Employer

It’s time to welcome a new generation to the office. Born between 1997-2010, the Gen Z population is about 61 million strong in the U.S. and is ready to make waves in the workforce. But what does the newest entry-level cohort want at work?

In a candidate-driven market, it’s more important now than ever to know what the incoming workforce wants out of a career. A new report from RippleMatch sheds some light on this generation’s workplace preferences and can give recruiters and hiring managers a competitive advantage when selling Gen Z talent on a job. Here are some key takeaways.

1. Make it clear how young candidates can grow within your company

Across factors such as social impact, job stability, work-life balance, and compensation, Gen Z ranked professional development as the most important factor when it comes to choosing a job. Followed by professional development was upward mobility, showing that Gen Z isn’t interested in job-hopping – as long as they’re given the proper resources to grow.

When talking with a Gen Z candidate, it’s great to show off your cool office or talk about your company’s amazing perks, but make sure you lay out all of the opportunities your company offers to help employees progress in their careers. In fact, out of all the factors Gen Z was surveyed on, company prestige and compensation were ranked as the least important when it comes to rating the attractiveness of a position. While Gen Z is known to be financially responsible, a high paycheck won’t necessarily bring in top talent if your company is lacking in professional development opportunities and internal promotions.

Understand the multifaceted nature of Gen Z

While professional development was the most important workplace factor to Gen Z across all segments, priorities shift when you look at what candidates want across race, ethnicity, gender, and education.

The importance of a company’s social impact, for example, is valued by women and black students much more than it is by men – specifically white men. The varying attitudes toward social initiatives aren’t unique to RippleMatch’s workplace data. In fact, a study produced by MTV and the Public Religion Research Institute found the same thing. Gen Z women tend to be more politically and civically active than young men, and the importance of issues such as gender equality, race relations, and income inequality varied by race and ethnicity, with black young people caring the most about those specific issues, followed by Hispanic young people, and then by white young people, who cared the least.

And it’s not just on social issues where Gen Z segments had varying preferences and priorities about what they want in the workplace. Gen Z women, for example, rank a “strong sense of community” as the second most important thing at work and “upward mobility” as third, while Gen Z men rank upward mobility right behind professional development. Women and underrepresented minorities also place a higher value on things like job stability and work-life balance than white and Asian men do.

So what should recruiters and hiring managers do with this information? Recognize that while something like professional development resonates with all of Gen Z, make sure you highlight all aspects of your company that might be of interest.

3. Curate a challenging and rewarding environment for Gen Z’ers

Despite their reputation as a sensible cohort, Gen Z is still considered to be one of the most entrepreneurial generations to date. However, not every member of Gen Z is going to start their own business, so it’s important to look at their identifiable traits to glean what a fulfilling career could look like for them. Data from RippleMatch found that Gen Z likes to challenge the status quo and considers themselves to be competitive and extroverted. Pair that with their preference for professional development and upward mobility and it’s clear Gen Z wants to the chance to solve problems, speak up, and push themselves and others to be better. When discussing a job description with a candidate, be sure to convey how their prospective tasks will make an impact on the company, as well as highlight any opportunities to work on exciting and challenging projects.

With the oldest members of Gen Z just now entering the workforce, there’s a lot to learn about what attracts them to a company and what keeps them there. But for now, one of the best things you can to do is highlight how your company can help this generation grow into the best and brightest business leaders of tomorrow. Invest in Gen Z talent now, reap the rewards later.

About the author: Kate Beckman is the Content Manager at RippleMatch.com. Follow her on Twitter here.

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