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Attracting the next generation: What Gen Z want from the workplace – from a Gen Z perspective

Soon, Generation Z is set to outnumber Millennials, becoming the largest generation globally, with over one-third of the world’s population identifying as members of Gen Z.

With no sign of a white flag when it comes to the war for talent, it is crucial employers reflect and reevaluate their attraction and retention strategies to ‘remain in the game’ when it comes to ensuring you have the very best talent in your business.

Who is Gen Z, what are they looking for and what changes might they bring to the employment landscape?

Who is Gen Z?

Generation Z also known colloquially as “Zoomers” are the demographic succeeding Millennials and comprises individuals born between 1996 and 2010. These ‘digital natives’ span a wide age range: from preteens to the oldest already very much part of the working world. This generation’s identity has been shaped heavily by the digital age, climate anxiety, a shifting financial landscape, and more recently COVID-19.

5 things Gen Z looking for from a potential employer:

    1. Embrace technology, but more importantly grab their attention –“One in four (26%) Gen Zs says poor workplace technology would affect their performance at work.” – Workforce institute, Kronos

      Growing up surrounded by iPhones, tablets and the internet comes with its pros and cons, but there is no denying Gen Z’s seemingly innate knowledge of technology and social media. Whilst this offers serious benefits to employers as Gen Z continues to join the workforce – with familiarity comes a ‘need for speed’. Scanning, sifting, and sorting information quickly is second nature and so if brands don’t grab Gen Z’s attention within an 8-second window, you’ve lost – they’ve already scrolled on.

    2. A bias towards visual content and social media –77% of the Gen Z population are active viewers of YouTube, with their streaming consumption surpassing their engagement even with live television by threefold. According to EMARKETER, 51% of Zoomers utilize social media platforms for brand exploration, closely trailed by 45% relying on search engines. Whether considering marketing channels for consumer outreach or talent acquisition, it prompts the question: what implications arise for brand visibility and the ability to attract top-tier talent for those not engaged in such spaces?
    3. Centred on sustainability –According to Forbes, Gen Z is emerging as The Sustainability Generation,

      with 90% of Gen Z reporting to make changes to their daily lives to live more sustainably. It’s worth remembering Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist, is both a peer and key figure amongst this generation. In 2023 Indeed, one of the leading online job listing sites, discussed the influence this appears to be having on the talent acquisition market quoting that more than half of Zoomers research a company’s environmental impact policy before accepting a job offer. A further 17% of Gen Z respondents have already switched jobs—even entire sectors—in favour of careers that align more with their values.

    4. Flexibility and prioritising work-life balance –
      “One in four admit they would work harder and stay longer at a company that supports flexible schedules” – HR ReviewCommentators suggest that Gen Z grew up seeing ‘unhappy workers’ and so are set not to repeat history with 42% of Gen Z valuing work-life balance, remote working and flexible leave as their top priorities when looking for a job. It’s also worth remembering that for some, their entry into the world of work was during the pandemic and so many are fully acclimated to a remote setting, and the concept of office working is entirely unfamiliar.

      Like Millennials, many Zoomers are also shunning the traditional 9-5 hours due to aspirations of running their own businesses with over 50% seeking to become entrepreneurs, yearning for both flexibility and opportunities to make a difference in the world.

    5. Emphasis on the importance of mental health and benefits –“Young people now have the poorest mental health of any age group” – Resolution Foundation, 2024

      According to Universum, Gen Z is possibly the most ‘stressed’ group in the workplace. With the worrying statistics surrounding mental health in the next generation, it is no surprise that the recognition and emphasis on the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is also something important to them. When it comes to benefits, research appears to concur that health insurance including mental health services is amongst the top-rated employee benefits. With Zoomers being twice as likely to prefer working for a company that offers a good employee benefits package.

To help keep you on the front foot when it comes to your attraction and retention strategies speak to our team today to explore and bespoke the right suite of solutions to support your evolving workforce.