Generation Z is strutting into the workforce with a sense of confidence, purpose, and empowerment that defies their age. Employers looking to recruit and retain them are fast finding that hiring strategies developed for earlier generations are, well, not working!
According to LinkedIn, the Gen Z workforce is expected to triple by 2030. That means that the largest and most diverse generation of people – born roughly 1995-2015 – will soon account for 30% of the global workforce and play a key role in shaping work culture for the next few decades.
However, having entered a workforce where salary, benefits, and opportunities for growth are considered the primary incentives for employee satisfaction, Gen Zers are fed up. It’s no wonder they led the Great Resignation while the COVID-19 pandemic was still at its peak. According to Forbes, a whopping 59% of Gen Z employees were resolutely frustrated with their work, and 35% were planning to jump ship the following year.
The scary part? The trend hasn’t let up.
5 Tips to Recruit and Retain Gen Z
It’s time to acknowledge the priorities of this up and coming generation. Here are five tips on how to manage the new cohort of workers.
- Transparency is a must
Gen Z employees have a solid understanding of their worth. According to Oliver Wyman, over 40% of young adults mentioned that companies are not transparent about salaries, 38% said that job descriptions were vague, and nearly 33% said that hiring timelines were unclear.
With no other way to find out pay standards, Gen Z candidates share information via social media, and often provide peers with tips on how to get a feel of competitive pay ranges, playing one offer against another, and “know their worth.”
Learning: Companies stand to gain very little by hiding salary details – and candidates have more than enough avenues to turn to for the information they need. Employers that follow transparent recruiting processes and list salary estimates (along with a holistic set of employee benefits) will stand out.
- Flex the flexibility angle
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything at all, it’s that workplace flexibility is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s a full-fledged expectation. A January 2022 LinkedIn survey found that 72% of Gen Z are likely to have left, or would consider leaving, a job due to inadequate work flexibility, as opposed to 69% of Gen Y (millennials), 59% of boomers, and 53% of Gen X.
Learning: Clearly, there is a need to support more hybrid and remote roles. However, as the generation that more or less entered the workforce during the pandemic, Gen Zers also crave in-person collaboration with colleagues. So embrace a flexible culture that empowers employees to take an active role in planning their in and out-of-office schedules, so that they can control their work-life balance.
- Walk the talk with values
What an organization stands for is a major selling point for Gen Z candidates. Being the most multicultural generation in US history, they expect diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to be a top company priority. And a word of warning: They’re great at detecting inauthentic talk.
LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report found that 66% of Gen Zers would like to see more investment in mental health and wellness as a way to improve company culture, compared to 51% of millennials, 41% of Gen X, and 31% of baby boomers.
Learning: Right during the interview, discuss the initiatives that the company is taking to ensure diversity and offer a supportive, safe environment at work.
- Prioritize learning and growth
Gen Z workers love to learn, especially if it helps them do well at their jobs. Three-quarters (76%) of Gen Z employees believe that learning is key to professional success. LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Confidence Survey revealed that 40% of Gen Zers may accept up to 5% of a pay cut of their salary for a role that offers better growth — compared to 26% of overall workers.
Learning: Promote an ongoing culture of learning. Course recommendations should align with career goals. Focus on technology and hard skills, ranging from programming languages to data analysis.
- Gen Z workers act their wage
Gen Z regards work as a business agreement. Time on the clock must be meaningful and productive, and free of unnecessary meetings, fake social gatherings, and unpaid extra tasks. They won’t stress themselves out with extra uncompensated hours.
Learning: The best approach is to empower workers to manage their own time and work outcomes. Importantly, evaluations should be based on outcomes, not facetime. Gatherings at work should be meaningful, encouraged via convenient perks, such as free food.
By 2030, it is estimated that 51 million employees in the US workforce will consist of Gen Z workers. If you don’t create a strong, relevant recruiting program for them now, your employee base will remain underpopulated and underdeveloped – leaving you with a host of personnel-related problems. Without a strong employee talent base, growth becomes an uphill challenge.
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