For the past decade or so, employment discussions have been dominated by millennials – the best ways to attract them and keep them, but a new demographic has recently entered the playing field: Gen Z.  Many businesses are wondering whether their employment approach for the previous generation will suit the new one, or if a whole new game is afoot.

Recruiters are keeping their eyes open for the similarities and differences between Generation Z’ers (those born mid 1990’s – early 2000’s) and their predecessors. One noted: “They’re much more confident and assertive about their goals, and a lot more knowledgeable about employers, than millennials were at the same age.”

Here are some things the young adults of Generation Z are looking for in the workplace:

Innovation or Bust

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Called iGen by some, Generation Z grew up on the instant gratification and personalization of contemporary technology. They never knew the awe of suddenly being able to carry their music in their hip pocket, so they see it – and the constant progression to smaller and faster as a matter of course. They want to work for companies that are trendsetting industry leaders and, of course, tech-savvy.  

They want to see authenticity in their prospective workplace.

Don’t try to trick Gen Z into your fold with marketing gimmicks, either. This cohort grew up on advanced advertising ploys and the vicious op-eds they ignite. They have a nose for deception and want to see authenticity in their prospective workplace.

Evident Job Security

While it may seem millennials were keen to be innovative without much concern about the future, Gen Z wants the best of both worlds. Sure, they want to see how they’re making the world a better place, but they also want to know they’ll be financially secure enough to travel that better place once they retire (preferably at 40).

Opportunities for advancement and financial rewards will be a big part of their decision-making process when it comes time to choose an employer.

Opportunities to Show Their Chops

In general, the millennials were content to work and thrive in group settings, but Generation Z is proving to be a much more competitive bunch. They’ll be attracted by in-house opportunities for professional development; one consulting firm states that Gen Z is “more open to working on their faults” than the previous generation.

They want their career and everyday work responsibilities to impact the world.

Purpose and Community Still Matter

They may be more focused on financial gains than their near elders, but Gen Zer’s still want to work for companies that do good. They “want their career and everyday work responsibilities to impact the world”, and they don’t think they should have to choose between money and social responsibility.

More Than Donations

These new grads came of age in the era of big social movements (clearly articulated and for all to see across social media) and environmental and global scares more urgent and widely discussed than the prior generation. They want to see what businesses are doing to make a difference, and many will choose their place of work based in part on this.

While donations and national campaigns go a long way to catching the eye of a potential Gen Z recruit, employee experience is essential, as well. Many experts are reminding businesses that this generation doesn’t want to see ads – they want to see value – and that recommendation goes beyond marketing and into recruiting.

Gen Z Wants to ‘Be The Change’

Show potential hires not only what you’re doing for the social good (be it environmental improvements, refugee support, homelessness outreach, etc), but also what they will be doing for social good once they’re part of the team.

Go beyond twoonies for casual Fridays to employee-driven community programming and staff input on charitable ventures. All the studies show Generation Z is eager to jump into the fray, so showing them how involved they can be will go a long way to winning their loyalty.


If you need to up your corporate giving strategy in preparation for Gen Z, HeartPress can help. Reach out to the HeartPress team to learn how to take your company from doing good business to doing good.






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