Who are Generation Z and why should employers pay attention?

Over the past 15 years, Millennials have been a hot topic for HR and employment branding professionals throughout Ireland. With the majority of this generation now in employment or third level education, it is time to turn our attention to the latest generation of talent, Generation Z. By 2020, Generation Z will make up over a quarter of the workforce. Understanding and engaging with this generation early will represent a huge competitive advantage for organisations around the world.

Gen Z has grown up with unparalleled access to information, as well as a near effortless ability to interact with and influence others online. Their constant connection to multiple online devices puts the world’s knowledge at their fingertips. These trends are set to revolutionise, if not completely replace, the traditional classroom style of learning. Their comfort with all things digital and their collaborative approach empowers this generation and gives them a sense that anything is possible.

When it comes to social media, Gen Z and Gen Y are all for it.  In both cases, corporate branding in their news feeds is something they have seen for a long time. However, Gen Z seems to be adapting to this and moving to social platforms like Snapchat and others that allow greater control. They value their privacy much more than Millennials and as such will prove more and more difficult to reach through social media advertising methods. Employers will need to be more creative and more targeted in their marketing efforts to reach and influence this audience.

Global employers aiming to recruit and retain these young digital super-natives must study this newest generation‘s ambitions and work styles. Generation Z cares about flexibility, the company’s view on equality and diversity and the style and structure of the working environment. Generation Z are strongly influenced by the economically challenging times they grew up in and often look for opportunities to volunteer or contribute to a higher purpose. Unlike Millennials, much of Gen Z may not pursue a traditional education, and employers must be prepared for that and find innovative ways to assess the top talent.

Research commissioned by Ricoh showed that 42% of this generation want their future career choices to change the world for good. This compares with just 15% of Millennials which is a significant change and could dramatically affect how employers  project themselves and their corporate mission in the future.

Early engagement with Generation Z is crucial when it comes to engaging with this upcoming talent pool. gradireland #FYI  is an initiative to facilitate early engagement with this generation and enables these students to understand their career options in order to make better informed career decisions – check out some of the #FYI videos here. On 12th April in the RDS Dublin, the gradireland #FYI Careers Showcase will actively address the key area of early engagement with over 1,000 first and second year students from universities and institutes of technology throughout Ireland. More information about this event can be found here.

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