Millennials Generation Z are entitled.”
Millennials Generation Z want everything handed to them on a plate.”
Millennials Generation Z are ruining [insert latest buzzword here].”
Whilst the Millennials had the Spice Girls to tell us what they want (what they really really want), it’s no longer their game. As the newest generation begins to move into the workforce, many are left wondering: Are they really that different from the Millennials before them?
Do Gen Z dream of Electric Sheep?
If Millennials were the “smartphone generation”, then Generation Z are going to be defined by Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and yet more to come. Though the definition is hazy, it is typically agreed that “Gen Z” is formed of the young’uns born in 1995 and after – the generation just graduating and entering the workforce now. Even more tech-savvy than the Millennials before them, most of Gen Z have grown up without even having heard of dial-up, let alone a time before the internet. They have instant information at their fingertips and expect instant communication as well. If you’re behind on the times, don’t expect to attract any of Gen Z.
Modern Problems require Modern Solutions
It’s not just up-to-date tech that Gen Z want. Employers need to get with the times in every area! Generation Z are aware that workplace traditions are outdated and non-functional. The Baby Boomers espoused a “9-5, turn up, try hard, and keep your head down” culture as the path to progression, but Gen Z watched their B-Boomer parents lose their jobs in repeated recessions. Their older siblings went to Uni, and yet they’re still living at home, unemployed, into their thirties.
As such, the new generation want employers to consider new and dynamic approaches…
- Consider opening hiring policies to non-degree level applicants; 16% of those interviewed in a recent survey expressed their primary concern for the future to be tuition debt!
- Eschew the 9-5! Many companies find a 4.5 working-day week, or the option to work from home, opens up far more potential applicants.
It sounds arrogant, but Gen Z are aware of their own worth. They know that companies need employees as much as they need a job, and so unlike the Millennial dream of immediate financial stability (34% placing it as their top priority), 32% of Gen Z surveyed listed “finding their dream job” as their top priority.
It’s no surprise, then, that a quarter are willing to skedaddle in their first year, and 83% of Gen Z stated that they believed 3 years was an appropriate duration before they should move on from their first job! Internships are less attractive now than apprenticeships that are likely to place them in an actual position. They need an incentive to stick around.
Retention, then, becomes hugely important. Consider these tips, when working with Gen Z, to keep them on board:
Clear Progression: Gen Z are looking for their Dream Job. They’re still willing to wait for it, but only if there is a clear path forward. Make sure you establish what availability there is for promotion, even if it’s down the line. 36% of individuals surveyed listed Career Growth as the key priority when considering a new position.
On the other hand, don’t mess them around; if they feel you’ve not been up-front, or you’re giving too little in return for what you ask, Gen Z are far less likely to stick around. Transparency is key!
Mentoring and Guidance: With one in three Uni Graduates expressing concerns that they don’t feel they have been taught “real life” skills, many are looking for close mentoring availability. Show that you are invested in them as a person, and want to build them up as a team, rather than employer and employee just using each other. Form a relationship, not a workplace booty call!
What do you Meme?
Being “down with the kids” is something that will haunt us all, eventually. Inevitably, the collective consciousness moves on with increasing velocity by the year. Even if it requires constant effort, it’s important that companies keep up with the zeitgeist. Everyone wishes they had been the first to reach out by Twitter, and then by Instagram. Even now, new medias are emerging, with companies setting up their own branding on services like Snapchat and TikTok. More than half of companies interviewed hadn’t even considered a branding programme
Gen Z want to work for employers who understand them and their sense of humour, as well as communicating with them on the newest and shiniest platforms. There’s no point listing them here, as they will be outdated within the year, but that’s down to you! Get with the times or get left behind!
Credit: George Bandy