Generatie Z

Is your organisation already prepared for generation Z?

Employers are adapting to the generation of workers who are constantly connected and ambitious but who seek instant gratification and feedback, and can be incredibly anxious. For Generation Z – the digital-native post-millennials born from the mid-nineties onwards – the workplace is exciting but daunting.

Generatie Z | Gen Z -
Read time: 4 minutes | Published in Hays Journal 13

Growing (up) in a totally different world

Generation Z must build their career post-Brexit, having grown up during the 2008 financial crash and subsequent economic downturn, threats from global terrorism, political uncertainty in the Middle East and high youth unemployment in much of Europe.

This generation witnessed their older siblings or parents struggling, and this has affected their attitude to work, their ambitions and motivations. It has made them more self-aware, self-reliant and driven. They are realistic, goal-oriented innovators and more likely to want to save money than spend it.


Gen Z acknowledge they will have to retire at an older age, so they will want work to fit around their lives. However, for this to be a reality for many Gen Z workers, they will need to have the skills employers demand, particularly as there is more automation in the workplace. They must also find ways to finance their life choices if salaries remain under pressure and other factors such as the cost of renting or buying their own home take their toll.

Hiring Genaration Z

There is also the challenge of hiring a generation that will likely perform jobs that don’t yet exist. However, it’s safe to assume that, with a more advanced level of digital skills, this generation will be the most connected in history. According to UK social media monitoring company Brandwatch, which has tried to forecast future jobs for Gen Z, these could include:

  • digital architects who design virtual buildings
  • waste data handlers who dispose of data in a responsible way
  • elderly wellbeing consultants as the population ages
  • nanomedics who create small implants so people can monitor their own health and self medicate

Many HR professionals believe Gen Z will disrupt the workplace more than generation Y or  X ever did. Long-term loyalty is unlikely because these young people will want different jobs during their long career. The challenge is to find effective ways to accommodate and retain emerging talent, and a structured onboarding process is certainly a must.

A different approach

Rob Phipps, Chief People Officer for KFC Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, says 95 per cent of its 35,000 workforce were born after 1996. “To attract and retain Gen Z, we need to help them be the best they can be at work and in life,” he says. “We help them to make a difference to each other and to their communities. They also want to have fun.”

There are also some differences in the recruitment process, with Gen Z demanding quick responses and transparency from employers. “If your jobs are not advertised online, this generation won’t find them,” says Phipps. “They don’t want to hear company spin, and those with the skills an organisation needs will know where to find other opportunities if the hiring process is slow.”

Employers must also appreciate how using different devices is such an integral part of this generation’s life. According to the 2016 Childwise Monitor report, a 16-year-old will use the internet for about three hours a day and employers can benefit from their digital skills. Their attention span is short, but their ability to use different screens at the same time means they are often better at multi-tasking than older workers.

Diversity is norm

Many are also much more comfortable about their sexuality and ethnicity and will expect the companies they work for to embrace diversity, which they will see as the norm. However, figures from the World Health Organization reveal that Gen Z is not necessarily happy, with many young people worried about their future. Take student debt for example, many are considering apprenticeships as an alternative to further education. 

There is not necessarily a trend against going to university, but in 2013 the Department for Education introduced new legislation which meant young people had to continue in education beyond the age of 16, and many have opted for an apprenticeship.


Steve Morris, Marketing Director of learndirect, says organisations can grow their own talent by hiring apprentices, but the hiring process is not straightforward. “There is a lot of parental influence. This age group will discuss with their family a potential employer, the role being offered and the salary,” he says. “For many Gen Zs and their parents, the employer brand is often more important than the initial job they will do.”

He points to how some high-profile employers are wooing apprentices because these are perceived as great brands to work for in the eyes of parents. “Also, many younger people want to work in the retailers they shop in or for tech giants such as Google, and these might not always be the obvious brands their parents might think of.”

Morris says the emphasis on a work-life balance has changed slightly for Gen Z, because technology means remote and home working will be considered the norm.

This article is published in Hays Journal 13

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