What do employers need to know about Generation Z?
Generation Z have had a hard time of it. This term refers to all people born from 1996 to around 2012 and of all the generations impacted by COVID-19.
Some have been unable to enjoy their further educations, others never completed their GCSEs in the traditional way, and it is also an age group hit particularly hard by job losses. Employers who want to tap into the talent of the youngest sector of the workforce need to be prepared and understand their strengths as well as their shortcomings. Let’s look more closely at the characteristics which define Gen Z employees.
COVID-19 has impacted Gen Z Employees in Many Ways
Evidence shows that Gen Z employees have been hit hard by COVID-19 when it comes to work. American research suggests as much as 50% of Gen Z employees in the US have experienced unemployed or unemployed in their household due to the Coronavirus outbreak, a figure much higher than other age groups. Similar is likely to be true here in the UK and it’s not just in work that Gen Z-ers have been hit hard.
The education they’ve benefitted from has been significantly different to previous years. University students may be entering their second or third year of study with very little face-to-face interaction and school leavers plans and ambitions are not exactly as they would have hoped.
Employers committed to bringing fresh and young employees on board should not underestimate the importance of a good provision for mental health and wellbeing. Many Gen Z employees have struggled throughout the pandemic and may want to access additional help. Similarly, you should be ready to deal with skills gaps and areas where employees in this generation don’t have specific experience. Mentoring and support programmes can once again offer support in this area.
Gen Z Employees are Diverse and Driven by Doing Good
Research by the BBC found Gen Z people are much more concerned about prejudice towards LGBTQ+ people, racism and gender equality than other age groups. This translates to them expecting their workplace to be inclusive and actively promote diversity and inclusion. Gen Z employees are much more likely to speak up if they consider the business to have an issue with diversity, so watertight policies and a diversity-first approach is what’s needed.
McKinsey & Company research has also shown that Gen Z “mobilise themselves for a variety of causes” and this ties into a commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as pushing beyond. Some Gen Z-ers are committed to only working for environmentally conscious companies while others want to see their potential employer committed to doing good and offering something to the world and humanity. Gen Z employees want to feel they are contributing positively to society.
Gen Z is the First Fully Digital Native Age
One of the huge plus points of Gen Z employees is they are fully digital literate and fluent. It is extremely rare to find someone in this age bracket who hasn’t had internet access since they can remember, and they are proficient in the use of a range of technologies and devices. No generation has ever been as digital savvy as this one so celebrate these skills and invite new employees to show what they can do to the wider team. With the digital skills gap constantly in the news, companies need to bring in the newest and most tech savvy generation, and make use of all their intuitive skills.
Many businesses may look to stick to what they know and go for the experience of an older, more experienced employee, but this isn’t always the best option. Gen Z employees bring something new and exciting to your business and have a new perspective which could be just what the organisation needs.