(BPT) – The U.S. workforce is in the midst of an influx with 65 million workers from Generation Z beginning to look for jobs, according to BridgeWorks Consulting. This group of workers, born after 1997, do not remember a time without the internet and have grown up in a post-2008 recession era of financial responsibility, meaning what motivates them differs greatly from previous generations.
The combination of Gen Zers’ financially savvy, entrepreneurial spirit and their deeply rooted relationship with technology means employers need to reassess and diversify the ways they interact with and what they offer candidates. This also creates challenges in identifying the groups’ reason for choosing a field or job, placing the pressure on the hiring business or brand to stand out as an attractive experience.
“With this generation, the onus is on employers to learn how to relate to and attract their next employees,” said Kristen Wahl, director of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, the current Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and MathWorks.
EcoCAR’s recent study of college students participating in the competition revealed two key insights that translate across industries and may help employers of all types better understand who their co-workers and employees of the future will be.
Tech is integral to all aspects of their lives
Gen Z hasn’t known a time without access to infinite information at their fingertips as smartphones debuted when many were infants. Easy access to information has allowed Gen Zers to be curious learners and interact with companies and brands much earlier than generations past.
The study shows job seekers are likely to engage with online articles (62 percent) and videos (61 percent) along with other content on social media, which can be a great starting point for hiring companies to build their relationship with the Gen Z workforce. These insights apply to all companies — from large national companies to local small businesses — and are easily attainable through a variety of online channels.
“Our insights show interaction between Gen Z and employers must start before the next hiring cycle or career fairs,” said Wahl. “Employers of all sizes should be aware how their future employees interact with their brand before they are looking to hire.”
Personal and career growth are imperative
Gen Zers are seen as self-starters that take pride and responsibility for their own career paths with 76 percent believing they are culpable for driving their own career trajectory and 42 percent with hopes of self-employment, according to Concordia University-St. Paul. The entrepreneurial work ethic and concerns of financial security can explain the emphasis placed on professional and personal growth. Our research shows young job seekers agree on the importance of career advancement opportunities (98 percent), competitive wages (97 percent) and personal learning and development opportunities (96 percent). Regardless of industry or job-level, Gen Zers see a link between personal and professional growth and seek employers who share that thinking.
“Employers who can reach prospective job seekers early in their process and then deliver a fulfilling day-to-day experience with proper compensation will be prepared to both attract and retain the incoming wave of young workers,” said Wahl.