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How to attract Gen Z employees

Published: 31 August 2022

Author: Jenny Finch

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Generation Z, the cohort born between approximately 1997 and 2009, consists of roughly two billion people globally who are growing up and entering the workforce in big numbers. The number of Gen Z employees is expected to triple by the year 2030 and they will make up 30% of the global workforce. The eldest members of the group are about 25 years old in 2022, and are already moving in. 

They’re also moving workplaces. A recent survey found that 65% of Gen Z was planning to quit their jobs in the coming year, meaning they’ll be looking for new jobs. 

Just like the millennial generation, which caused such a stir a couple of decades ago, Gen Z will be looking for new and different things in a workplace than the generation before them, and bringing new and different experiences to the table -- though it’s worth noting that millennials and Gen Z have similar viewpoints on many things, like how much government involvement they want to see in society and hating making phone calls, and often get lumped into the same research.

Here are a few things we know about Generation Z based on a selection of surveys.

From Concordia University:

  • 48% are non-Caucasian, which in Europe and North America makes them the most diverse generation yet. 
  • 65% think salary is important and 70% say it’s their top motivator when choosing a job. 
  • 70% say their top “must have” is health insurance.  
  • 38% say work-life balance is important, while 58% would work nights and weekends for more money.  

Meanwhile, contrasting the finding regarding salary as top motivator, separate research from Lever found that 42% of Gen Z employees would rather be at a company that gives them a sense of purpose than one that pays more. 

More findings show that Gen Z was not likely to drop out of high school and is more likely to enroll in college than previous generations, and that they are on track to become the most well-educated generation to date. They also gathered less work experience in their teens and young adult years than previous generations.

Here are some strategies for attracting Generation Z employees

5 strategies for attracting Generation Z employees

Embrace Diversity

A diverse workplace is one what includes employees of different genders, ages, sexual orientations, religions, languages, abilities, and professional and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

A survey by Monster found that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important to 83% of Gen Z candidates when choosing an employer. This isn’t surprising coming from the most diverse generation in history. People want to see themselves and their friends and families represented where they work.

Monster also notes that diverse teams are more innovative and likely to be more reflective of the customer base they’re trying to attract. Also, a McKinsey study found that companies with the most ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to outperform the competition. 

Ensure that your employer branding reflects this diversity. 

Highlight Purpose

As we noted above, nearly half of Gen Z - 42% -  want to work for a company that gives them a sense of purpose. And another 45% wants to work for a company that makes a positive difference in the world. This generation cares and wants you to care.

How can you highlight the value that your company brings to the world through its products and services? What joy do you bring people? What benefit? And how does your company give back outside of its profit generation? Do you have a corporate social responsibility program and do you offer your team the opportunity to make a difference to the world around them? If not, figure out how to make this happen and make it part of your brand.

Offer Flexible Work Options

This comes up a lot when we talk about talent acquisition. The desire to work remotely and improve work-life balance is not specific to Gen Z, but it may be even more prevalent as this cohort grows into the workforce, because they are growing up with the gig economy. 

According to a report from Deloitte, when asked why they chose to work at their current; companies, the top answer from Gen Z and millennials was good work/life balance.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, you should be offering remote or hybrid work options or you will lose out on talent. 

Also, be mindful of people’s time and asking for too much of it. This doesn’t just apply to working over time or overloading them with projects. It applies to asking for them to show up to events and functions and participate in after work drinks and social hangouts. Some workplaces ask for a lot of this under the banner of creating a workplace that’s “like a family,” when the reality is that people already have families and obligations. And they sometimes feel pressured to show up for work functions at the expense of their life obligations. Don’t do that. 

Provide Learning and Development Opportunities

The second item on the Deloitte list of reasons people chose to work at their current company was learning and development opportunities. People like to feel that they are moving forward and upward and, if you can’t offer that, they’ll find it elsewhere. Investing in the professional development of your employees will add to their job satisfaction and will also benefit you. Employees who pursue professional development in their careers reportedly have higher productivity. 

Encourage learning and development with mentorship programs, leadership training, subsidized degrees and certifications, online programs, and stretch roles. 

Meet Them Where They Are

It’s the basics of marketing 101: figure out who you want to reach and then go find them wherever they are. Seventy-four percent Gen Z survey respondents say they spend their free time online. This means companies should be developing strategies for recruiting Generation Z employees on the platforms that they frequent, be that Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, or something else. We know they are not on Facebook, anyway. That’s for old people. 

Create content that speaks to their interests and values, which include diversity and inclusion and purpose and meaning. Use social media for recruiting and for your application process.

Also, when it comes to communication, consider using text messaging for shorter conversations. A majority of these people are said to prefer text communications over email and phone. Apparently, 73% of US and UK Gen Z and Millennials would choose their smartphone’s messaging app over the phone app if they could only keep one.    

Start thinking about how you want to attract Generation Z employees and start with these tactics. Raymond George is here to help when you need it.

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