A large letter Z is made out of purple glitter using a brush.

What You Need to Know About Hiring Gen Z

As the year 2023 begins, more and more of the Gen Z generation begins to join the workforce. Born between 1997 and 2012, most Gen Z is finishing college and looking for a career. 

But the last few years have been anything but ordinary, and they have really shaped Gen Z. Hiring them will be a much different experience than the experience of hiring millennials. 

So what do you need to know about hiring Gen Z? Read on to find out. 

Gen Z is Comfortable in the Digital World

First and foremost, Gen Z is the first generation that has been raised in a fully digital world. While Millennials may remember a time when their phone wasn’t glued to their hand, Gen Z doesn’t. They will never pick up a dictionary to look for a word, nor will they know the meaning of looking for something in an Almanac.

This may seem to be a bit of a downside to hiring Gen Z, but the opposite is actually true. Although Gen Z may not remember a time without technology, they tend to be the most tech-savvy and are more open to new programs than other generations of employees. 

Most Gen Z report that they are comfortable learning a new computer program with one less or less, and they aren’t scared when the company they work for makes a change in technology. After all, most of them got a flip phone at a young age and had a smartphone by middle school. 

Their love for technology doesn’t just mean they are great at using technology, but it also means that they may be able to suggest other ways technology can help your business. Despite their young age and naivete in the workforce, adding a Gen Z worker to an innovation team can work wonders. 

Gen Z Isn’t Willing to Work for Intro Salaries

An important aspect to consider as a business is that Gen Z isn’t willing to work for low salaries as their predecessors were. Back in the day, it was very difficult to find out what others were making in your industry, but thanks to the internet, Gen Zers know how much their friends make, and they are looking to match or exceed it. 

It goes even further than that. According to a particular study, Gen Z believes it is the hardest working generation to date, and therefore they aren’t willing to compromise on a beginner’s salary. 

If you are looking to hire Gen Z, you likely have to be ready to offer a competitive salary in order to get their attention. While this can seem a bit of a high ask, remember that Gen Z is more likely to be able to work with your company’s technology than hire from a different generation. 

Gen Z Prefers Benefits Over Bonuses

Along the same lines as the expected salary, it’s important to note that Gen Z is also looking for benefits in addition to a competitive salary. This should come as no surprise as the costs of healthcare have skyrocketed over the past few years. 

Interestingly enough, however, Gen Z is willing to make some sacrifices for a job with the right benefits. In fact, when compared with Millenials, Gen Z is happy to surpass performance bonuses in exchange for health and dental care. 

It’s easy to see why this is the case when you consider what COVID did to many companies. Gen Z would rather not work hard for a bonus that may not materialize and instead would rather prioritize having good access to healthcare year-round. Gen Z also puts maternity and paternity care over bonus incentives, and they do expect to have some sort of paid leave. 

This might seem like a tall ask when added to the fact that Gen Z expects a decent salary, but when you look at what Gen Z doesn’t care about, it is possible to make some cuts to help a Gen Z hire fit in the budget, more on this later. 

Gen Z Doesn’t See Education the Same Way

Something that is very unique about Gen Z is that they don’t see education the same way. Raised during a time when college tuition has become outright unaffordable for some families, many Gen Zers are entering the workforce in a job they feel they are unprepared for.

Additionally, Gen Zers, when compared to Millennials, have a large desire to further their education. Therefore they are more willing to work a job that offers opportunities to return to school or partial tuition stipends as part of the benefits package. 

Two Gen Z students work on laptops in a park environment.
Gen Z students find a work-life balance more important than pursuing a career path. 

Gen Z Values Work-Life Balance

By now, you are probably feeling that a Gen Z employee might be a little bit out of your reach financially, but the truth is, there is one area where Gen Z is ready to compromise, and that is in their work-life balance.

Going to school during the pandemic taught Gen Z that life is short and they truly want to experience all that life has to offer. Even though Gen Z might not be willing to compromise in areas where previous generations were, they are willing to compromise their salary in exchange for a good work-life balance.

For example, if you can’t offer a salary you think would be attractive to a Gen Zer, you may be able to still attract this generation by offering partial remote positions. You can also offer flexible hours or an opportunity to work an extra week to take more days off the next. 

Many Gen Z employees want to travel, be with family, and just take time to be with themselves. If you can find a way to work this into the position you are offering, you might be able to employ a Gen Zer for less than a competitive salary or a smaller benefits package. 

More and more Gen Zers are becoming digital nomads, meaning they prefer to work remotely. If you’ve ever thought about making a position a remote one, there is no time like the present. 

Gen Z Prefer Jobs Where They Can Be Creative

Beyond just valuing their time and their money, Gen Zers also prefer jobs where they are able to be creative. It can be difficult to turn a traditional job into one that is more creative, but even just offering a Gen Zer the opportunity to do something creative can go a long way. 

For example, if you need to fill a position such as a secretary but find a Gen Zer who is also interested in web design, offering them the opportunity to redesign your business’s website could go a long way. It could additionally give them something to do rather than wait all day for a phone to ring or a message to arrive. 

Gen Z Plans to Change Careers

Unfortunately, for as great of addition as a Gen Z hire can be to your team, it’s also important to know that most Gen Z individuals plan to change jobs within the first 3 years. 

This desire stems from the combination of Gen Zers feeling undereducated, as well as the fact that technology moves fast. Gen Z has grown up with apps and platforms that have changed every few years, and therefore they expect to do the same in a few years once they have more education.

Unlike Millennials, Gen Z doesn’t prioritize career growth. This is because most of their parents (Gen X) worked themselves to death for the next career promotion. Gen Z prefers instead to pursue a career that will allow them to live life on the side. 

As an employer, this means you cannot hold a promotion over the head of a Gen Z employee because they don’t value it the same. Instead, to entice employees to stay, you should offer increasing benefits packages as well as salary increases. These options are much more likely to entice Gen Z to stay.

But this doesn’t guarantee they will stay, however, so when you go into hiring Gen Z, go in with the expectation that their employment at your business may not be long-term. 

Gen Z is Happy to Freelance

Along these lines, Gen Z is also more happy to work as a freelancer than in previous generations. While Gen X valued job security, Gen Z would rather be paid well to get a job done and then have a say in what time of day or when they work. 

This can be good to know if you are looking to fill positions that could be filled by a contractor rather than a full-time role. Contractor positions that are paid well will give Gen Z the money and flexibility they desire while also allowing them to change roles in the near future when something else pops up. 

Contract positions also offer Gen Z an opportunity to return to school if they choose as well as time to be creative. While it won’t give them the benefits they desire, it can also be beneficial for your company to invent a hiring path that starts with contracting but offers an opportunity to switch to a full-time employee later, as these will be attractive to the Gen Z generation.

Gen Z Trusts Recruiters

Technology has changed widely since you were hiring Gen X or even Millennials, and thus it should come as no surprise that the way Gen Z expects to be contacted about a job is different. 

Like Millennials, Gen Z sees email as a great way to hear about a job. But they are also open to being texted as well. They are, however, very unlikely to respond to a phone call or voicemail with positivity and are more likely to see these as a scam. 

This has to do with the rising amount of scam calls but also the fact that most of Gen Z didn’t have a “house phone” when growing up. They also see phone calls as a bit intrusive and for something more personal than a job notification. 

Gen Z prefers to do things on their own time and actually prefers to be recruited for a job by a recruiter. This is because Gen Z believes a recruiter has their best interest in mind and that the potential company they will be hired by doesn’t. They also value a personal relationship with their recruiter more than any of the generations previously.

A Gen Zer looks at something on their smartphone.
Gen Z prefers digital communication via email and text.

Gen Z Prefers Digital Interviews

As you can imagine, with the desire for digital contact via email or text, Gen Z also prefers to have remote digital interviews. These allow Gen Z to get a feeling for a job without having to fly to a new location for an interview. 

Digital interviews can also save companies a lot of money, especially when hiring Gen Z, who is so picky about their future position. It’s easier to weed out someone that wouldn’t be a good fit before you’ve invested a lot of time and money into hiring them. 

The Gen Z Hiring Timeline

The final thing that needs to be discussed about Gen Z is their hiring timeline. Raised in a world where technology changed on a weekly basis, Gen Z isn’t about to wait months for a job offer. In fact, most of Gen Z expect a job offer within one week of the interview. 

This can put businesses on a time crunch, especially when multiple interviews are needed. It can help, however, to use a staffing agency that can provide digital updates to potential employees while they wait for a response. 

Ready to Hire Gen Z?

Overall, as more and more Gen Zers enter the workforce, hiring techniques will need to change to suit these employees, who seem more demanding than any generation before them. But this demand is warranted, as Gen Z knows the technological know-how that they bring to the table. 

If you think you are ready to employ some Gen Zers in your business, start by learning more about implementing a better work-life balance at your company to help increase employee retention and the chances that you will attract Gen Z employees. 

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