibility messaging, to adapting to new models of flexibility and offering tailored benefits like student loan assistance, HR leaders face interesting challenges with attracting and retaining the latest talent in the years ahead. If you are worried about managing Generation Z in the workplace, it may be time to partner with a company that offers proactive HR support for your business.