Gen Z are coming! This generation is poised to take over the Millennials’ top spot as the most populous generation on earth — a staggering one—third of the world’s population belong to this youthful group. In the United States, Gen Z represent the most diverse generation in history. Their unique perspective on life could change the way business is done over the coming decades. So, what do you need to know about Gen Z workers?

  1. Gen Z Take Education Seriously

Born after 1996, the oldest Gen Z kids are already in their early twenties. That puts them squarely in working age. However, Gen Zers are less likely to be hitting the workforce young than their predecessors. A 2018 Pew study found that only 18% of Gen Z teens were employed, and 62% of of those age 18 to 22 were working. Where are all the teenage workers? In class.

Lower than Millennial and Gen X numbers, these percentages reflect that Gen Z may be the best-educated generation yet. In that same survey, 57% of Gen Zers 18-21 who were out of high school, were in college. More than ever, this generation will be entering the workforce with a higher-education diploma in hand.

  1. Gen Z Are Looking for Stability

Even before they became the most vulnerable members of the workforce, as pandemic layoffs affected young and entry-level workers, Gen Z were aware that stability can be hard to come by. Coming of age in the Great Recession, watching older siblings return home (or never leave) due to job cuts and housing costs, witnessing layoffs in their family: Gen Zers enter the workforce well aware that jobs can vanish overnight. Companies which can offer opportunity for growth along with stability will have the edge on Gen Z talent. Financial security is a big deal for this generation.

  1. Core Values Matter to Gen Z

Even more than Millennials, Gen Z are making it clear they’re interested in companies which contribute to society in a meaningful way. One study found 77% of respondents placed priority on social activism and working at organizations whose values aligned with theirs. The edge goes to companies who can prove they’re good global citizens, contribute to their communities, and behave ethically. Lip service won’t be enough. Demonstrated action on hot topics such as sustainability, climate change, hunger, and equality speak loudly to Gen Z.

  1. Gen Z are Diverse, and Want to See Diversity

A company’s marketing could be the difference between attracting Gen Z talent, and wondering where the qualified applicants are. That’s because this historically diverse generation wants to see diversity reflected back to them by companies. Race, gender, identity, orientation, ability: Gen Z wants to see the full scope of humanity represented in the workplace, and in company marketing.

  1. Gen Z Will Be Hot Commodities in the Labor Market

Despite the current slowdown due to the pandemic, there’s no doubt that in the years to come, companies will have to woo Gen Z workers amidst fierce competition. Studies show that with Baby Boomer retirement rates on the rise, the U.S. will be facing a severe labor shortage by 2027. Educated — and indebted — Gen Zers are also facing rising costs in housing, transportation, healthcare, and other staples of life. Keeping Gen Zers on the job when opportunity beckons will be a challenge for every talent acquisition team. Similar perks that have attracted Millennials, such as student loan assistance, financial advisement, and affordable healthcare plans, will also appeal to Gen Z.

Prepping your company for the future generation of workers now will mean taking a careful look at your company’s internal guidelines as well as its public image. Does your company have the right blend of benefits, growth opportunities, and community outreach to attract and keep Gen Z talent? And from an HR management perspective, does your company have the right tech to support these smartphone natives, who have never lived without the Internet?

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