Keeping up with Generation Z
The latest cohort to join the employment ranks are Generation Z or “Zoomers”. They are digital natives born between the mid 90s and early 00s, and they are now in the stages of completing their studies and entering the workforce with vigour and youthful energy.
Controversial articles abound, like this one from the New York Times, about managers being afraid of Gen Zers who are confidently and assertively demanding work-life balance, mental health days, setting their own hours and working less, but the new generation is nothing to fear. They are simply coming from a different context and experience than the generations before it - so let’s take a deeper look at Gen Z, their primary drivers, and how they may affect hiring in the coming years.
Gen Z and technology
Gen Zers have grown up surrounded by technology from a young age. Social media and internet access were in standard use during their schooling years and this exposure shapes the way they seek out and apply for roles, i.e. online and by using social media sites like LinkedIn. It also informs their expectations of the hiring process - they expect quick and seamless processes that can be completed remotely.
As they are accustomed to the immediate gratification and quick response times of the internet age, they are said to be more challenging to retain in roles. They hold different values to generations before it and lead increasingly mobile lives, of which they expect work to be one component rather than the singular focus. This means we can and should expect more job hopping than prior generations and adapt our processes accordingly. We can do this by investing in and building a strong talent community, encouraging referrals, being genuine about the employer experience during recruitment, and focusing on benefits that matter to Gen Zers. Shifting our way of thinking and adapting our processes to appeal to the Gen Z working style can be the difference between retaining and job hopping.
Technology has enabled Gen Zers to be intensely creative and innovative. It has freed up their time from monotonous tasks to focus on their creative endeavours, and the internet has exposed them to a wide-open frontier of information and ideas from across the globe whilst also allowing them to experiment and create with low barriers to entry. This sense of innovation and creativity can add significant value to employers who do adapt their processes and successfuly hire Gen Zers in suitable roles.
Gen Z and new industries
It has been reported that a whopping 65% of students in primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t even exist yet. We are already seeing this come to fruition with new roles like UX designers, programmers and developers raking in significant salaries and having the flexibility to be based anywhere in the world due to the digital nature of their jobs. We expect this to continue to develop due to the creativity and innovation of Gen Zers, but also due to the rapid technological advancements being made, for example, we will see AI programmers and robotics engineers increase in demand.
This shift is also reflected in the types of studies that Generation Z are enrolling in, with notable growth in science, engineering and psychology studies when compared to Generation Y.
Gen Z and communication
Communicating effectively with Gen Zers during the hiring process means communicating with them in their preferred manner. According to recruitment studies, email is their preferred channel, but there is also data that suggests a mix of communication channels can be highly regarded, for example, an email to invite the candidate to an interview, a text message to confirm the details about the interview, and a video call for the interview itself.
Communicating effectively also means communicating with them in a timely manner - 17% of Gen Z job seekers expect an offer less than a week after the first interview, and they expect frequent updates throughout the hiring process. In a world of talent shortages, employers should take heed and ensure their hiring processes are as quick as possible and involve regular updates to the candidate.
One way in which you can speed up the hiring process is to outsource certain onboarding components to specialists where it would be more efficient to do so. For example, conducting background screening and verification is a time-consuming and inefficient process for in-house HR teams. Background screening specialists like Sterling RISQ use automated systems that can conduct thorough checks and screening in a fraction of the time.
Gen Z and values
According to studies, Gen Zers are generally looking for a flexible work environment that enables them to adjust their working schedules to suit their lifestyle. Employers need to ensure that flexibility and remote work is an option for all roles that can be completed flexibly, and is genuinely available to them rather than mere rhetoric in job advertisements.
Due to the social context that Gen Zers have grown up in and the quick availability of information to them, they have grown up socially conscious. This affects what they seek in their work lives - they are looking for intangibles like meaningful work with an opportunity to solve problems, having a measurable impact, and they are more attuned to the culture or diversity of an organisation. Addressing these factors and genuinely communicating how candidates and employees can achieve their goals or values with the company may be the key to attracting and retaining top Gen Z talent.
With each new generational way of thinking comes the opportunity to assess, update and develop your hiring and recruitment processes. We recommend taking time to understand Generation Z and how they wish to work as this intel should inform the way in which you structure your hiring, recruitment and retention processes for the future. Doing this proactively helps to make your processes more efficient and effective, and aids in ensuring you attract and hire the most suitable talent pipeline for your business.
We at National Crime Check can help by providing our expert knowledge of hiring and recruitment of Gen Zers, as well as our background screening and verification services for a more efficient and thorough hiring process, contact us to find out more.
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