Gen Z recruitment and retention can be an overwhelming process for many organizations. Nonetheless, it’s more important now than ever to understand the shifting needs and expectations, with Gen Z expected to account for 30% of the workforce by 2030. Companies are currently struggling to tackle the unprecedented challenges that come with attracting and retaining this digitally native generation, with statistics showing an 80% increase in job transitions and high turnover rates in recent years. But what will it take to successfully recruit and keep them in the workplace?
Current trends show that members of Gen Z tend to enter the workforce earlier. 33% of Gen Z ages 16 to 19 already have jobs, an increase from the 26% of Millennial teens. In order to meet demand, brands will hire almost 15% more college grads in 2023 compared to 2022. However, with one in two hiring managers struggling to connect with early-career employees, engaging with and maintaining Gen Z employees has become a difficult process for organizations across the world.
Organizations are finding it hard to integrate Gen Z workers with their existing employee base. In fact, 74% of hiring managers have stated that Gen Z is the most difficult generation to handle in the workplace. So far, there are three distinct factors fueling the Gen Z hiring gap. One is the changing workplaces in a post-COVID world. The Great Reshuffle disproportionately pushed young workers to the side, with Gen Z seeing almost an 80% increase in layoffs and a 73% rise in furloughs compared to other generations between March 2020 and April 2021.
Another factor is the unnecessary friction in the workplace stimulated by negative headlines from news outlets and research companies, which has caused antagonistic responses from both sides of the equation. Therefore it’s not surprising that 70% of Gen Z employees are likely to renege on their current job offer. The third factor involves misaligned career expectations between employees and employers, with about 70% of Gen Z talent quitting within 12 months of employment and those between the ages of 18 and 34 being the most likely to change their jobs ten or more times.
These early-career turnover rates are actually a big deal. It takes an average of 42 days for companies to complete the recruitment process, which means several positions are unstaffed for more than a month. Money is also an issue, with the total cost to replace an early-career turnover hovering around $22,000 per employee, an amount that can be costly for growing brands. Failing to hire the generation of the future could create major gaps in the workforce as well since 10,000 people hit retirement age every year in the U.S.
More than half of early-career employees say their turnover could have been prevented, signifying that it’s time to change our hiring strategies to better engage the generation of the future. By understanding how to effectively recruit and keep Gen Z at companies, we can deepen our understanding of the forces shaping the future of work. One thing we can do is establish clear expectations to help create a locus of control for Gen Z while providing higher levels of mental and emotional stability in the workplace.
This can be implemented even before employees start a new job by explaining salary and benefit details, day-to-day job expectations, opportunities for growth, and PTO information in depth. Companies can foster genuine transparency as well to reduce stress for Gen Z as it takes away the anxiety for what the future holds. In this day and age, salary transparency influences job decisions the most, with 52% of Gen Zers saying they wouldn’t accept a job without fully understanding their salary. This includes clearer responsibilities and goals, more individual check-ins with supervisors, and clear recognition for work.
Offering workplace respect is a crucial element of a company culture that Gen Zers value. Respect in the workplace promotes positive mental health for a generation facing a daunting mental health crisis. For Gen Z, this means offering proper work-life balance, showing their work is valued, and promoting positive mental health.
Gen Z also puts emphasis on nurturing meaningful connections in the workplace, especially with COVID disrupting professional and personal growth. Almost 50% of Gen Z employees want to know their co-workers’ personalities, interests, and life outside of work. Gen Z wants to connect with different people within the company, including other members of their team, direct supervisors, other new hires, and designated HR contact.
Gen Z is constantly faced with an information overload crisis and deserves clear work-related communications with intention. When learning about a job, many Gen Zers want information that is clear and concise, with the vast majority wanting near-instant communication after an interview (with no more than two weeks of waiting). About 70% of Gen Zers want to hear from their employer at least once or twice a week.
Workplaces are capable of recruiting and retaining Gen Zers effectively, but only if they embrace the responsibility of building transparency, fostering respect, and facilitating connections with their employees.
Written by Brian Wallace.
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