What Does Generation Z Want in a Career?

For an employer, finding the right candidate is the most important aspect of recruiting. Yet, for those students joining the workforce, it is about more than just a paycheck. Known as Generation Z (“Gen Z”), those born after 1996, are entering the job market while single-handedly reshaping their work culture. 

As an employer, building awareness of what students look for in the ideal job is key to connecting with the perfect applicant. Gen Zers want meaningful careers, not just jobs. Having a better understanding of students’ needs can help bridge the gap in employer recruiting while improving their chances of hiring long-term employees.    

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Who Is Gen Z?

They Are Diverse

Out of all the generations, Gen Z is the most diverse. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 25% of Gen Zers are Hispanic, compared to only 4% in the Early Baby Boomers generation. Gen Z’s ethnic makeup also includes 14% Black, 6% Asian, and 5% that identify as two or more races.  

In comparison, in the early 2000s when millennials were the newest generation, 61% were non-Hispanic white. But that is targeted to change with Gen Z. According to the Census Bureau Projections, Gen Z is predicted to become majority nonwhite by 2026.  

Additionally, when it comes to sexual identity, one in five Gen Z adults identifies on the LBGTQ+ spectrum, resulting in the acceptance of less atypical views on gender and sexuality than previous generations.  

Gen Z looks for employers that allow them to be themselves. When your employees have a positive perception of your company practices, it encourages them to stay and grow with you. This lowers your turnover rates and gives you more stability.  

They Are Financially-Minded

Gen Zers, like millennials, were heavily affected by the Great Recession of the United States. With record job loss, and an unstable housing market, the experience caused this generation to be more mindful about their spending and focus on smart investments. Seeing their parents and families suffer from financial instability instilled in them the importance of leading a more frugal existence and a stronger focus on finding stable careers.  

Gen Z doesn't like income instability. They're a generation that's driven by savings and penny-pinching. This means they're looking for long-term employability that will allow them to earn, save, and expand their knowledge about financial wellness.

They Are Technologically-Savvy

While millennials were the digital pioneers, Gen Zers are digital natives. The oldest Gen Zers were pre-teens when the iPad launched in 2007 and have grown up around Wi-Fi, high-speed Internet, and social media. 

As digital natives, Gen Z is tech-savvy and hungry for new technologies that can help them be more productive. Gen Z is at the forefront of innovation. For employers, this means staying on top of technological trends and making sure that company practices and culture evolve with the generations coming into the workplace. 

What Are Gen Zers Looking for in the Perfect Job?

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Ideal Workplace

When it comes to hiring Gen Z, employers need to have flexible hiring and recruiting strategies on campuses. Overall, as Gen Z enters the workforce, they are hungry for diverse workplaces where they can excel.   

Yet, they’re wary.  Gen Z is a generation that was set to debut in a strong and established economy. Their future was not supposed to be as uncertain as it is now. Although they are ready to work and establish a new normal, the values they are looking for in a company are non-negotiable.   

In-Person Work

While working remotely became the preferable option for many in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, that has not been the case with Gen Z. This generation is eager to step back into a physical space, a fact that may be a surprise.

Working in an office has been the norm for a lot of years. When office workers were forced to stay at home and work from their couches, not many of them batted an eye. The pandemic made such a difference in the way we view traditional workspaces, that in a recent survey by Slack,  72% of employees noted they prefer a hybrid-remote office model that allows them to have freedom with where they choose to work from.  

Gen Zers however, have never been able to work in a traditional office setting. For them, having a physical place to go to and interact with others is part of what influences whether they accept a position.  For many Gen Zers, working remotely is isolating and hard on their mental health. This impacts their productivity with home distractions and lack of work/life balance, to name a few.   

58% of Gen Z workers are planning on leaving fully remote positions in favor of in-person ones. This generation complains of a lack of mentorship and fear that they’re missing out on valuable skills other established employees had a chance to explore when remote work wasn’t possible.  

Strong Company Values

This generation is rooted in activism. They are looking for companies in which they can make a difference. It’s important to them that the organizations they’re working for make a positive impact on the world.  

For 70% of Gen Zers, a deep desire to work for companies that have similar values to their own is important. As an employer, it is crucial to have holistic conversations centered around company values that are also followed up with action, not just talk. Going over what sets the organization apart when it comes to social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion values will be the final catapult in the decision-making process.   

Recommendations for Employers Actively Hiring

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Be Transparent on Your Career Site
Making the information accessible and highlighting key information can help you attract the right candidates. You’ll be able to find students that are on par with your mission statement and resonate with your company vision.

Personalize Your Communication Strategy
Symplicity Recruit offers you new ways to engage students with personalized campaigns that can broaden your candidate pool and diversify the hiring process.

Update Your Job Descriptions
A good way to stand out is to brand your organization’s message on the job post. Students want to feel a connection with your company. By using Symplicity Recruit’s premium features, you can cut through the competition and make a lasting impression. 

To learn more about Symplicity Recruit, request more information.  

Recruiting, career readiness, diversity, inclusion, hiring, early careers, Gen Z, hybrid recruiting, early talent, Generation Z

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