This is the first year that members of Generation Z are graduating from schools around the nation and entering the workforce. Born between 1996 and 2010, this generation follows millennials — a group that's received much attention and focus because of its sheer size and unique differences from any other generation.
Recruiting graduates from Generation Z will again require HR leaders to adjust their approach.
What Matters to Generation Z Applicants
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that Gen Zers care about salary, benefits and advancement first — not finding meaning like millennials. The Chicago Tribune reports that David Stillman, author of "Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace," says, "They are radically different from millennials." But in what ways?
Yello, a talent acquisition technology firm released its recruiting survey analyzing input from more than 1,400 recent graduates, comparing 2017 to 2016 data. So as HR professionals seek to reach out and engage the members of this generation, what do they need to know? According to Yello, key takeaways about Gen Zers include:
- The need for speed — 74 percent have turned down job offers that were too slow
- An affinity for texting — 86 percent prefer receiving texts to get information about the hiring process
- A mobile-friendly process —26 percent have applied for positions using their mobile devices
Technology Is Critical
The heavy reliance on technology comes as no surprise. "Generation Z is the most technically savvy and digitally-focused talent market we have ever seen, even more so than millennials," says Christy Hopkins, HR staff writer at FitSmallBusiness.com. Hopkins points out how there's a wide variance among millennials, since those born in the 1980s tend to be less technical than those born in the 1990s.
Financial Stability Matters
Because this group also grew up watching their parents face growing debt and the economic crash of 2008, Hopkins says they're one of the savviest generations for saving money that we've seen yet. "They're looking for organizations with a strong mission and vision — and a strong bottom line," she says. "A business that appears unstable or reckless with cash will not attract Gen Zers since they appear to have the commitment level of a baby boomer when looking for a new role," Hopkins says. "They want someplace to call home for a while and don't want to be laid off like their older sibling millennials have been."
A Competitive Generation
Another interesting distinction between recruiting graduates from Generation Z compared to other generations is their competitiveness. Tom Mitchell, CEO of Global Intermix, a translation services firm, has hired a number of Gen Zers through his firm's internship program. "From my experience, Gen Zers are much more motivated by competition," he says. "So we plan to emphasize individual benchmarks a bit more publicly than in the past." While millennials were more driven by group goals and collaboration, Mitchell says, these younger employees perform better when they're engaged in a competition. "Because Generation Z employees are primarily concerned with job security and earning potential, it will be important to ensure that they have a clear vision of their role and growth potential in the organization," he says. Giving Gen Zers a clear idea of their career path may help ensure they remain dedicated to their job — and the company — over time.
Gen Zers Are Ready to Work
This is also a generation that's ready to work — now. In fact, according to the SHRM report cite above, 15 percent would welcome the chance to take a job right out of high school, 47 percent would consider it and 60 percent would be open to foregoing a college degree altogether in favor of taking a job that provided education in their areas of interest.
Gen Zers are ready for the workplace. So the question now becomes: Is you organization ready for them?
Stay up-to-date on the latest workforce trends and insights for HR leaders: subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
Featured on SPARK
SIGN UP FOR THE SPARK NEWSLETTER