Generation Z – The future is all yours!
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z is born between 1995 and 2009. Gen Z is also known as Generation Smartphones, Digital Natives 2.0, or Post Millenials, whereas the older Gen Y is known as Digital Natives or Millenials. It is the first generation to have grown up with digital technology from an incredibly young age.
Do you want to learn more about Gen Y before venturing into Gen Z? Read our other Talentor article on insights about the millennial generation.
How is Gen Z wired?
Because there is no such thing as "one type of Generation Z," a complete characterization is almost impossible. Together with people representing Gen Z, we have collected the most fitting characteristics of their generation:
While Gen Z is entering the workforce, the Alphas are already moving up. From the mid-2020s, the α generation will become interesting for companies.
Z, Y, X? What distinguishes future professionals from their predecessors?
For Gen Z, the successor generation to the Millennials (Generation Y), phone calls and Facebook are yesterday's news. Future professionals are active on a variety of platforms: Tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Whatsapp, and YouTube - to name just a few.
The Annual Youth Internet Monitor among 11- to 17-year-olds from the Institute for Youth Culture Research shows clear preferences: Almost all teens are on Whatsapp and YouTube, and the absolute majority on Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok. Only a third use Facebook.
Generation Z uses social media not only to exchange ideas but also to make their mark - for example, by protesting. One striking difference between Y and Z: Gen Y works to achieve personal fulfillment and combines work and leisure. Gen Z wants to strictly separate work and leisure - keyword work-life-separation.
The crises of Gen Z
War, climate, and covid are the crises of their generation: the pandemic shaped Gen Z's end of education and entry into the workforce through lockdown isolation and lack of structure in daily routines. A survey by the renowned AP-Norc Institute at the University of Chicago found that half of Generation Z respondents are worried about their professional future, have less fun in life, and are less happy. Different surveys of young people in Austria and Europe* in 2022 found that the war in Ukraine, military threats, and the climate crisis are Generation Z's biggest concerns.
Work and Gen Z: What companies can expect
Gen Z's entry into the workforce is also a challenge for companies: The new generation. New demands. New momentum. Today, up to five generations are working under one company roof: from the post-war generation to Gen Z. In addition, the shortage of skilled workers caused by low birth rates and the retirement wave of baby boomers must be cushioned. Clearly, companies will not be able to avoid digital natives 2.0 if they want to remain competitive
The youngest entrants to the workforce are shaped by a different mindset: enjoyment of tasks and self-realization are at the top of the list. The latest study by the Institute for Youth Culture Research Austria revealed: for Gen Z, a good working atmosphere is more important than salary and job security as well as career opportunities. The paradox: The young generation identifies less strongly with the company and changes jobs more quickly - keyword job hopping.
We wanted to know: How are companies working with Gen Z?
A recent questionnaire asked 111 company representatives and HR managers if their company is prepared to offer special benefits such as digitalization, flexible working hours and workplaces and a modern communication culture, as demanded by Gen Z. 78% of the companies do think that they are prepared with benefits demanded by Gen Z and 22% of companies still need to develop in that field.
Gen Z, what do you really want?
A nice office with trendy furniture alone is not enough anymore. Due to the threat of fluctuation, companies are being called upon more than ever to respond to the needs of their employees. Keyword: benefits. Unlike previous generations, who appreciated a good pension plan, vacation time, and performance bonuses, Gen Z wants more individualized additional benefits. For example, parental leave, support for development opportunities, and further training as well as help with the repayment of student loans.
Other benefits in favor of Gen Z´s perception:
- A loose dress code
- Public transport tickets or financial support of those
- Shared strategies and values
- Development opportunities
- Enjoying their work and tasks
How can Gen Z be attracted?
If you want to bring Gen Z on board, you need to know their world. Here's a quick guide to the recruiting process:
- Do you Gen Z homework: Do not only reflect on your organizations´ principles in job ads and social media postings, but also the values and principles of GenZ.
- The recruiting process should be human and service-oriented. Find out the candidates’ motives and needs for a new job. In short: perfect recruiting and really create a personal connection!
- Timely, transparent, and tech recruiting. Keyword - Mobile Recruiting. The process must feel simple and still very personal.
- Excellent onboarding. Gen Z (actually as everyone else) needs to be seen, heard and involved from day 1. The patience to wait to feel integrated is zero.
Talentor Gen Z Voices
Liiban Aadan - Talentor Sweden
"In general, I would claim that there are different segments in each generation and there are few characteristics that an entire generation share. But Gen Z has some clear, deviant (from other generations) characteristics. Gen Z is the most educated, tolerant and value-driven generation. And with their attention span, you have about 10 seconds as an employer to convince them that you are the right one for them."
Julia Kreinecker - Talentor International
"Although I do believe that Generation Z is diverse, I also believe that there are some characteristics that practically all of us share. I would contend that Gen Z has high expectations and is quite clear about what they want in their workplace. We do not just look for a job that pays our bills, but we want to engage in work, grow and develop professionally and personally, and ensure that our values are in line with those of the organization. Further, our sense of loyalty and belonging to the organization is greatly influenced by company culture and the workplace. If our expectations are not satisfied, we also won't hesitate to search for better opportunities, which is why it gets harder for employers to attract and retain talents, especially from younger generations."
Christel Bouwers – Independent Recruiters, Netherlands
"My view about engaging Gen Z in the workplace has to do with first understanding that they have different wants and needs. Gen Z is more focused on what organizations are able to contribute to their personal development.
Young people want to feel that their jobs have meaning and that they are doing something of value. For this reason, Gen Z is more value-driven rather than profit-driven. Organizations need to have proactive learning and development practices in place and offer flexibility to attract Gen Z. I notice that we are less focused on simply making money: it is also about giving back.
In my daily talent work, I experience that we look for the real story behind an organization. What is it like working at that specific organization and where do the personal development opportunities lie in that organization?"