No longer are millennials the key focus for employers seeking entry-level workers: Gen Z graduates are here and ready to start their careers.
Generation Z, born approximately between 1995 and 2005, make up over 17% of the Canadian population – and the oldest are in their early 20s, eager to make their mark as they begin their career. But how do you attract this new generation of workers to your company? Their needs, goals, and work style are vastly different from the Millennial generation you are used to hiring. You need to adapt your recruitment, onboarding, and operational processes if you want to snare the best Gen Z talent for your business.
Recognizing the New Demands of Gen Z Workers
Millennials were the first super-savvy generation when it came to technology and this gave them the edge in newly-developed roles that reflected an upcoming digital age. However, their early careers were blighted by global recession and changing political times. As such, their work style adapted: they hopped between roles and chose to set up their own freelance opportunities to counter the unstable work ecosystem around them.
Gen Z saw this happening while they were still in school. They don’t remember what it was like before major global security changes triggered by 9/11; they also won’t know what a floppy disk or rotary telephone is. What they do know is that the generations before them struggled in tough financial times with unstable jobs and a rough economy. They’re entering the workforce with a clear impression of what they don’t want from their career: and that means a U-turn in how you attract and hire Gen Z talent.
Gen Z wants the opposite of Millennials: they want stability, financial security, and longevity in their role. The good news is that there are things you can do to stand out and become a desirable place for the new working generation to start their careers.
Boost Your Online Presence
Tech-savvy Gen Zs don’t know what the world was like before Google. They were still in elementary school when the first iPhone was released, and Facebook started its global takeover. This means their overall behaviour is different, too. Gen Z is more likely than other generations to research a company online before applying. They’ll check out online reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and take a look at your social media and website to learn more about your brand.
If your online presence is inconsistent, non-existent, or reflects poorly on your brand, Gen Z workers won’t trust your company enough to apply for a job with you.
Be Authentic and Ethical
A significant behavioural shift in Gen Z consumers is the need for a social purpose. This extends to the brands they want to work for, as well as those they’re willing to buy from.
Your business mission, ethics, and support of charitable causes is important to the newest generation of workers. Make sure your efforts are clear for them to see; don’t hide your donations in annual reports, shout about it on your website and social media. Walk the talk, too. Companies that offer ethical perks, such as paid leave for charity days, are more likely to attract the selective Gen Z talent.
Offer Stability and Clear Pathways for Progression
Younger workers want to secure their futures sooner than millennials. Almost 35% want to start saving for retirement in their 20s, compared to millennials in their 30s who haven’t even considered it yet.
Financial perks such as retirement plans, selling vacation days or other salary sacrifice schemes are appealing to all employees but particularly of interest to members of Gen Z entering the workforce for the first time.
They’ve seen the generations above them, Millennials and Generation X, struggle in the financial recession: they don’t want to live hand-to-mouth in the same way. On the same line, offering internal promotions and clear progression in the company is a great way to attract entry-level hires who want longevity in their role. In fact, 69% would rather take a long-term stable job than one they’re passionate about.
They want job security but are also ambitious: this fast-moving generation has seen technology take over the world, and they know they have to adapt to keep up and stay employed in an artificial intelligence-led era.
Equip Your Staff With the Latest Technology
If your office still has a fax machine, it’s time to upgrade. Gen Z uses the latest technology for day-to-day activities, so it’s imperative that your office is equipped with similar gadgets and software.
This is the first truly digitally native generation to enter the workforce. They haven’t lived without AI, Google, or smartphones as standard. This makes them highly valuable in moving your business forward in the digital age as they grasp new technology faster than any other generation. However, your business needs to be ready to adapt to new working styles with technology to keep up with Gen Z staff.
The younger generation is more comfortable with multi-tasking and prefers to move between tasks instead of remaining focused on one thing for a long period. They like to use several screens at a time: dual-screen usage is highest in this generation in their personal lives, so it’s easy to see how this translates to the work environment.
Provide a User-friendly Recruitment and Onboarding Process
Before selecting the perfect candidates to interview for your entry-level roles, you need to make your application process Gen-Z-friendly, too. They’re also highly discerning with their time. Any application that takes over 15 minutes to complete is unlikely to attract as many applicants, for example.
The technology aspect is important here, too. Mobile-friendly applications that people can fill out wherever they are from their smartphone will boost the number of applicants to the talent pool and also show candidates that you’re a forward-thinking company.
As part of the application process, AI (artificial intelligence) apps can be used to create immediate personalized communications with candidates. Using personalized AI apps to perform recruitment tasks in this way builds a relationship with the candidate but also streamlines your hiring process, too.
Hire a Gen Z Recruitment Expert
If you’re not sure whether your company is equipped to attract the best Gen Z talent, it’s time to speak to an expert. We can help you devise a recruitment strategy that appeals to the behaviours and career aspirations of the newest generation to enter the workforce. Contact us today to find out more.
David Aplin Group is a private family and employee owned Canadian staffing agency founded in Alberta in 1975, recognized as one of Canada's most accomplished recruiting firms. Our mission is to positively impact lives. Blog author, Sarah Tokar, is a Partner at David Aplin Group, based in Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash