Hiring Generation Z: Challenges and Opportunities

Generation Z Man on Bench

Generations and cultural movements transition fluidly, so it’s hard for social scientists to pin down an exact age range for Generation Z. Generational status is determined by a lot of factors besides age, like cultural surroundings and exposure to certain lifestyles. General consensus puts Generation Z’rs’ birthdays between 1995 and 2015. What this means for schools and businesses is that there is a whole new demographic of workers finishing school and starting their careers right now. There are about 61 million Generation Z’rs joining the workforce and careers in education and therapy are in growing demand.

Who is Generation Z, What Drives them?

Before hiring a Generation Z, you should know the common strengths, weaknesses, and trends scientists attribute to their generation.

Key Incentives for Generation Z in the Workforce: Not Just Money

Firstly, you should rethink how workers prioritize certain incentives. Salary is actually becoming less important for younger generations’ careers. In a study comparing Millennials and Generation Z, researchers found the percentage of people who said that money could make them work harder and remain loyal to their employers dropped by more than 10% in Generation Z’s data sample. Loyalty to the same company itself is dying as more people have to switch jobs and work more than one. Though Generation Z does not value materialism as much as previous generations, financial hardship has forced them to be realistic about what they need. If they do not get it out of a current job, they will typically look elsewhere.

Access to Tech: A huge component of Generation Z’s makeup is its emergence during the technology age. Gen Z’rs all grew up with social media and computers. Some challenges believed to be rooted in this are shorter attention spans and perhaps less patience. Computers make everything instantaneous, so younger generations do not like wasting time. You should be direct in your approach, and information should be as concise as possible. Texting, Twitter and other social media outlets have programmed young people to work well with short, direct instructions and ongoing correspondence.

Learning by Doing: Instead of reading directions and working through a project, Generation Z’rs are more equipped to multitask and learn to master something by trial and error. Independence and self-reliance are valued by Generation Z because of how individualistic technology has made people. Children growing up in this generation have learned computers, video games, and cell phones by practicing with them, some would say excessively. They have years of experience exploring different programs and applications, either through schoolwork, previous employment or simply exploring cyberspace with friends. Because of all the information stored in computers, people are generally better equipped to learn a skill or new information with access to the internet.

Measuring Success – Growth and Social Recognition: Generation Z measures success differently than other demographics. As mentioned, salary is not as big of a motivator in newer generations. It is still a necessity, but there are other motivators that hold different weight in a Gen Z’rs thinking. Accolades and a noble cause are some ways Generation Z workers drive themselves.

They also always search for better opportunities, so make sure to adjust the opportunities based on the worker. The shift away from money being the only motivator for employees is actually a good sign for the future workforce. It shows that, instead of toiling all week and waiting for the weekend, Generation Z’rs are finding work they can be passionate about. This helps especially if they need to work extra hours every week. They might not have as much free time because of how much they need to work, but Generation Z compensates by finding meaning in their work and making it a part of them.

Even when employees are home, there are several types of work nowadays which either demand or offer the ability to take work home on the phone or computer. Backing your organization may be just as important as salary for newly hired Gen Z’rs. Give them a cause they can back, and you may be able to convince them your open position means a lot more than a paycheck every week.

Potential Challenges when Hiring Generation Z

Shorter Attention Span

It’s a fact: peoples attention spans are decreasing. Generation Z, in particular, grew up in a world surrounded by technology. This means they are experienced with technology, but they might have less of an attention span because of repeated instantaneous gratification using devices. This, of course, will be different from person to person but is relevant given the research.

Different Expectations of Benefits

There might also be concerns with the types of benefits Generation Z workers request. Some companies might not be able to provide certain benefits to employees, which might steer a candidate in another direction. Some of these benefits might include extended vacation time, remote access or paternity leave.

Retention & Loyalty

Generation Z can make staff retention difficult because of how quickly they move through their careers. As compared to Baby Boomers, Gen Z’rs are three times more likely to change jobs and will hold more jobs in their lifetime than most generations. Often these moves are how people increase salary, upgrade titles and learn new skills.

Independence, Confidence and Creativity Define Gen Z

Like every demographic of a worker, Generation Z provides employers with a selection of new strengths and weaknesses based on their upbringings. Generation Z can be defined by their independence and compassion for others in their community. The kids from this generation were raised on technology and can often pick up new technological skills seamlessly along the way. Give them freedom, decision-making ability, creative outlets, the right tools, and a mission, and the Generation Z workforce can add brand new perspectives and ideas to your staff.

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