While May still seems far away, graduation season is fast approaching. So, do not be surprised if you soon see an influx in applications from college graduates as graduates are beginning to look for employment opportunities earlier and earlier. As an entirely new class of graduates seeks positions, companies can expect entirely new skillsets to enter the workforce.
A blurry line separates Millennials and Generation Z, but there is no doubt each group brings distinct sensibilities to the workplace. For example, Gen Z grew up during an economic downturn, watching their parents struggle to keep jobs and witnessing global instability via war and terror. This backdrop created a more money-cautious and pragmatic generation, a stark contrast to the typically optimistic and risk-seeking Millennials. As a result, Gen Z is eager to begin working, especially because they understand the volatility of the job market.
As Gen Z gets thrown into the professional mix with Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, Addison Group shares some of the skills they will bring to the table:
- Social media savvy: The importance of social media is growing in every industry, and it’s long been a critical element of the recruiting process. Studies show that not only are 80 percent of Gen Z on social media daily, but also that same percentage consider creative self-expression important. Take advantage of these new workers’ fluency in the fast-changing landscape of social media and their ability to act as influencers to their peers. It could lead to increased intelligence within your digital or social teams internally and recruiting opportunities or brand reputation externally.
- Entrepreneurial spirit: Starting at a younger age, Gen Z desires to work independently, contribute to future technologies and make the world a better place via innovation. In fact, 72 percent of high school students said they want to start a business someday, and another 40 percent believe they will invent something that changes the world. Employers can take advantage of this entrepreneurial drive by encouraging newly graduated employees to work independently and contribute constructive criticism or new ideas that company veterans may be too engrained in the organization to see.
- Diversity and global awareness: A Ford study found that 58 percent of adults ages 35-plus worldwide agree that kids today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country. Gen Z graduates will not only look for companies that contain a diverse set of employees, but they will feel comfortable functioning in a global corporate environment. From day one, offer these new hires a chance to work with your global offices, clients or partners. They will likely thrive in this setting and could open doors to more global opportunities.
- Money is not the motivator: Only 28 percent of Gen Z said money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer; this is a significantly smaller percentage compared to 42 percent of Gen Y. What does this mean for your company? You’ll attract talent based on passion rather than compensation. Use this to your advantage while recruiting, highlighting some of the community involvement and mission based work of your clients. Typically, people who are passionate about their company will do good work.
There is no doubt that integrating new generations into the workforce comes with new challenges, such as how to foster inter-generational collaboration. For example, older generations may find it difficult to work with new hires who embrace complicated technologies, or younger generations may not understand why seasoned professionals favor those with advanced degrees. However, the best way to prepare for these changes requires identifying the areas where newcomers will thrive and determining clear opportunities to capitalize on those skills.