Hiring & Retaining Gen Z Talent
It is undeniable that the number of Gen Z’s making up today’s talent pool is skyrocketing. It is predicted that by 2030, Gen Z employees are expected to triple, meaning the people born roughly between the years of 1995 and 2015 will make up 30% of the global workforce, shaping it for decades to come.
For the most part, this cohort of young, vibrant workers is adaptable, tech-savvy, values driven, diverse and socially aware, and above all, intentional in their career choices.
Despite the technical expertise and value the newer generation brings, many organisations fail to recruit and retain this age bracket. The result? Disappointment and frustration for more than capable candidates.
With this in mind, our recruitment specialists share the best business practices on how to retain Gen Z talent and help organisations move their talent strategy forward into the future.
The Boomers versus the Gen Z workforce
Here are some eye-opening statistics about the Gen Z workforce to put things into perspective on what recruiters, hiring managers and organisations are encountering.
When it comes to understanding, attracting and retaining potential employees (in this case Gen Z), it begins with the simple understanding of recognising their views- which may be completely different from older generations. Then, using this information to create an employer value proposition (EVP) that is relevant to their job requirements.
However, easier said than done.
In a study by Allegis Group, 71% of Gen Zs believe most organisations today lack certain benefits. It is these organisational qualities listed above that attract and retain newer workers.
It will take more than the occasional free lunches and pool tables to engage with Gen Z workers, and even younger millennials.
The study also revealed that HR decision makers in the Allegis Group survey claimed that “organisations today fall short in delivering specific benefits embraced by Gen Z workers” such as:
- Career development including mentorships, non-linear paths and executive FaceTime.
- Flexibility at work such as hybrid working environments.
- Creative perks such as pet insurance or student loan assistance.
Additionally, Gen Z candidates are statistically the most diverse generation in the workforce and look beyond salary and benefits when job hunting, yet the Allegis Group study also reveals that:
- Only 17% of organisations consider diversity and inclusion (D&I) as a key part of their EVP.
- 79% of D&I programs are not supported with a well-understood strategy.
- 83% of organisations do not have well-defined employee success metrics.
- 88% of organisations do not believe their current D&I programs successfully attract Gen Z talent.
Hiring Gen Zs best hiring practices
So, what exactly are the best ways to attract and retain employees aged 23 years or younger, especially when COVID-19 restrictions wreak havoc on a company’s hiring processes and make it difficult for potential employees limited insight into what an organisation is really like?
We outline five of our top 5 tips on how to retain Gen Z talent and retain them with your company.
1. Improve your career site & update any job descriptions
First and foremost, organisations must optimise their website and make it attractive enough to reel in the Gen Z workforce. A company’s career page is the foundation of their recruitment marketing strategy, particularly for the digitally-savvy Gen Zers. Prior to hiring, you should use best web design, SEO and content strategy practices to outline the most important job information, modernise your website and attract more candidates.
Optimisation tactics to improve job descriptions include:
- Being transparent with the career roles.
- Highlight mission, values and company culture from the get-go, using inclusive language.
- Minimise the number of documents required during the application process (additional documents can deter the best from pursuing the application further).
- Be completely transparent when it comes to salary expectations (Millenials and Gen Z are behind a growing movement toward salary transparency as a lever for equity).
Organisations should also consider building their employee influence network as most Gen Zers require referrals when looking for potential employers. Invite your current employees to share their work lives on social media, build your work culture profile and feature employees’ content with candidates to provide potential candidates a window into your business.
2. Double down on growth & development
Members of Generation Z thrive on clear development opportunities so they can simultaneously develop their skills while progressing in their roles.
Employers should also look into expanding their internal talent marketplace online. This allows potential employees in the Gen Z bracket to identify opportunities that interest them and test new responsibilities beyond their current roles.
According to Matt Thomas, a director of talent acquisition for Inspire Brands in Atlanta, he claims that Generation Z are very likely to demand complete transparency for opportunities for advancement, and “don’t care so much about job titles, but instead what their opportunity is for growth,”. Serious events such as the Great Recession and the current pandemic have encouraged Gen Zers to grow more cautious in terms of career growth security.
3. Revisit the experience requirement in your job listings
Generation Z and younger Millennials are more likely to be online researching and job hunting, however, that doesn’t mean they’re confident in the process.
In an October 2021 LinkedIn survey, a third of Gen Z job seekers (29%) state that “what’s holding them back is that they don’t know where to start”.
This is the result of organisations not labelling their job listings correctly. For Gen Z jobseekers starting their career, entry-level jobs should be just that- a stepping stone for people entering the workforce to find work.
Unfortunately, many “entry-level” positions ask for employees with more than three years of experience. This is not a reasonable request for someone who has just begun their career journey. According to another survey from LinkedIn, experts analysed data from nearly 4 million jobs posted between December 2017 and August 2021, employers required a minimum of 3 years of relevant work experience on over 35% of their entry-level job postings.
With experience inflation, companies inadvertently prevent newer talent from ever having a chance to prove themselves. While hiring entry-level employees that can check every box, companies could be missing out on some great talent out there.
4. Double down of work flexibility
If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that workplace flexibility is now a necessity, not just a nice-to-have. LinkedIn’s January 2022 LinkedIn survey outlined that Gen Z (72%), is the generation most likely to leave (or have left) a job due to their employer not upholding a flexible work policy, compared to 69% of millennials, 53% of Gen X, and 59% of boomers.
To land more Gen Z talent, organisations in response should create more remote and hybrid positions. The working lives of this unique generation have also been largely defined by the pandemic. As a result, they also crave in-person collaboration with their colleagues as much as work flexibility.
Companies should embrace a culture of flexibility where employees, new and old, take active roles in determining their in-or-out office schedules for a greater work-life balance.
5. Focus on the technical skills of tomorrow
To lay the foundation for future success with their Gen Z employees, companies should have a concrete vision of their IT systems. With enterprise applications now being delivered via the cloud, it’s essential that companies bring new IT teams consisting of data scientists, security experts, cloud and virtualisation specialists, and more. Over time, technologies always evolve along with changes in business landscapes necessitating the combination of specified tech-savvy Gen Z professionals.