The New Generation Z Brings it Own Set of Issues

Joe Weinlick
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A young workforce of diverse talent is on the verge of joining the professional world, and business owners who want to attract and keep capable employees have to adapt their recruitment strategies. While sometimes identified as the second wave of millennials, Generation Z is not a mere carbon copy of Generation Y. Start finding ways to increase growth and mentorship opportunities as you prepare for distinct shifts in career ideals, technological proficiency and job loyalty.

Generation Z typically refers to people born between the early 1990s and early 2000s. Although they are digital natives with entrepreneurial mindsets similar to millennials, they have the benefit of graduating into a stabilizing economy and job market. After witnessing millennials struggle with crushing student loan debt, unemployment and financial uncertainty, Generation Z is entering the job market with reduced optimism and realistic expectations of working harder and longer to find professional fulfilment. In a July 2015 survey conducted by Robert Half and Enactus, about 83 percent of participants doubted the possibility of retiring by age 60.

Generation Z has increased awareness about the ultra-competitive job market, so young people are developing career-oriented skills and filling up their resumes as early as possible. Millennial Branding and Randstad reported that 50 percent of high school students are getting a jump on the competition by pursuing volunteer opportunities and internships in their target industries. Improved qualifications across the board also means recruiters must develop resourceful techniques for comparing candidates and evaluating their soft skills.

While millennials are often stereotyped as self-serving job hoppers, Generation Z has expressed many traditional career ideals, such as working for fewer employers. At the height of economic downturn, millennials often had to sacrifice passion and industry preference for paying opportunities, making them more likely to use positions as temporary stepping stones. Most members of Generation Z expect to work for no more than four employers in a lifetime, and less than 30 percent are primarily motivated by money.

Yet, Generation Z highly values entrepreneurism, and loyalty to employers is conditional upon factors such as honest leadership, work flexibility, advancement opportunities and mentorship. In the Enactus survey, 64 percent of participants identified career growth as a top priority, and 38 percent valued an honest boss.

Young employees want to learn from a multigenerational workforce, and they do not want to be treated like superficial technology addicts. About 74 percent prefer face-to-face communication over digital alternatives. Generation Z is most attracted to employers who provide one-on-one coaching and ongoing professional development, so technology innovation does not have to dominate recruitment strategies or company culture.

Employers are still learning to understand and manage millennials, but the majority of obstacles arise when they make unfair judgements about an entire generation’s work ethic, skills and professional priorities. The same holds true for Generation Z, so instead of focusing on preconceived stereotypes, businesses should refine their policies to address the new workforce’s apprehensions about job longevity, work-life balance and advancement.

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    Adam O.

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