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Move Over Millennials, Here Comes Gen Z!

December 11, 2018
| ByJulia Pinzler

While “Millennial” has long been the buzzword associated with young, coveted workers, a new generation is quickly working to displace them. Generation Z refers to individuals born after 1996, making up a startling 61 million people in the United States, larger than the number of Millennials and Generation X, and two-thirds the size of the Baby Boomer generation. This group brings with it innovation and different values that will disrupt the workplace  – in a good way. But what exactly is this generation looking for in a working experience? How can companies attract, hire and retain these talented applicants as this generation begins to infiltrate the workplace?

What Gen Z Workers Want

Generation Z is a unique group that has grown up with technology and social media their entire lives. They have also seen various economies, good and bad. Some of the desires this group has in terms of their professional life include the following:

Financial Stability

The Center for Generational Kinetics has studied Generation Z and found that financial stability is important to them. Many of these individuals witnessed their parents struggle through the recession in the early 21st century and grapple with significant student loan debt. This group wants to do better for themselves. According to its 2018 study, the center found that 35 percent of Generation Z survey respondents planned on starting to save for retirement in their 20s.

Social Connection

Gen Z grew up with social media. As a result, many of them want to be connected with others, including their boss. They are socially conscious and often make consumer and employment decisions based on aligned values. The center found that 40 percent of this generation wants daily interactions with their boss and if they do not receive it, they may think they did something wrong.

A Sense of Purpose

Another preference is a good cultural fit, where they can contribute to the company. A 2016 Multi-Generational Survey conducted by Monster revealed that 74 percent of Gen Z individuals surveyed are motivated by work that gives them a sense of purpose, compared to 59 percent of Baby Boomers who responded similarly.


This group of workers also wants flexibility and in a number of ways. They want to have flexible work hours and be able to blend their work/life priorities. They are also excited about the opportunity to travel overseas for their company. Monster’s study shows that Gen Z employees are comfortable working remotely and non-traditional hours such as nights and weekends in exchange for higher pay. Sixty seven percent of respondents in the survey also said they would be willing to relocate for a good job.

How to Attract and Retain Gen Z Workers

Appealing to this generation will require more than the traditional process of posting a job. Instead, it requires meeting these applicants on their playing field and demonstrating that the company is one that they want to work for. Some ways to attract and retain this age group include:

Engage With Them Online

Generation Z applicants are used to exploring things that they are interested in online. When they are interested in working for an organization, they will look at a company’s website, social media pages, and other online resources to learn more about the company. Organizations may wish to implement artificial intelligence or other technological tools that make the hiring process more engaging. Additionally, organizations should have mobile-friendly career pages.

During the recruitment process, candidates should be given updates since they are used to speed and efficiency. Modern companies may want to integrate text-based interviewing platforms to assist with the process. 

Illustrate a Positive Work Culture

Gen Z workers value a positive work culture. Showing them what they can expect from their daily work experience can help set a company apart from others. Organizations should also demonstrate how they make a difference in the world around them.

Engaging videos on social media pages can also appeal to a younger generation. Employers can leverage these pages to illustrate their company culture. They can also use live feeds to show the workplace in action or how projects come together. Some things to target in these videos include:

  • The day-to-day job through a video walkthrough
  • Social consciousness
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Opportunities for travel
  • The company atmosphere
  • Achievements
  • Employee recognition plans
Create Brand Ambassadors

Gen Z applicants are digitally-advanced and conduct research on companies before applying to them. Brand ambassadors can communicate with applicants and create their own social media pages to explain why a workplace is best suited for these applicants. These individuals will make a company feel more authentic.

Develop a Recruitment Strategy

Making connections with this generation of applicants requires employers to understand factors that motivate them. This means that in addition to clearly defining what your organization’s mission and vision are, you must also offer employment opportunities that give this generation the empowerment and sense of accomplishment they seek. Social media and other recruitment tools can cater to them by giving potential applicants a better idea about what the company offers. 

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