Recruiting Gen Z: Preparing for a new generation of work for white-collar employees

Gen Z will take up to 27% of the workplace in OECD countries across the world by 2025. The new workforce generation has significantly different expectations from their employers compared to the other generations. But how are organisations preparing for this change in recruitment and work culture?  

Victoria Egba on June 20, 2023 Average reading time: 4 min
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Recruiting Gen Z: Preparing for a new generation of work for white-collar employees

The workforce is changing drastically by both technological advancement and the increasing presence of Generation Z. This generation born between 1997 and 2012 grew up with the advancement of tech and has different priorities in the workplace. While Gen Z does not generally reject the idea of working in a corporate job, they are less inclined than previous generations to compromise on their values when it comes to choosing a workplace. In Europe, where the demographic shift is particularly pronounced, companies must understand how to effectively recruit and integrate Gen Z employees.  

Prioritising Flexibility and Work-Life Balance  

Flexibility is extremely important to Generation Z. Based on a study by Deloitte, a stunning 75% of Gen Z individuals prioritise flexibility over a high salary. A study by Upwork also reaffirms this as 74% of Gen Z prefer working remotely. This implies they appreciate having control over their work schedules, being able to work from multiple locations, and being able to effortlessly combine their personal and professional lives. 

For companies to attract and retain these new talents, they need to offer flexible working options.

Remote employment, hybrid arrangements (a blend of remote and in-office work), or flexible hours are examples of such options. Fortunately, technological innovation enables European businesses to offer this option of flexibility without compromising the quality of their work. Collaboration tools on the cloud, project management platforms, video conferencing software, and other digital technologies enable smooth communication and collaboration regardless of physical proximity. 

Implementing flexible work rules not only meets the expectations of Generation Z but also provides several benefits to businesses. It would bring better work-life balance, higher productivity, higher employee retention rates, and access to a global talent pool. 

Mentorship Over Management  

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z prioritises mentorship over traditional managerial practices. One of the key motivators for this tendency is Gen Z’s desire for personal improvement and continuous learning. They seek guidance and support from experienced professionals who may provide valuable insights, recommendations, and skills to help them advance in their professions. Mentorship offers a more personalised and hands-on learning experience, allowing Gen Z to benefit from the knowledge of seasoned professionals. 

A study by Censuswide shows that 6 in 10 employees would not work for a company that does not share their values.

Traditional management styles that focus on strict hierarchies and top-down decision-making may feel stifling to Gen Z individuals. Though the strict management system worked for previous generations in maintaining company values and a good work system, it simply doesn’t work for Gen Z. Moreover, a study by Censuswide shows that 6 in 10 employees would not work for a company that does not share their values. So to prevent a high employee turnover in Gen Z employees, it’s smarter to switch from a strict managerial style to a mentoring one.  

Mentorship provides a more collaborative and empowering approach, where they can engage in meaningful discussions, contribute their ideas, and have their voices heard.  

The Gen Z workforce have a strong desire for purpose-driven work. They value meaning and impact in their careers and seek mentors who can help them align their personal values with their professional goals. Therefore, they will appreciate mentors who can guide them through challenges, provide feedback, and help them develop the necessary skills to succeed. 

DIY Training and Upskilling  

In the past, millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers had to rely on formal systems to acquire information and expand their knowledge. They would attend schools, visit libraries, and engage in other traditional methods of learning. However, the emergence of Gen Z brought about a shift, with easy access to a wealth of learning materials at their fingertips. 

As a result, Gen Z tends to favour online courses as a means to enhance their education, rather than pursuing physical training or obtaining additional degrees. Through a few clicks, they can access a vast array of resources, ranging from video tutorials to interactive quizzes, enabling them to acquire new skills at their own pace and convenience. This shift in upskilling methods has profound implications for recruitment practices.  

Traditional metrics, such as possessing a degree, may no longer be the definitive measure of competence when evaluating potential candidates. Instead, skill-based assessments have emerged as a superior approach to identifying the most suitable individuals for specific roles.

While having a degree can still hold value, it is no longer the sole indicator of an individual’s competence or potential success in a given role. 

Additionally, online courses and DIY learning can be adopted in retaining top talents. Employers can give these Gen Z talents access to platforms that allow them to grow their skills at their own pace. It would be an essential perk that helps both talents and organisations. 

Digital Channels in Recruitment  

Digital platforms are essential in recruitment, particularly when targeting Generation Z, who rely heavily on them for communication and information. To effectively reach out to this generation, organisations must adopt proactive digital recruitment strategies.  

Employers need to underline their company culture, job vacancies, and genuine employee experiences on significant social media sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Actively communicating with potential candidates through interactive material will allow organisations to generate a sense of connection and form relationships with the Gen Z talent pool. Employers can also leverage data from Giant to discover the best places to reach candidates for specific roles.  

Because Generation Z primarily utilises smartphones to search for and apply for employment, streamlining the recruitment process for mobile devices is crucial. This includes developing a responsive website that adapts to multiple screen sizes and gives candidates a user-friendly experience for browsing job posts, applying for employment, and obtaining important information. In addition to reaching Generation Z, using digital platforms in recruitment gives various benefits. These strategies enable organisations to broaden their reach, engage with a larger pool of prospects, and develop a strong employer brand. 

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