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Gen Z is Entering the Workforce. What Can Employers Expect?

Generations allow us to look at Americans both by their placement in the life cycle (e.g., young adults, middle-aged adults, retirees) and as groups who were born at a similar time and share similar views on life. Demographers and social scientists have assigned characteristics and identified generational groups as Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and, most recently, Gen Z.

Defined as anyone born between 1997 and the early 2010’s, Gen Z makes up approximately 25.9% of the U.S. population, the oldest of which are now graduating college and entering the workforce. With every new generation having a unique set of attitudes and work habits, what specific qualities does Gen Z bring to the workplace? What can employers expect of Gen Z?

Characteristics of Gen Z

A 2014 generational study found that Gen Z self-identifies as loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible and determined. [1] Gen Z’s expectations are largely shaped around themes of academic and career success, perhaps more so than any other generation. [2]

Gen Z is also the first generation to have had the Internet around for its entire lifetime. These young workers are comfortable with all forms of technology, whether texting on their devices as a standard form of communication or nimbly searching the Internet to find information. They are accustomed to interacting with their devices and apps via touch or voice technologies. [3]

They’re highly visual, have strong technical skills and can constructively multi-task. As a result, they rely on tech-based relationships and as a result have not fully developed the “soft” people skills necessary in today’s work environment. [4] Gen Z also sees blurred lines between work and home, possibly preferring flexible work hours and work from home options. [5]

How Does Gen Z Compare to Millennials?

To successfully recruit Gen Z and keep them satisfied, it’s important for employers to understand the differences between this new entrant into the workforce and aging Millennial counterparts.

Unlike Millennials who grew up during an economic boom, Gen Z grew up during the Great Recession. As a result, they tend to be more pragmatic, risk-averse and focused on saving money than Millennials. Studies have found that Gen Z wants financial security but is not interested in gaining it through self-employment. [6] This could mean that Gen Z is more willing to be loyal to a company than Millennials and work their way up in that company.

Impacts on Recruitment

Recruiting Gen Z requires a highly personalized approach that considers their mindset and needs. Gen Z is comprised of integrators who typically blend work and life. These new workers are digital natives with on-demand expectations. They are always connected and need continual stimulation.

Regional Personnel specializes in recruiting and staffing services in New Jersey. We match top talent to company culture with a personal and customized approach to every placement. Start a conversation by emailing me at [email protected].

 

[1] Seemiller, Corey. Generation Z Goes to College. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-1-119-14345-1. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z

[2] “Is Gen Z the Most Success-Oriented Generation?” Barna Group. 6 Jun. 2018, https://www.barna.com/research/is-gen-z-the-most-success-oriented-generation/

[3] [4] [5] He, Emily. “Gearing Up for Gen-Z: What Employers Should Know About Today’s Young Workers.” Forbes. 25 Feb. 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilyhe/2019/02/25/gearing-up-for-gen-z-what-employers-should-know-about-todays-young-workers/

[6] Lucas, Suzanne. “Gen-Z is Coming to the Workforce. Here’s What to Expect.” Inc. 8 Sep. 2018, https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/gen-z-is-coming-to-workforce-here-is-what-to-expect.html

About James F. Lynch

Dr. Lynch founded his first recruiting firm, Strategic Access Inc. (SAI), in 1998 with over 17 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry in business development, new product & market development, strategic alliances, operations & administration. In 2000, Dr. Lynch joined Reliant Pharmaceuticals as a founding member and Executive Director of Business Development, subsequently forming Commercial Operations as Vice President. Dr. Lynch returned to SAI in 2004 to assume the role of President, and in 2014 acquired Regional Personnel.