If you've been focused on recruiting the younger generation recently, you might have been targeting millennials, the group born between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. But it's time for millennials to move over because there's a new generation entering the workforce. It's Generation Z, those born beginning in 1995.
Generation Z members are profoundly different than millennials in several ways, so employers need to appeal to them differently.
What should you know about recruiting Gen Z? Here are five tips:
1. They Are Practical About the Future
Generation Z does not think the sky's the limit when thinking of future jobs. They were in their early teens or younger when the Great Recession hit in 2008-2009. Those are formative years. They watched their parents struggle to pay the bills, and they may have seen them lose their homes. They watched millennials deal with the consequences of a dismal job market and high student debt from college.
As a result, Gen Z is very practical about earning a living in the future. Roughly half felt some pull toward getting a job in high school. About a quarter of them live in families whose earnings are below the poverty line. They want steady jobs to pay the bills and build a good livelihood. Many observers feel that Gen Z's mindset is a throwback to the Greatest Generation of World War II rather than the entitled mindset of the baby boomers. They want steady and reliable from workplaces, and they will be steady and reliable in return.
2. They Are Very Open to Employment Training
The millennials took on a great deal of student loan debt to finance college. At more than $37,000 each, the student loan debt of millennials is higher than that of any previous generation. Gen Z members have seen that and may be questioning how practical a college education is if it comes with that kind of price tag is.
As a result, Gen Z is very receptive to employment training that does not necessarily include college. Forty-seven percent would be willing to enter the job market straight from high school, and 60 percent would like it if employers provided education and training for employment that didn’t require a four-year college degree.
Industries are starting to notice. Take MacAllister Rentals, in the construction industry, for example. Here's what they have to say:
We anticipate that Gen Z will be more aware of the rising costs of college and the impact of student debt. With that in mind, we are currently focusing on recruiting students from high school into our ThinkBIG program, in which we sponsor students that obtain an Associates Degree in Diesel Engine & Construction Technology. It solves the pressing issue of college costs and also helps us fill a vital role on our team.
3. They Want Work-Life Balance
Gen Z is like millennials in that work-life balance is very important to them. They have seen their parents and older siblings deal with the rise of the 24/7 day, where employers expect long hours and may expect employees to be on call via their smartphones. For the most part, employers have complied with perks such as telecommuting, flexible start times and additional flexibility for new parents.
Employers who want to appeal to Gen Z will be successful if they offer jobs that reward their work ethic, yet also provide a life outside of work. A prime example of a company taking a step backward in this regard is IBM, which recently rescinded its telecommuting option for workers. However, jobs in contracting and construction, which come with clearly defined shifts, and are moving towards flexible benefits, could be very attractive.
4. They Research Online
Generation Z are the true digital natives. While millennials are often dubbed digital natives, they can remember a time before online was the way job searches were performed, information was gathered and entertainment was viewed. They were just children at the time, but Generation Z has never known that world.
They will research your company and its salaries, benefits and perks online. Count on it! It's wise to have a complete web presence to provide information to them. They will access your social media channels, so it's wise to create a campaign that specifically appeals to their needs. They will see what causes in the community you care about.
5. They Have Entrepreneurial Dreams
Gen Z has an entrepreneurial spirit. Over half say they would like to start their own business someday. Again, some of this is likely the result of seeing the Great Recession and the effect of company layoffs and downsizing.
Your company will be successful in appealing to Gen Z if you provide skills and an industry in which becoming an entrepreneur is viable. Contracting and construction are both fields in which many successful practitioners have ended up running their own company. Emphasize that coming aboard with your company teaches specific skills and practices that can help good employees achieve entrepreneurial dreams down the road.
Generation Z, the newest entrants to the workforce, are very different from millennials. They are very interested in steady employment and very willing to forego a college education if they can find training and education for a job that doesn't include it. These five tips will help you recruit Gen Z and obtain good employees as a result.