How To Attract Gen Z Employees

understanding how to attract gen Z employees will mean you have some great employees diligently doing work like the two pictured here

It is estimated that Gen Z professionals will make up 30% of the working population by 2025. Therefore, as workplace culture and practices continue to be impacted by this generation, businesses must look to understand how to attract Gen Z employees and retain them, as an operational necessity.

There have been lots of news stories circulating this generation, however, organisations that ignore sensationalist headlines and seek core facts and statistics will be able to successfully hire and retain gen z talent.

What is ‘Gen Z talent’?

Generation Z, known as Gen Z, are individuals who were born between 1997-2012. This makes them currently between 12 and 27 years old. The older part of this generation is either entering the workforce or already a few years into their career, whilst the rest will be entering the workforce in the next 5-10 years.

Attracting Gen Z talent will only continue to grow in importance over the next few years as they become the dominant generation in the workplace. With ever-increasing numbers of those in the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946-1964), and Gen X (those born between 1965-1980), entering retirement, taking early retirement, or ’partirement’ over the next decade, leaving an acute skills gap younger generations will need to fill.

The low down on Gen Z talent

There have been many articles on Gen Z attitudes to work culture, with dramatic and overplayed claims of Gen Z being the “hardest generation to work with”. Of course, these are all clickbait generalisations. But what’s the truth? What do statistics tell us about Gen Z employees?

  • Gen Z prioritise learning and development in their workplace, with 74% report that they have considered quitting a job due to lack of skill building opportunities.
  • Outside of work, 69% of Gen Z employees are looking to either take on additional work, or a side hustle, or go freelance to take more control over their careers and earnings.
  • Gen Z employees place less importance on climbing a corporate style ladder and preferring to work for themselves, with companies house reporting a 42% rise of Gen Z company directors in the past year.
  • Gen Z talent are more likely to be open about having mental health difficulties and 42% prioritise working for businesses who will offer them support.
  • In the UK, Gen Z are twice more likely to be LGBT+ than the overall population and nearly 25% are from an ethnic minority background.
  • 83% of Gen Z talent say that businesses with effective Diversity, Equality and Inclusion policies are important to them.
  • Gen Z employees are more likely to stand up against discriminatory comments and jokes in the workplace, with 40% of Gen Z reporting that they would discuss sexism in the office compared to only 24% of those from other generations.
  • Gen Z talent are less worried about job hopping with 53% of Gen Z talent having moved companies in the last two years.

How to attract Gen Z employees and ultimately retain them

Check entry level jobs are actually entry level

As Gen Z talent enter the workplace, they are likely looking for entry-level jobs with no or limited experience to start their career. A study showed that 35% of entry level jobs asked for 3 years’ experience. For someone leaving school or university, they wouldn’t likely have more than a few weeks, months, or a year at most of work experience in the relevant field they are looking in.

By having a flexible approach to years of work experience, such as asking for a portfolio or transferrable skills, a company can widen out their job posts to attract Gen Z employees.

Consider company values

80% of Gen Z are looking to work for a company that aligns with their values and wants to make the world a better place. This can include, sustainable directives, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, taking responsibility for carbon emissions, charity donations, and more.

For many organisations, this isn’t a surprise. There is an increased pressure on businesses to have an effective ESG (Environment, social and governance) framework. Gen Z talent is known as being a more socially conscious generation. Therefore, a business’ values will become more important when looking at strategies for engaging Gen Z talent.

Explore flexible working options

Many older Gen Z employees entered the workplace during the pandemic, when remote working was strictly enforced, or became accustomed to studying remotely for school. Therefore, many Gen Z employees are used to working from home and have the skills needed for more independent work.

Whilst a survey reported that 53% of Gen Z talent would quit their job if told to come back to the office full time, the preferred option for Gen Z is hybrid working. 27% of Gen Z workers want to work hybrid and only 17% want to be fully remote. Given their age, many Gen Z employees may be living by themselves, with strangers, or cannot afford a nice home office environment, which could explain why many prefer a mix of remote and on site working. This works well for businesses that want to use their flexible working options as a benefit but aren’t prepared or set up to offer fully remote work.

Encourage coaching and mentoring

Attracting Gen Z employees is easier for organisations who position themselves as supportive and willing to invest in their workforce.

If organisations do find that employees are struggling with key skills such as communication or team work, a successful approach would be close coaching and mentoring, from either a manager or an experienced team member.

If businesses do find the stereotype of Gen Z employees lacking these key professional skills to be true, close mentoring with a manager can help to smooth over any issues that they may experience in their first few years in business. Learning curves are natural at the start of any career and if the employee has the right attitude, mentoring will help support them.

Focus on career development

Statistics show that Gen Z care about career development – they are less likely to stay in a job where they are not growing or developing, compared to other generations.

To increase the retention of Gen Z talent, employers need to find ways to support and instigate career growth. This can be through exploring a new skill the employee wants to excel in, giving them more responsibilities, or allowing them to have greater control over their role and tasks. Many Gen Z employees also prioritise manager support, with 60% surveyed wanting multiple opportunities to sit down with their manager per week. The key to retaining gen z talent is individual investment and upward career growth.

Invest in mental wellbeing support

Around 42% of Gen Z employees seek employers who champion mental, emotional and physical well-being. With many open about their mental health struggles, 91% have said that they have experienced at least one stress symptom.

Mental health support for employees is growing in importance for businesses as the stigma against poor mental health is subsiding. Attracting Gen Z talent means that organisations should invest in tools such as Employee Assistance Programmes, these can often provide helplines or, even counselling, for struggling employees. By taking an expansive and considered approach to employee wellbeing, organisations are far more likely to retain Gen Z talent.

Promote team work and work socials

Recent studies have found that loneliness and isolation increases the risk of mental health issues by 33%. The study found that this is particularly prevalent in workers under 40 as they are 80% more likely to lack trusted workplace relationships. Young people can be at risk of loneliness, particularly if they move to a new city for work and live with strangers, or by themselves. It is a transitional time and if they are job hopping early on in their career it can mean that they are limited in making roots and friendships where they are.

With many Gen Z employees reporting to prefer hybrid or office-based jobs, a key aspect of retaining Gen Z talent is to offer them opportunities to socialise with their colleagues, even if the company is fully remote. This could be through virtual coffee mornings, regular team meet-ups etc.

By encouraging team building and cohesion, this could help in retaining Gen Z talent. Particularly if they have friends at work, they are more likely to stay and less likely to have issues with isolation and loneliness.

 

As an IT recruitment agency, we have many strategies at our disposal to help you attract Gen Z employees in the tech industry. If this is something you are specifically looking to improve, , please get in touch with our team here.

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