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Generation Z in workplace

Recruiting Generation Z: How to engage and retain the youngest generation of talent

Engaging and retaining Generation Z in the workplace will require employers to adjust their recruitment strategies. Where compensation and benefits where driving factors for  Gen X and the retiring Boomer, the youngest generation of talent is more attracted to opportunities with organizations that offer flexible and values-based careers. 

Generation Z —
those born between 1997 and 2012 — is the largest generation by global population. With Gen Z’s sheer numbers just beginning to permeate the workforce, now is an ideal time to consider how to attract and retain Generation Z’s top talent.

Who is Gen Z? Getting to know Generation Z in the workplace

By 2025, Generation Z’s 70 million-plus individuals are expected to comprise nearly 30% of the worldwide workforce. Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, and it is also on pace to be the best-educated generation

Another distinguishing factor between Generation Z and preceding generations is its inherent technology immersion. Television exploded with Baby Boomers, the internet advanced with Generation X, and cell phones and social media came of age with millennials.

But Generation Z was practically born plugged in. And it collectively has different ideas about traditional workplace models and company culture than prior age groups.

If you’re looking to engage and retain, Generation Z in the workplace, here are some useful tips:

What matters to Gen Z workers

Generation Z’s oldest members are filtering into the workforce amid a pandemic, a labor shortage and a socioeconomic rollercoaster. These factors have informed their views about what makes a particular job and organization desirable.

Generation Z isn’t afraid to raise its voice and Generation Z in the workplace demands a purpose beyond ensuring a profit. This generation wants to know their work is  contributing to a positive societal or environmental impact.

Flexibility and balance over salary and benefits

For example, a recent survey of millennial and Gen Z workers by Deloitte’s business consultancy firm highlighted younger workers’ desire for flexibility. Approximately 75% of millennials and Gen Zers said hybrid or remote is their preferred work mode; 66% of Gen Z workers currently employed in a full-time office setting said they wished their jobs were hybrid or fully remote.

When they do have to work on-site, Generation Z prefers actual offices defined by walls as opposed to cubicles, according to the survey. Generation Z also wants an equitable work-life balance, professional development opportunities, wellness support that includes mental health, and employer commitment to positive social impacts.

Why Gen Z Workers choose their jobs

According to the Deloitte survey, the top reasons Gen Z laborers chose to work for their current employers are:

  • Good work-life balance
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Salary and/or other financial benefits
  • Positive workplace culture
  • Opportunities to progress
  • Sense of meaningfulness in work
  • Flexible working model

Generation Z is also attuned to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is not only the most diverse generation ethnically and racially but also in gender and sexual self-identification; Generation Z wants to see that diversity reflected in work settings.

Best practices for recruiting (and retaining) Generation Z

One key to attracting and keeping Generation Z’s premier talent is to listen. Knowing that employers pay attention to what they say is important to them and why they choose to work for particular employers. Hiring managers should consider incorporating elements like a flexible work model or other creative perks as they suit an organization.

Best practices for recruiting Generation Z should begin from the very beginning in the job posting. It’s important to lead with compelling reasons why a Gen Z workers would want to work at your organization, and these compelling reasons must include what matters most to them. 

Development opportunities and social responsibility

Generation Z workers identify continuing education and professional development opportunities as enticements, and these opportunities don’t have to be high-cost offerings such as college course reimbursement or off-site training seminars. Many Generation Z workers are already accustomed to micro-learning, in which educational content is delivered in short, often video-based form.

Demonstrate your organization’s commitment to diversity and social responsibility, and involve employees in organizational efforts to affect change. Corporate social responsibility has become a necessity, primarily fuelled by Generation Z idealism. The idea is so crucial to capturing Generation Z talent that “CSR” has become an instantly recognizable workplace abbreviation, and Gen Z links CSR strongly to an organization’s overall brand.

Likewise, Generation Z is driven to support and work for so-called “purpose brands.” This term applies to a spectrum of companies that support specific social causes, use natural or recycled products, or adhere to environmentally friendly practices.

Connect early, often and online

Connect with Generation Z, and don’t be afraid to try emerging platforms. According to Forbes, most Gen Z workers believe it’s important to establish contact with employers even if a job opening isn’t immediately available.

The same article also noted that Generation Z values its online presence as representative of a personal brand. Younger workers are open to job-related contact through social media outlets like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.

Generation Z has also grown up with digital video communication and learning. Young workers are generally comfortable with video interviews and other technological hiring tools.

Generation Z: The Long View

Retaining skilled employees is an obvious goal, but organizations must also be realistic. If the cumulative effects of the pandemic, the Great Resignation and seemingly endless inflation have taught us anything, it’s that change is constant, and it often occurs faster than we’re prepared to confront.

More than half of Generation Z’s young workforce already reports job burnout, and only about one-third believe they will stay at their first job for four years or longer. While younger workers have been quitting or changing jobs in significant numbers in recent years, data suggests those moves aren’t due to generational volatility but either financial necessity or the availability of better opportunities.

In fact, a recent CNBC report indicated that the “job hopper” label attached to millennial and Generation Z workers is unfair. Many younger workers actually desire long-term employment with growth opportunities within the same organization, and historical-data analytics suggest that millennial and Generation Z workers are changing jobs at a lesser rate than those of previous generations at the same age.

At a fundamental level, Generation Z workers want the same things their fellow workers of other generations desire: a meaningful job at a livable wage for an organization that respects them as individuals, nurtures their professional growth and engages them to strive for a better tomorrow.

The Voice of Talent: Return to the Office Report

Procom recently surveyed over 1,000 knowledge workers to discover talent priorities and how employers can engage and retain talent right now.

The Voice of Talent Report offers actionable insights into what workers expect from employers.

Access your complimentary copy to discover how to attract talent right now:

Talent Acquisition

Top 5 Factors shaping the new recruitment landscape

Talent Acquisition

Identifying when to use a staffing agency or in-house to engage a permanent placement

Talent Acquisition

How to attract and engage passive talent

Talent Acquisition

Interview questions that qualify talent and demonstrate culture

Contingent Workforce

Understanding the why and how of negotiating rates with pre-identified contractors 

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Recruiting Generation Z: How to engage and retain the youngest generation of talent

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