Gen Z has proven to be a bit of a puzzle for many employers. Unlike any generational cohort before it, Gen Z is bucking a lot of status quo trends, including the desire to work for salary alone. As Deloitte explains, Gen Z would gladly take less money to work an interesting job versus one that pays more but is boring. They also care deeply about working for organizations that are good global citizens. And that’s just some of the ways this bold new workforce is shaking things up and causing business leaders to collectively scratch their heads when it comes to attracting up-and-comers to their organizations.
Whether you’ve already started to bring aboard Gen Z employees or you’re planning to in the near future, you need to be ready to attract them differently. They’re not like Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, or even Millennials. Gen Z has very specific needs and wants, and Gen Z job seekers aren’t afraid to say “no” to offers. Plus, more than 70% of Gen Z workers are considering quitting their positions in 2023. For them, personal-professional alignment is far more attractive than toiling for years in an unfulfilling role.
In other words, you can’t hope that standard benefits and perks will be enough to keep Gen Z candidates in the mix. They’re not evaluating your workplace—or the opportunities you’re offering them—the way you might assume. Rather, they’re judging your company from a completely unique angle. If you don’t measure up, you can be sure applicants will move on. Even if you’re able to get some to commit, you might find it’s tough to hold onto them if you’re not exactly what they want.
Is there any way to satisfy Gen Z and bring them aboard for longer than a season? Yes, and some industries seem to have figured out exactly what makes Gen Z tick. Here, we’ll explore three sectors making positive waves with Gen Z workers and what leaders can learn from them:
1. Public sector and government agencies
Governments aren’t historically known for being digitally focused or adaptable. Why, then, are so many Gen Z workers seeking to serve in public service capacities? Rebekah Dorworth, president of Kyra Solutions—a trusted government partner that specializes in the art and science of digital transformation and modernization—believes young, idealist talent looks past clunky digital interfaces and sees the promise that government entities can provide.
Because her consulting work focuses on assisting government agencies, Dorworth can speak to the multifaceted reasons Gen Z and the public sector are a perfect match. “Gen Z workers who choose to enter the public sector are looking for stability, good benefits, work-life balance, and most importantly, the sense of purpose and ability to make an impact that comes with a career in serving the public,” Dorworth says. “Gen Z members are more willing to sacrifice salary for a remote work option, which aligns with the more modest salaries of government service. Keeping flexible schedules and independence will assist state agencies in attracting younger team members that still crave that sense of purpose working in the public sector provides.”
The big takeaway from this revelation is to emphasize the “Why?” behind your corporate mission. From your job advertisements to your onboarding sessions, be certain that all Gen Z candidates understand what your company’s purpose is, as well as how they can contribute to it. This will allow them to feel more connected with your organization from the get-go, which could increase their desire to plant roots.
2. Manufacturing and industrial operations
The so-called “silver tsunami” is hitting manufacturing hard. Called “The Great Retirement” by some, this phenomenon is a result of Baby Boomer retirements. Already, millions of Boomers have hung up their corporate hats since the beginning of 2020. More are likely to join their ranks. However, manufacturers can’t afford to take a “wait and see” attitude. That’s why they’re making major changes to grab the attention of Gen Z workers.
What steps are successful manufacturers taking? According to Patrick O’Rahilly, founder of Factory Fix, a manufacturing recruitment platform, the frontrunners are showing candidates a genuine career path rather than just hiring people for a job. “I think the biggest thing is you have to sell them on the potential career path and what can come next, versus the actual job that they start in,” O’Rahilly says. “Because usually the actual job is not going to be super glamorous or super impactful. Manufacturing is one of those industries where you have a slow growth curve.”
Whether or not your business also has a slower professional development curve, you can mimic the process of outlining how people advance at your company. Younger job seekers will be able to plan ahead and understand how their commitment can pay off down the road.
3. Finance and insurance
You might wonder how finance and insurance can be on this list, especially since Gen Z doesn’t appear to be money motivated. The key is that Gen Z employees might not be concerned about salaries, but they’re concerned about equity and equal access. Consequently, they can be attracted to financial and insurance-based companies that are lowering the bar for all people to be able to find financial freedom and get out of financially insecure situations.
Research has shown that Gen Z members are passionate about solving social problems, such as the economic barriers that have affected equity. Those who get into banking or sell insurance have the chance to proactively make lasting changes that could turn into a revolutionary legacy. Quite a few financial institutions have launched robust ESG programs as a way to show that they support the Gen Z mindset.
If you’re interested in bringing more Gen Z employees onto the payroll, think about the ways you’re tackling social concerns. From systemic racism to climate change, the world’s biggest issues won’t be tackled without input and innovations from businesses like yours.
Gen Z workers might not be flocking at your door for jobs now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Revamp your recruitment and hiring strategies—taking inspiration from the above industries—and you might just get rewarded with a flurry of Gen Z applications.