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3 Things Companies Need to Know When Recruiting Generation Z

In Hiring Strategy — by Riya Sander


If you haven’t been living under a rock the past five years, then you’ve surely read an article or two about Millennials. Marketers and recruiters alike have spent countless hours and resources on turning Millennials into loyal customers and employees. Unfortunately, all of this research will soon be irrelevant. The next decade will be dedicated to understanding Generation Z : the successors to Millennials.

How do we define Generation Z?

If we learned anything from Millennials, it is that defining a generation can be tricky. Robert Half, the oldest and largest specialized staffing agency in America, has put together a 24-page report titled “Here Comes Generation Z”. The first noteworthy piece of information is this study defines Generation Z as those born between 1990 and 1999. Here are the age ranges for the three previous generations:

  • Baby Boomers: 1946 to 1964
  • Generation X: 1965 to 1977
  • Millennials: 1978 to 1989

The first trend to note here is how the age range shortened with each successive generation. The Baby Boomer range is 18 years, Gen X is 12 years, the Millennial generation is 11 years and Gen Z is nine years. Why is that?

It is because these age ranges have been adjusted based on the speed of our ever-changing society. If we went with a range of 18 years for Gen X and Millennials, that would put most of Gen Z in the Millennial category. It would lump 18-year olds just entering the workforce and 35-year olds in the middle of their careers in the same cohort. The range of 1990 to 1999 defined by this Robert Half study will allow you to laser-target Generation Z in the workplace.

Now that we’ve defined Generation Z, let’s talk about how you can build a workplace to attract the top talent this group has to offer. Here are three trends you need to be aware of.

1. Generation Z craves career development

One of the questions asked of participants in the aforementioned survey by Robert Half was “Rank your top three priorities in finding a full time job.”

64 percent ranked “career opportunity” as their number one priority, with the second closest being “generous pay,” which came in at 44 percent. This study also shows that, like the Millennials before them, Generation Z thrives on feedback. Quarterly reviews simply won’t cut it if you want to retain this new generation of workers. Generation Z wants to be developed into leaders rather than serve as a cog in a machine.

What this means for recruiting: You can entice your entry-level candidates by showing them the developmental path to get to the next career level. Dedicating resources to developing an in-house mentorship program will save you on recruiting in the long-term, because it will help you retain your Generation Z employees. Companies searching for how to raise productivity amongst younger workers will see results from such a program, as the continuous feedback would drive your workforce to strive for improvement.

2. Generation Z sees job-hopping as a necessity

The Robert Half survey found that participants expect to work for an average of four companies throughout their career. What’s interesting is the reasoning behind this assumption. Many wrongly assume it’s because this generation is unloyal. In fact, the opposite is true. The majority want to be loyal to one company, but they accept the reality that it most likely won’t be the first company that gives them a job out of college.

What this means for recruiting: The holy grail for companies is figuring out how to be that special company that earns the loyalty of its Generation Z employees. 32 percent of Generation Z sees themselves as being in a supervisory role within the first five years of their career. This means their ideal scenario is working their way up through the right company. Once they find a company that aligns with their values, they want to grow within that company. Companies need to make sure they have a purpose other than profit in order to retain this new generation of workers.

3. Generation Z thrives on a collaborative work environment

The Robert Half survey showed that 64 percent of Generation Z prefer to work in a small team within an office setting, and 17 percent prefer to work in a large team within an office setting. Interestingly, only 4 percent prefer to work autonomously at an off-site location. This may seem like members of Generation Z are against remote work, but the reality is most are probably unaware that remote work is one of the hottest digital trends. A 2015 Gallup poll showed that 37 percent of U.S. workers have a job that at least partially involves remote work. These remote workers statistics show a 7 percent increase in remote workers since 2005. They may also not know that working from coworking space is an option. Remote work doesn’t have to mean isolated. Coworking spaces give remote workers the vibe of a thriving office while allowing them more autonomy over their work day.

What this means for recruiting: Show your candidates how important working in teams is to your company. Showcase your team on company websites and social media channels. Create an advocacy program that rewards employees who are active in building their career brands on social media.

Now that you’re aware of these three trends regarding Generation Z in the workforce, you are ready to start building your team of the future. Follow these tips to reach and retain the top talent in this new generation of workers.

Riya is a freelance writer. She is very delighted to work with many aspiring small business owners. This time, Riya writes for The Work loft, an intelligently designed premium work community located in the middle of Bangkok. As a freelancer, Riya understands the importance of productivities at work. She never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Follow her on Twitter.

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