Gen Z is the 72.8 million population born between 1995 and 2012. The oldest are either already working or graduating from college and searching for employment. There are plenty of references found online and in books, indicating that this generation is radically different from Millennials.
Are employers ready to hire these individuals and harness the energy of the new thinkers and future change makers?
Do employers have a clear picture of what motivates Gen Z and how to attract talent?
What training and development programs are put in place to teach managers on how to work with this generation?
Would companies be able to retain younger employees for extended periods of time?
All these questions have to be brought to the forefront of the leadership boards’ agenda. The cost of hiring and training new employees is high and the progress of meeting long-term goals will be delayed due to continuous employee turnover.
Our Latest Research
To continue gaining better answers and to develop future constructive suggestions on what can work best for the companies when developing future workforce strategies and attracting talent, we conducted interviews that involved 15 High School and Freshman College Students (Generation Z). The goal of our initial research described here was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Gen Z and to identify: 1) social media preferences for building relationships/network; 2) motivation for earning income outside of parental support; and 3) general confidence levels for the future of their lives/careers. If employers are looking for “fresh” talent to drive innovation and to stay relevant, it is productive to start with the basics.
Our sample group, consisted of Gen Zers from different socioeconomic backgrounds, led us to the following learning.
1. Use of Social Media to Build Social and Professional Relationships and to Research Employers:
A) 93.3% don't use Facebook either at all or utilize it only to find and share social videos;
Note: When we suggested joining a “closed and secret” Facebook group to get free lifetime career support and assistance in gaining future employment, there was no positive reaction or interest observed. In fact, some stated that we would need to give an extra monetary incentive to join this group.
B) 100% use Snapchat to socialize and build relationships with peers and to follow news relevant to their interests;
Note: This is a great insight to encourage companies to start using Snapchat and to engage with the potential employees.
C) 73% use Instagram to post news/updates and 100% use it to view other's posts or follow celebrities;
Note: Although there was no direct indication that Instagram was a source of researching employers, it is an opportunity to consider expanding business visibility on this platform.
D) 13.3% have a LinkedIn profile and only 26.6% have had previous knowledge that this professional platform existed;
Note: College students majoring in Business Management or High School Students with the parents who are the active users of LinkedIn knew of this professional platform.
E) Zero respondents actively used LinkedIn to search for jobs or build professional relationships.
Note: We know from personal observations that there are some Gen Zers who use a platform a bit more actively than our sample group, however, the numbers are still too low and many employers and recruiters don’t have visibility to this group of talented individuals.
2. Current Employment or Desire to Find Employment to Supplement/Add Financial Support Received from Parents:
A) 26.7% either had a part-time job or were in the process of finding one to earn their own income outside of the parental support;
Note: Some High Schoolers and College Students believed that parents will cover their expenses, so there was no need to look for employment at the time of our conversations.
B) 20% had a resume and only 0.7% landed an interview for a job that required a resume.
Note: The jobs obtained without a resume were entry-level and required no specialized knowledge or prior experience.
3. General Confidence Levels for the Future of Generation Z’s Life and Careers (Including Narratives):
A) One of the college students stated: "I am trying to find a part-time job to stop having to ask my parents for money every time I want or need something. I know how hard they work. Companies don't want to hire me because of my classes schedule." This response came from a high-achieving student with a very competitive mindset who is looking for an entry-level job. This student believes to have a strong skill set in writing and research.
B) Another high-achieving college student indicated that earning a minimum wage ($7.25) for the work he did was not rewarding and didn't help with savings, enormous college loan repayments, or with improving skills in the chosen college major. This student started to free-lance and earn extra $ using his art skills.
C) When presented with ideas about non-traditional earning opportunities through a “side-gig”, such as Fiver, LinkedIn ProFinder, or other sources, those who weren't 100% financially supported by parents, found it to be exciting and worth exploring.
D) Many interviewed indicated that the longer-term goal was to run their own business.
4. Additional Observations and Comments:
Other observations included the desire to stand out from peers. Majority possessed a competitive rather than “be like other peers” attitude. It was also evident that many of the interviewed students took pride in their personal achievements to date.
Something disturbing that came through in the conversations that we, as generations before Gen Z, need to pay attention to and address. We’ve observed a common response mentioning that the interviewed individuals and many of their peers are depressed and believe that the previous generations, specifically Baby Boomers and Millennials, “messed everything up”, even citing the damage to the planet Earth.
In conclusion, businesses, educational establishments, and parents need to invest more time, money, and effort to learn about the Generation Z communication, social interaction, and motivation levels. If ignored, we are running into the same situation as we ended up with Baby Boomers and Millennials blaming each other for shortcomings. This is neither productive nor it is cheap. It is vital that we start a conversation to determine what works to encourage successful life journey of our youth.
Comment and share your thoughts below to let us know if your business is doing an effective work at finding young talent, training, and retaining Generation Z. We are happy to collaborate with your teams to share our knowledge about the habits and preferences of the incoming workforce.
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