Caring and career minded – What do Gen Z applicants look for in employers

Business 9th March 2023

In a recent blog we looked at the general traits and assumptions around the latest generation to join the workplace. So, what does this mean when you are thinking about attracting the talent from the younger end of the workforce?

Generation Z is coming
The post millennial generation is about to sweep into the workplace and grabbing the best and brightest is high on the agenda of businesses looking to shore up their future workforce. Attracting generation Z workers means understanding their drivers and appealing to those needs. Of course, the idea of generational traits is only useful in the widest context, but it can be a general guide when it comes to how to appeal to a group.

So, let’s take some of the overall traits of Generation Z (those born after the mid 90’s) and put these in the context of what they look for in an employer.

Driven by their values
Values and ethics are probably the most defining aspect of the new generation. They will look for an employer who is in tune with their own view of the world. Issues such as climate change and sustainability have not been a developing problem for them, they have lived with them as actionable certainties.

Generation Z will look to employers to be socially responsible and be making moves towards carbon 0 and other environmental goals. Ethically they are acutely aware of injustice and the need for equality and will have respect for an employer that actively promotes these values.

Tech aware and tech native
Being the first totally digitally native generation, the Gen Z worker is unlikely to be overawed by technology, neither are they likely to be wowed by it. They will instead effortlessly accept new technology and instinctively adapt and adopt it. Gen Z may well prefer to see your approach to adopting new developments rather than the current ‘shiny’ new tech.

They are entrepreneurial, yet still career minded
Experiencing the financial issues of three economic crises and a pandemic has shaped the Gen Z worker into someone who values stability. Employers should be looking to reassure them that they are taking on a career move with a stable income and a clear progression path. However, there is a little bit of a balancing act to this. In what seems like a counterintuitive trait, the need for a solid, dependable, job is tied in with entrepreneurship and flexibility. Gen Zers tend to be free thinking, adaptive and have a strong desire to be part of positive change. They want to contribute and will actively seek out career development opportunities and ways to improve themselves and their workplace.

Most will want to be challenged and developed so that they can use their skills to the fullest.

To appeal to this seemingly contradictory pairing of entrepreneurship and the need for stability, employers will probably want to emphasise training and development as a collaborative process to create long-term goals.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
No generation has ever been so effortlessly inclusive as Generation Z. Where previous generations were consciously aware of the need for inclusivity, G-Zen see it as an expectation. Therefore, they will value difference in an inclusive community way rather than see inclusion as something to be achieved. They are also likely to speak out about injustice, inequality, and bias, whether intentional or not. These uncompromising attitudes can therefore be a source of friction with older generations who may see this as over sensitive and hyperpolitical. They value individuality, and because of their lifelong exposure to global influences via social media and other online sources, they are more likely to have friends from different cultural backgrounds and across the gender and sexuality spectrum. For the Gen Z worker, a binary assumption in relation to gender and sexuality may seem old fashioned and even divisive.

Generation Z applicants will look for an inclusive, welcoming, working environment where employees have the freedom to express themselves without the need to conform to traditional roles.

Your employer brand may be your best shop window
As the new generation starts to impact on the workplace it seems reasonable to accept that, assuming your offer is right in terms of salary and benefits, the key to attracting Generation Z workers is going to be how you present your employer brand.

This a generation that is awake to political and social causes and their understanding of everything from mental wellness to global issues is far in advance of any previous generations. If you want to reach out to the Gen Z employee, you will need to show that you share their values and respect their choices. If you do you could find yourself recruiting an innovative, creative, tech savvy, diverse and loyal workforce that are career minded but also have the flexibility and desire to work in non-traditional ways.

If you are ready to review your employer offer or have any other HR related issues to discuss, we are here to help.  Call us on 01604 763494 or drop us a email

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