Attracting & Retaining Gen Z


Today's graduates or Gen Z are the first generation of true digital natives. What does this mean for you as an employer?


As originally seen in Recruitment International magazine.

Did you know that the average Gen Zer or “Zillennial” has an attention span of roughly eight seconds? Eight seconds for you to grab their attention and create interest in a position at your business.

Today’s graduates are the first generation of true digital natives. The Snapchat generation, they mostly experienced their adolescence through the filtered lens of social media. Curating their own personalised experience of the world through visual mediums and receiving instant gratification through an array of likes and comments.

How does this translate into the world of work?

In our recent Gen Z Hiring report, we discovered that 36% of respondents highlighted responsiveness as having the highest impact on the interview process when considering a new opportunity. As one candidate explained, “Every company has different response times [..but] you tend to favour those with quicker response times”.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Tech-savvy Gen Z are consuming and processing information at an alarming rate, more efficiently than any previous generation. Consuming an average of 6 hours a day of screen time on their phones, they are constantly being communicated to.

It is difficult to get back to each candidate in a meaningful way, but we have found that investing time into a robust and efficient hiring communication strategy results in a more engaged and committed talent pipeline. After all, why shouldn’t both employer and candidate be held to the same high standard? 

Zillennials need to know that they matter, and in a candidate short market, sought-after graduates are in a position where they can collect multiple offers, resulting in a number of candidates withdrawing in the later stages of the recruitment process. An eye-popping 70% of participants we surveyed acknowledged that they would keep an eye out for other opportunities after accepting a job offer, to varying degrees. 

The importance of generating candidate buy-in and investing in the onboarding process is undeniable. Gen Z are more politically active, better connected, care more about mental health and the cultural fit in working for a particular company.

They care less about salary and more about social purpose or impact their work can produce. 43% of respondents we surveyed advised career progression is what really makes an opportunity stand out from the crowd, with only 8% listing salary comparatively. Hiring managers need to understand their business’s internal value proposition. Salary aside, what can you offer graduates joining your business?  

Impact on leadership

A lesson hopefully learnt from the millennial generation, is that just because a few will fit the stereotype, this doesn’t mean that the large majority won’t be equally productive members of your team. If anything, it simply means that leadership style should be adapted to suit, using a different method of training, communication and reward strategy.

You can more readily harness a Gen Zers aspirations, entrepreneurial spirit and need for greater purpose to entice them, rather than relying on a big paycheck or quirky office perks. To keep engagement and focus, offer more challenging work and regular one-to-ones while encouraging creativity and ownership.

Emphasis on culture should not be overlooked, particularly with the rise of boutiques benefitting from a more collegiate atmosphere. Leverage your firm’s values and its people in an authentic and transparent way.  Gen Z want to be heard, they want to participate. Ask for feedback and encourage active participation during meetings. Lead rather than manage and you will reap the rewards of this next generation’s qualities.

The changing face of the recruitment industry

In an industry often characterised as cut-throat and transactional, Gen Z will force recruitment into a new era. One focused on nurturing meaningful, long-term relationships. Moving into the future, we’re faced with a generation fervently focused on social responsibility and authenticity. To entice Gen Z into a workplace, you need to be thinking about the bigger picture. 

Creating a strong employer brand that is conveyed in a visual and engaging way, wrapped up in a highly communicative process is the only sure-fire way to ensure you have a strong pipeline of junior talent. We’re partnering with a number of forward-thinking firms across the City to help them achieve this.

With infinite access to crowdsourced information, acting with integrity needs to become the standard. A single misstep and it is all too easy for a brand name to be tarnished and this communicated virally. Lead by example and build a business based on strong values. Those of us who do are sure benefit from the many positives of this motivated and entrepreneurial generation.

For a discussion on how to best attract Gen Z to your business, get in touch.

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