Why You May Be Losing the War for Generation Z Talent

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There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about Millennials, born between 1980 and mid-1990s. Companies, recruiters and hiring managers have spent the last decade learning how to attract and retain Millennial talent. But, there’s now a whole new generation of youngsters graduating high school or college and entering the workforce. They cannot be ignored — by 2019 it is estimated that 30 million of them will be employed. Please meet Generation Z.

Generation Z employees are different from Gen X and even Millennial workers, and on so many levels. They are more connected than any previous generations. As a matter of fact, they demand responsiveness, speed, and thrive in environments with a greater flow of information. This new generation is the future of the workforce — the job market, as well as current recruiting and hiring techniques will need to be adapted to cater to this generation’s unique needs and ways of thinking. Organizations that realize this will come out ahead.

Click here to download our free eBook: “Generation Z vs. Millennials”

But how should companies and managers go about recruiting this new generation of employees? What makes them tick? Our recent survey on Gen Z workers has some very interesting findings — data that a Gen Zer would probably digest much more quickly then any generation before them. For instance, contrary to popular belief, 70 percent of Gen Zers prefer a stable job without a high level of emotional investment over a job they’re passionate about but that lacks stability or security.

Millennials and Xers might find the next piece of data quite surprising: 73 percent of respondents expect to make up to $55,000 annually in their first job. What becomes clear for recruiters and hiring managers is that this new generation of employees has radically different expectations and desires than Millennials or Baby-Boomers.

Bruce Tulgan, founder of Rainmaker Thinking said the following:

“Generation Z grew up with great uncertainty. They grew up in times of war, and it’s much different from Generation Y that grew up with peace and prosperity”.

Common Misconceptions About Generation Z Workers

Generation Z teens may sometimes be stereotyped as lazy, or having miniscule attention spans. They may be over-communicating and hyper-sharing, or thought to be out of touch with the world (outside of what happens on their smartphones). But those assumptions are not necessarily true.

In fact, Gen Zers may be much more in touch with the issues of the world than Millennials or Xers. Remember, Zs can handle an insane amount of information in a relatively short period of time. They’re in constant contact with what goes on in the world. This gives them a unique perspective on things like social issues, money management, networking, or even education and, yes… job searching.

Those misconceptions can negatively impact the recruiting process and lead to making mistakes when comes hiring time. In order to attract the right talent, companies need to show they can help their Gen Z employees reach their career goals and understand what they look for when searching for a job. Not only that, the message needs to be delivered in a way that engages them.

This new generation prefers engaging promotional videos over job ads in the newspaper. They demand a strong social media presence, a mission statement they can believe in and relate to, and opportunities for growth.

Engaging with an audience of Gen Zers on Facebook or SnapChat is much more likely to yield good results than a traditional job advertisement. Who would have thought?

An Entrepreneurial Generation

Gen Zers may have a different outlook on the future. In fact, this article from Forbes states that “72% percent of high school students say they want to start a business someday”. Gen Zers grew up in a recession — it only makes sense they’re interested in starting a business and investing in their future.

According to this study from Northeastern University this segment of the population is not interested in the prospect of student load debt, even though they believe a higher education is important. As a matter of fact, our study revealed that 53 percent of respondents claim student loan debt is a major consideration in their education and career choices. Many Gen Zers have witnessed the Millennials before them struggle to make ends meet in the looming shadow of their student loan debt. Therefore, when screening job applicants, employers should keep an open mind about candidates who didn’t follow the traditional four-year college path. It’s likely that many members of Gen Z will opt for DIY education, and may be the ambitious, industrious self-starters you need.

This is a generation that is highly connected, open, and optimistic about their future – and with good reason.

To learn more about Gen Z, check out the recent Adecco eBook here.

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