People and Change

Making the workplace more appealing to Generation Z

Neil Hughes
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Generation Z, colloquially known as zoomers, is the demographic cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha. Researchers and popular media use the mid-to-late 1990s as the starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years.

The number of Gen Z employees is expected to triple by 2030. It is now more important than ever for employers to understand how to work alongside Gen Z and how to make the workplace more appealing for the workforce of tomorrow.

Some of the key areas that organisations seeking to hire Gen Z talent should consider are Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE+I,) Flexible Working and Advancing with Technology.

Gen Z will not compromise their vision to fit into a culture that does not fulfil their expectations. According to a survey by Monster Worldwide, 83% of Gen Z candidates noted that a company’s commitment to DE+I is important when choosing an employer.

Gen Z will join companies that they feel bring their values to life and align with their own personal principlesand appreciate employee spotlights and recognition programmes that promote the company’s values.

Seeing is believing with Gen Z and just implementing policies is no longer enough. This demographic wants to see actions taken and behaviours incorporated into the very foundation of the business itself, as well as see companies living up to their mission statements. For Gen Z, a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace goes beyond being a nice-to-have and becomes a requirement.

Flexible working has been widely adapted by numerous organisations and there is a “no exceptions” attitude from Gen Z when considering work flexibility. As a result, flexible working has become a priority for candidates seeking new roles.

According to World Economic Forum research, 73% of Gen Z employees want permanent flexible work alternatives. Organisations must consider offering employees remote working, condensed workweeks and flexible start times for example, as Gen Z will not compromise their personal lives for their work.

Flexible working also involves upskilling and acquiring new roles internally. Gen Z are unlikely to settle in one role for their entire career with no growth and development opportunities. A study by LinkedIn, discovered that 40% of Gen Z are willing to accept a reduction in pay for a role that offers better career development.

The organisational health of the workforce depends on employers being aware of the subtle differences between each generation’s preferred methods of communication, information consumption and technical abilities.

Having grown up with evolving technology, Gen Z are among the most technologically skilled employees and want to put these skills to good use. If organisations are not up to date with recent technology trends, Gen Z hold them accountable for their reduced efficiency and productivity.

Technological advancements such as AI are already having profound impacts in the workplace. According to the 2023 World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, AI and Machine Learning Specialists are the fastest growing job fields. It is Gen Z workers who will be most suited to these roles as they have the best understanding of the tech, how to use it and its benefits.

Organisations should seek to invest resources in technically proficient employees, such as by providing continuous learning opportunities, ensuring the required infrastructure is in place and the space for the technology is identified. This will ensure that organisations will benefit from leveraging this new technology.

A common misconception isthat Gen Z expect a trendy office space similar to a silicone-valley startup. However, what Generation Z really want is to work for a company that is transparent with its commitments to DE+I and its values, and one that offers flexible working in an environment that will appreciate and nurture their highly demanded skills.

Organisations need to consider their existing efforts in reaching Gen Z applicants and what changes would be necessary to make the workplace more appealing to these employees.