Working at Your Company Soon: Gen Z

Even as employers continue to try and understand the Millennial workforce, a new generation has begun to apply for employment.

With the oldest Millennials now in their mid-30s, outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says it is time to shift focus to this next generation, Generation Z.

Who They Are

Membership in Gen Z requires a birth year from the mid ’90s to the late ’00s, according to the firm, which means the oldest members of this generation have already started entering the workforce.
While members of Gen Z and Millennials share some traits, Gen Z does not mirror the preceding generation.
“For most members of Generation Z, internet usage has been a constant since birth, making them the first true digital natives. They know their way around technology, and they use their technological savvy to avoid content that doesn’t interest them,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The firm cites a study by CNBC that finds 69 percent of Generation Z members actively avoid advertisements. This suggests that if you are looking to capture the attention of Gen Z, you need to look for ways to integrate your content into the digital experience, as opposed to disrupting it.
The Challenger firm cites research from Ad Age that notes Generation Z is the most diverse generation yet; its makeup is 56 percent Caucasian, 24 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African American, and 4 percent Asian. For members of this generation, cultural differences are not only accepted, but also expected in life and in the work world. For many, the United States’ first black president was their first president in general or at least the first president they can remember, and same-sex marriage and other equality movements are ingrained in their upbringing.

Companies Already Seeking These Workers

According to a recent Challenger survey, 55.6 percent of companies are currently targeting the Generation Z cohort. When doing so, they should be aware of generational traits.
Among the biggest differences between Millennials and Generation Z are their levels of practicality and desire for stability. Members of Gen Z grew up during the Great Recession, and watched firsthand as their families learned to cope with unemployment and frugality.
It has had an impact. When responding to the 2015 Adecco Way to Work survey, more than half of Gen Z members listed student loan debt as a major contributing factor in their education and career decisions.
Despite looking out for their finances early, the Challenger firm finds Generation Z members are willing to forgo a higher salary for job stability and career growth opportunities. Members of Gen Z are driven to succeed and look at each position as a stepping stone to a more fulfilling career. Generation Z does not mind doing some grunt work, as long as they feel they are gaining experience.
However, companies should not expect them to stay around for too long. The Challenger firm points out that 83 percent of current students believe they should stay at their first job for three years or less, according to the Adecco survey.
Like Millennials, Gen Z members clearly are not afraid to jump quickly from company to company in search of the best possible opportunities. But three-quarters of Generation Z indicate they are willing to start at the bottom.

Recruiting and Retaining Gen Z

So how does a company recruit and retain Gen Z workers?
“The best answer is – invest in them. Generation Z members are looking for culturally diverse companies that value their employees,” said Challenger.
“One great way to engage this cohort is through mentorship programs where members of Generation Z can interact with managerial-level staff. These are especially important, as they allow Gen Z to see the opportunity for their future growth and where they can move within a company. They will also be open to leadership conferences, development classes, and programs where they get to interact with people from all departments.”
Offering competitive pay and benefits is another way to attract Generation Z. According to the same Adecco survey, only 10 percent of Gen Z members list friendly work environments as the most important part of their first job, and only 7 percent list flexible schedules as the most important requirement.
While fancy new offices may provide an exciting first impression, what it really comes down to for Generation Z is being able to feel secure about their finances and know that they will be able to complete meaningful work for the company, the Challenger firm says.