Employers struggle to understand the mysterious creatures known as Gen Z job candidates. Gen Z candidates have a different set of priorities that might not align with those of the employer. They’re currently between 9 and 24 years old, and we’re pretty sure some are still trying to figure themselves out too.
There’s a vast difference between how Gen Z and older generations view work. It’s easy to wonder if there’s any way there could ever be a mutually beneficial working relationship. Employers and Gen Z workers need mutual flexibility in order to avoid dysfunction in the work place. When we sit down with people in this demographic we ask questions. Here’s what we’ve learned about the priorities of Gen Z job candidates in East Texas.
They’re Digital Natives
Older populations had to learn to use technology, and we’ve evolved with it to varying degrees. Generation Z job candidates were born into a world full of digital devices and social media platforms.
Many of them have forgotten more information about digital payment options than we ever knew, yet they might not have any idea how to write a paper check. They’re comfortable with virtual reality and remote collaboration tools yet might get nervous about making phone calls or attending in-person social interactions.
At work, they seek access to the latest technology and tools in the workplace. It can be a real stretch for employers to provide productivity options like cloud-based communication platforms, online learning management systems, automation tools and online communication. Many employers have no idea what any of this is.
Flexibility And Work-Life Balance are of High Importance
Gen Z values flexibility. Many of them desire remote working options, flexible hours and the ability to do their jobs from anywhere. If you run a coffee shop or a clothing store remote work might not be an option. Sometimes the easiest choices might be a compressed work week or employee job sharing. However, while companies might understand the desires of younger workers, they are not always able to adjust and make these options available.
Many individuals in this demographic grew up with stressed out parents working hard at their jobs and still living paycheck to paycheck. They don’t want to live that way, so they’re seeking ways to be more financially responsible rather than trying to increase income by putting in more hours.
They Want Professional Growth Opportunities
The youngest members of the East Texas workforce have big plans for their futures. They want to learn and earn their way to a more successful future, and they seek employers that can help them reach their goals.
Companies can attract them by making workshops, training sessions and mentoring programs available. When job seekers see that an employer offers a clear path for career progression and opportunities for advancement, they feel that the company goals are aligned with their own. Unfortunately for employers, many times that clear path for advancement is not easily defined at the outset. It depends greatly on the future performance of the employee within the organization.
They Demand Competitive Pay
Generation Z job seekers know what area employers pay because they talk about it with their peers before, during and after a job change. They know what their friends make and what employers pay the most (and the least). They want to be compensated fairly for what they do. And employers are faced with juggling compensation with profitability and the realities of the marketplace.
They’re Changing Workforce Culture
Every generation causes shifts in thinking and performing when they step into the workplace, and it’s normal for different age groups to experience friction in thinking and expectations. Gen Z candidates typically want to work for companies that are socially responsible and committed to making a difference. Most are looking for employers whose values align with their own, and they want to make a positive impact on society.
They Multi-Task Like Nobody’s Business
Gen Zers grew up with notifications and electronic interruptions vying for their attention. When their brains were still forming they juggled online interactions, home responsibilities, and educational input most of their waking moments. Perhaps this is why they’re universally known for their ability to multitask. They often prefer to work on more than one task at a time and are typically more efficient doing so than any previous generation.
Gen Z says, “We don’t want to spend our life stressing about our jobs. There are more important things in life.”
Hiring managers we talk to say, “We understand workers have friends, families, social obligations and personal lives outside of work. And we try to encourage that and accommodate employees as much as possible. It’s just that, to run a business, we need to be able to count on our people to prioritize work responsibilities for an agreed upon amount of time. We pay employees to do it because we know it’s work.”
Gen Z says, “I want to work for a company that will help me reach my long-term professional goals. What will my career advancement be in the company and what is the timeline?”
Business owners and team leaders say, “I started at an entry level position and have been promoted up over the years, but it didn’t happen overnight. This company has given me every opportunity to grow, and I took advantage of it through hard work and dedication.” We WANT people to excel, get promoted, have more responsibility and make more money. Some do and some don’t. But we must see how well you do the job you’re hired for before we see what’s next.”
Gen Z says, “I want flexible hours and remote work.”
Some business managers say, “That’s just not possible in our company.”
Gen Z says, “Managers just don’t genuinely understand how the world is right now.”
Hiring staff says, “Someone needs to explain to them how the world actually works.”
Can There be Compromise?
So, what’s the solution? Is there middle ground where the two sides can meet? If so we believe that it takes open communication, patience and mutual respect from both sides to reach solutions that actually work in reality. We didn’t get here overnight.
Part of the transition to adulthood involves recognizing that one’s own needs and wants can’t always come first, and that doing the right thing doesn’t always result in validation. The youngest members of today’s workforce are probably still going through that process. For employers, objective conversations with young people can achieve positive results. Forming mutual relationships can occur both professionally and outside of work.
In terms of hiring, the first step is understanding what Gen Z candidates want. The next step is to determine what your company can and can’t offer. Proceed from there, and let the cream rise to the top.
Hire Top East Texas Talent
Brelsford Personnel works with area job seekers at every skill and age level, in most industries. If you want to hire qualified candidates without the headache that goes with recruiting and interviewing, contact us about our services for employers.