Generation Z is the newest generation of talent to enter the workforce and, as you might expect, this crop of candidates is inspiring plenty of questions among corporate mobility professionals.
What do they look for in an employer? Will they fill the talent gaps companies need to thrive? Are they interested in relocating? How will they influence the future of work for all of us? Perhaps most important, can they explain TikTok to me?
As a parent of three members of Generation Z, I have my own thoughts on what makes this demographic tick. But to get us on the same page, let’s start with a few facts:
While open spaces, game rooms and cafes popped up in office spaces over the last two decades as means of luring Millennials (folks born between 1980 and 1995), Gen Z prefers structure, stability and work-life balance. If you think this sounds like the Baby Boomer generation, you’re right; Gen Z has already been compared to Boomers in regard to their ideals. Gen Z wants to play an active role in their own career development and remain with their employer for a number of years to acquire more skills and advance. Early research indicates that they are predicted to work up to 18 jobs over six careers in their lifetime, but several of those jobs may be with the same company. In contrast, Millennials (right or wrong) had a reputation for job-hopping as their method to achieve the same results.
This is a generation that isn’t afraid to tell their employers what they need and Gen Z wants to work for a company whose values align with their own. While salary will always be important, they want to connect with the brand, values and the company’s broader contributions to the community. Organizations are advised to communicate their values through their website and social media to illustrate how work with the company is both personally and professionally fulfilling.
Gen Z also value authenticity, meaning companies need to walk the talk. Gen Z wasn’t molded by technology, they were raised on it and they can tell right away if a company isn’t “living” its values. As a hiring manager, if your company embraces D&I initiatives or supports sustainability initiatives, be ready to prove it.
Virtual assignments have garnered more attention in the past year and are expected to become a mainstay in the future, with more employees requesting remote work arrangements. Gen Z, however, thrives on human interaction at work, and 90% want their job to have a human element with plenty of coworker interaction.
Also, Gen Z is more globally-minded than previous generations (having grown up with social media) and are expected to live in 15 homes in their lifetime. They’re not only comfortable with going to another location, they expect opportunities that align with both their professional and personal goals. However, Gen Z values transparency and it’s important that they understand their contribution to the company. Employers are advised to tie the assignment to the employee’s professional growth so that they can use the experience upon their return or in subsequent roles.
Finally, employers will need to take on a more proactive role in their Duty of Care, being mindful of safety and security. As we move into the new Post-COVID world, we’re going to see more fluid work schedules that blends work with personal time. Combined with a global mindset, it will become more important to ramp up methods of communication and tracking tools so employees are looked after.
While it’s still too early to tell, our research shows that this generation is going to reshape the view of work, life and mobility for all of us. Whether it’s through use of flexible programs or agile technology, corporate mobility professionals will be ready, as they have for previous generations, to rise to the challenge of balancing the needs of the organization and their Gen Z talent.