Generational differences are nothing new. It’s what shapes a period in time and culturally unites a group of people. When it comes to Gen Z and entering the workforce, there may be some misconceptions about what’s important to them. Let’s find out what Gen Z finds most valuable when it comes to their future employer.
Growing up with the world at their fingertips, it is not surprising that young professionals and recent graduates get excited about a brand with a strong online presence. The internet is their primary source for catching up on current events, shopping, and entertainment. We also know that they have a good eye for credible websites, so stepping up your digital game is important to attract and retain these younger employees. Social media channels are becoming increasingly relied upon for marketing and even providing answers online. While the days of “Googling it” certainly aren’t over, the rise of searching YouTube or TikTok videos is here to stay.
Because Gen Z is so tech-savvy, they are also more likely to bring digital literacy skills into the workplace which will benefit them and your company. Coding, videography, and analytics are all vastly different yet very important aspects to an online presence that should be considered by all employers. Your employees will be able to exercise their strengths at work, and with their help, all of you will grow together as a company.
One of the most important things that almost every employee looks for is a company that values work-life balance, and Gen Z is no different. In fact, they may be even more in tune with their capacity for work and acknowledgment of burnout. According to the BBC, recent graduates face unique issues that affect their mental health. The combination of 24/7 access to social media, hustle culture, and the COVID-19 pandemic could all be reasons why we're seeing more burnout in Gen Zers. Not only is this generation reporting the highest rate of burnout, but they may also be more aware of the importance of their well-being.
Because of this, many young professionals seek jobs that offer them benefits that allow them to live healthy lives both in and beyond the workplace. Some companies make this kind of information transparent by allowing current employees to rate their work and benefits
experiences online. For example, the food delivery company Gopuff lists its perks and benefits to make it easy for potential employees to search and find what they are looking for. Similarly, the fashion brand Steve Madden shares employee comments and sorts them by positive and constructive feedback, giving applicants a snapshot of their work culture.
It’s apparent that Gen Z values education and higher learning. Based on recent statistical findings, approximately 57% of Gen Zers go to college, whereas 52% of Millennials and 43% of Generation X attended college. It also means that they enjoy, to some extent, being in a classroom with like-minded people and professors that are experts on their subject. While all professors teach differently, most guide their students in some way that allows them to think critically and grow as learners and doers. Some students respond well to a hands-on, collaborative approach while others thrive working independently.
This translates into the workplace as well. Because each person has different skills and strengths, it is important to provide employees with a variety of managers who can relate to a range of personalities. While each individual may not get the opportunity to work with one another, simply offering different management styles can make employees feel seen, heard, and valued.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Last but certainly not least, Gen Z cares about diversity across the board. 62% of the younger generation sees diversity as good for society, which is more than their other older generational counterparts. This is not surprising considering Gen Z is the largest majority-minority generation when it comes to race. But diversity efforts go beyond race to include gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, and more.
Advocating for themselves and others is important to Gen Z, especially when it comes to where they decide to work. Companies that have strong diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts will attract the attention of young professionals who are passionate about social justice and equality. Having a work culture that encourages employees to be passionate can foster a positive work environment within a company and may even improve employee retention.
These four values are by no means exhaustive, but they do provide insight into the younger generation’s thought process around job searching. Keep these tips in mind when hiring for your next open position to attract and retain the future generation of workers.