Recruiting Top Gen-Z Talent In A Post-Pandemic World
Originally published in Forbes - October, 14, 2020
On the cusp of their professional lives, Generation-Z was looking forward to joining the workforce in the midst of a strong economy. Enter COVID-19—and all of that changed overnight.
Now, as the economy is showing signs of life, this generation is taking a second look at their assumptions about the world of work. And they’re changing their minds on several key issues.
A new survey by Tallo asked nearly 10,000 high school and college students about their shifting perspectives on work and what’s important to them in their first full-time position. Compared to last year, young people are significantly more likely to prioritize financial stability, hone their networking skills and consider moving for the right offer.
“Gen-Z has grown up with digital information at their fingertips and access to social media to develop and express their opinions,” says Casey Welch, Tallo CEO and co-founder. “This has impacted their expectations of future employers tremendously.”
It might be easy to lump Millennials and Gen-Z together—but there are some distinct nuances. While Millennials may not entirely deserve their reputation as job-hoppers, their careers have taken many turns, and they also play a significant role in the gig economy. “Gen-Z is a whole different breed,” says Welch. “They’re craving job security. In the past few months during the pandemic, we’ve seen Gen-Z express an increased desire to stay at their first full time job longer.”
Six ways to get Gen-Z’s attention
Tapping into the next generation of talent has become more strategic than ever. Here are six ways recruiters can pivot to get Gen-Z’s attention on the job front:
- Connect early and often. Even if you don’t have an immediate opening, reach out to promising candidates. 81% of Gen Z strongly agrees that it is important to establish employer connections even if they don’t have an immediate job opening (up 22% from last December).
- Emphasize the position, not the company. For Gen-Z, the role trumps the brand. That’s why they are twice as likely to pursue their dream job at a company they don’t know, over a less-ideal position at a company they’ve heard of. Pragmatically, they’re more interested in the position than the prestige.
- Meet them online. Gen-Z is realizing the value of building their personal brand online, with 53% of college students strongly agreeing that this is important. Last December, that number was 34%.
- Make geography irrelevant. In December last year, 51% of college students rated geographic location as very important in their job search—a number that has now dropped to 39%. At the same time, nearly three-quarters said they’d like to work remotely. With fewer Gen-Zers treating location as a make-or-break factor, employers shouldn’t, either.
- Diversify. “The future workforce is racially and ethnically diverse, and they want to see a similar diversity reflected in the people they’re working with,” says Welch. “If you have a diverse workforce, communicate that. If you don’t, share the steps you’re taking to get there.”
- Take the long view. More than 1 in 3 Gen-Zers plan to stay at their first job for four+ years, and just 6% say they’re “very likely” to participate in the gig economy after graduation. They’re on the hunt for positions with long-term potential.
The future is nimble
In a fast-changing world, Gen-Z has been remarkably fluid in their approach to the future. They watched as the pandemic essentially closed down industries like hospitality, while others, like supply chain logistics, were overwhelmed. These massive shifts are leading many students to adjust their career plans and expectations to better align with the job market. “We’re witnessing a shift happen in mere months that normally occurs over years, if not decades,” says Welch.
The speed with which this generation has pivoted is a positive COVID-era takeaway for employers, especially in skills-gap industries like manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, transportation and others. “Industries that have been struggling to attract qualified talent should take note: the future workforce is willing, adaptable and nimble to find a job that is the right fit for them,” says Welch.
The challenge for employers? Be as nimble as Gen-Z in convincing them that you’re the right fit.
To learn more about Tallo, visit tallo.com