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As the oldest members of Generation Z enter the workforce, business leaders face a new set of challenges in attracting, hiring and retaining this demographic. Generation Z is expected to make up 20.7% of the workforce by 2025 and 33.4% by 2030. This generation represents a highly diverse and well-educated cohort with unique needs and values that differ significantly from those of previous generations.
To successfully recruit and optimize Gen Z talent, business leaders must have a clear understanding of this demographic and its unique characteristics. Below are some insights about Gen Z and some tips for recruiting and retaining Gen Z talent:
Related: 7 things to know before managing a Gen Z team
Table of Contents
Who is Gen Z?
To effectively understand Gen Z, it is important to recognize the unique experiences and values that have shaped their worldview. Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is the most diverse, tech-savvy and well-educated generation to date. Gen Z is characterized by a strong sense of individuality and a desire to make a positive impact on the world. They are socially aware and politically aware and value diversity and equality between different groups. They are also more enterprising and more likely to start their own business than previous generations.
Members of this generation have grown up in a world of rapid technological change and globalization. They have also experienced some significant cultural and economic shifts that have made them practical, financially savvy and resourceful. They are highly connected, informed and inclusive, with a deep commitment to social and environmental causes. In addition, Gen Z is characterized by a high degree of ambition, drive and entrepreneurial spirit.
Related: What Gen Z wants their managers to understand in 2023
Recruiting and Hiring Gen Z
When it comes to attracting and hiring Gen Z talent, it’s important to understand the key factors that matter to this demographic. These include:
Flexibility: The older generation Z’ers had just started to enter the job market when the global pandemic hit in 2020, so these individuals have a very different idea of a ‘normal’ work schedule than that of older generations. Generation Z is very interested in finding a job that allows them to balance their work and personal lives, which means offering flexible working arrangements, such as remote working and hybrid work, and even fewer traditional working hours.
Technology and innovation: Gen Z is very tech savvy and appreciates the use of technology in the workplace. Companies that are able to integrate the latest technologies and encourage innovation will be most attractive to this target group.
Alignment of Goal and Values: As mentioned earlier, Gen Z is highly motivated by the desire to make a positive impact on the world. Therefore, they value employers who provide opportunities to be involved in the community and support a variety of causes. Companies that prioritize sustainability, diversity and inclusion will be most successful in attracting this target group.
Growth and development opportunities: Most Gen Z in the workforce have never had a job before where they are now. A first job is mostly about gaining experience and building skills so they can move up the corporate ladder. Gen Z people seek opportunities for personal and professional growth when it comes to finding a job and want to know if there is room to grow.
Related: Gen Z are looking for these 5 things in a job and career
Retaining and optimizing Gen Z talent
Once you’ve successfully drawn Gen Zers into your workplace, it’s important to create a culture that supports their continued growth and engagement. To retain Gen Z talent and get the most out of their contributions, business leaders must:
Promote a sense of purpose and connection: Appeal to Generation Z’s desire to make a positive impact and establish an inclusive work culture that emphasizes their values. Gen Z people want to know and feel that they are a valuable part of an aligned team and that their contributions are valued. Companies should actively seek ways to connect their employees to the purpose and impact of their work, including embodying the company’s core values in daily motivations.
Offer growth opportunities: Gen Z values personal and professional growth and seeks employers who provide opportunities for learning, development and advancement. Companies should invest in employee training and development programs and provide opportunities for professional advancement.
Encourage collaboration and innovative thinking: Gen Z values collaboration and is encouraged to think outside the box. Companies should nurture a culture of teamwork, encourage open communication and provide opportunities for employees to share their ideas and insights. It is also important to understand and take into account different communication styles and how they affect a team’s ability to work together.
Prioritize work-life balance: In addition to initiatives such as flexible schedules and paid time off, companies can do more to prioritize work-life balance. Gen Z’s place a high value on mental health and wellness, and they especially love workplaces that have procedures in place to support them. This can be as simple as meeting with employees regularly for honest, non-work-related discussions, encouraging and showing interest in their hobbies outside of work, and praising work well done.
Business leaders who understand how to optimize Gen Z talent will be well positioned to succeed in today’s fast-paced business environment. By recognizing the unique characteristics of this demographic and leveraging their strengths, companies can build a talented and engaged workforce that will help drive their success for years to come. To be successful, business leaders must have a deep understanding of Generation Z and its unique needs, values and preferences, and be proactive in creating a work culture that supports and nurtures this demographic.