When it comes to what they want from work, Gen Z—the post-millennial generation born from 1997 and onward—is different from every generation that has come before them: These young adults, who are just beginning to enter the workforce, expect diverse and inclusive offices, to be happy and content at work, and the ability to make a difference while they’re on the job.
And while they share workplace ideals with previous generations—Gen Z desires face-to-face connection like baby boomers, have the entrepreneurial spirit of Gen Xers, and possess the tech savviness of millennials—their differences mean that employers, hiring managers, and recruiters, including those in the cleared space, will need to target Gen Z’s top talent differently, too, says Corey Seemiller, Ph.D., and co-author of “Generation Z: A Century in the Making.”
“They don’t resonate with incentives or public recognition like other generations might, but want to know that what they are doing will make a difference for others,” she explains. “They value impact in their work and may stay in the same job for a [long] time if they feel they are happy, making enough money to be financially secure, and most importantly, making a difference.”
If you’d like to attract Gen Z’s top talent to your team, here’s exactly how to do it, experts say.
Show them that they can make an impact though your organization.
According to Meghan Grace, speaker and consultant, and co-author of “Generation Z: A Century in the Making,” Gen Zers “desire careers where they can make an impact on others and society.” And to attract their attention, companies should make clear how Gen Z job seekers could make contributions through your organization. For defense industry employers, the mission may seem self explanatory – but equally grandiose. In addition to highlighting your broad public mission, promote company-specific programs for public service. For example, if your company offers up paid volunteer days or will match charitable contributions made by employees, publicizing that in job listings.
Post your job listings on career sites and social media.
Unlike previous generations, Gen Z grew up with the Internet from infancy—and they’re more tech-savvy and tuned in to social media platforms than perhaps any other age group. “They are very comfortable using technology, and it will be their go-to solution to a problem more often than for other generations,” says career coach Hallie Crawford, “so employers need to keep this in mind. They will expect the organization they work for to be up to date with the latest tools.”
So, when you post job openings online, Crawford suggests you add them to social media as well.
“This could be an attractive image or even a short video post about the job and the qualifications needed,” she explains, adding that you may also want to “offer a form of direct communication to the hiring manager. Try to get them engaged using alternatives to a written job description.”
Share your compensation and benefit plans.
“Generation Z is highly concerned about their financial wellbeing and are preparing for the next economic downturn,” says Grace, and hiding information about what they may be paid or what benefits may be included with employment at your company could make them wary of applying.
If you can’t share a salary range online, then boast your benefits. “Financial security is not just achieved through salary and wages,” Grace points out, adding this generation “is also attracted to companies with competitive employee benefits.” In fact, according to Grace’s own research, 75% of Gen Z believes that health insurance is a must-have. “As companies aim to attract new employees, competitive salaries and benefits can aid in recruiting and retaining Gen Z talent.”
Share how they can grow within your company.
Because Gen Z is interested in staying with companies long term, it’s important to them to have training and educational opportunities with any employer, says Crawford. “If you currently have educational programs in place or trainings, let the Gen. Z candidate know,” she says, pointing to surveys that show this generation isn’t willing to go into debt for continued education—and so, paid training and educational opportunities from employers is particularly valuable to them.
You should also highlight any job-growth opportunities in your company. “Gen. Z is less likely to job hop, and therefore wants a job where they can have the opportunity to grow,” Crawford explains. “So, be prepared to tell them where they can be in five or 10 years” in your company.
Show off your diverse, inclusive culture.
Gen Z is, itself, a diverse generation, and so, it values diversity and inclusivity. “The level of a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion would be a determining factor when deciding where to work for many in Gen Z,” says Grace. It’s so important, in fact, that companies that don’t may not receive many applications from this upcoming class of workers, Grace warns. “For companies to attract Gen Z talent, it is important to not only celebrate diversity but to proactively create inclusive environments through policies, processes, and practices to ensure people of all backgrounds and experiences are welcomed and supported,” Grace explains.