Generation Z, who are they and how to engage with them.

Generation Z, who are they and how to engage with them.

Welcome back! After a long break I am starting with somewhat a serious tone. On Generation Z. I have personally never been a huge fan of categorizing generations of people and tagging them with ‘one fits all’ labels, guidelines and descriptions. But maybe there is some sense in it… Doing research on the subject I am swaying to think that maybe an overview is useful.

How well do we know the new generation and what can we expect from them?

Generation Z is generally defined as those born from the year of 1996 and onward. Coming after the Millennials, some of them are starting to take their first steps into the world of work. Bringing along with them their own unique outlook on life & work to the table.

This poses the question; how well is the current world of recruitment suited to Gen Z?  How well do we know the new generation and what can we expect from them?

By all accounts, and this is obviously early days, we are talking about a more ‘aware’ generation than ever before. Millennials were the first digital natives, growing up with the internet and taking smart phones to school. Generation Z however are the first cloud natives. They have grown up with cloud technology, touch screens, Wi Fi or mobile data on all devices as standard.  This is the first generation which has been brought up within the global playing field.

Thank about that for a second.

Your average teenager will have grown up talking to people online from around the world, reading tweets, news articles and viewing Instagram pictures from and about America, Europe and Asia in real time. They will own a smart phone with a thousand apps on it designed by people from around the world.  They are used to having an on-demand stream of information and entertainment with a hundred opposing viewpoints and comments along with all of it.

Generation Z – entrepreneurs and innovators.

This translates into a workforce ready and willing to challenge the status quo. A workforce of entrepreneurs and innovators. This is a workforce who from the moment they could clutch a phone in their hands were watching YouTube videos and playing games on their parent’s smart phones. Apple, Samsung, Google are more than just tech companies to this generation – they are identity defining traits.

The point is that we have here a potential workforce so saturated by on demand technology that they are immensely predisposed to question the traditional. They are not a generation to do a job one way because ‘this is how we have always done it’. Why would they? Their entire life has been subject to technological innovations and shifting perceptions of how we identify ourselves as people. They don’t put limitations on themselves and start young, just ask 14-year-old Robert Nav who built an app this year which knocked Angry Birds out of the #1 most downloaded free game spot in the iPhone store. (Check the details out here)

The recruitment sector, perhaps now more than ever needs to adapt. We have a generation of young, technology savvy and forward-thinking people about to enter the work force. Something tells me that bringing a paper resume in to be reviewed isn’t going to be their go to method. It certainly isn’t going to be something which grabs their attention and wows them about the company. In fact, I suspect that nothing is more likely to bore them to tears.

Generation Z wants to be engaged.

Generation Z wants to be engaged. They don’t want to be a passenger in the recruitment process but are much more likely to come alive if given an opportunity to demonstrate their values. Far more than previous generations. In fact, over a fifth are posting original video content weekly online. They want to be heard. Compare this to adults from previous generations of whom on average one in five have ever posted a video online. 

As I’ve extolled before (check Aspire’s post on Brexit consequences) we are on the verge of a major recruitment pinch and the tech sector is going to be one of the worst affected in the UK. With that in mind and a generation of future proofed workers entering the workforce, we can expect fierce competition for the best candidates.

Here are some top tips on how to get ahead of the curb and get the cream of the Gen Z crop.

1. Start early

Generation Z is considering their work life and career direction earlier than any other generation. A study of 50,000 of Gen Z across 46 countries conducted by Universum, a global research and consultancy firm, found that a staggering 47% of respondents said they would consider entering the workforce straight from high school and 60% said they would welcome employers offering education in their field in lieu of a college degree. This shows us that waiting to pick up candidates from out on university may already be too late as this generation is researching their preferred companies at high school. To access the full report from Universum, please visit:

2. Be upfront and transparent.

Generation Z are more aware of the global, political and cultural world around them than any before them. Perhaps because of this they tend to challenge and distrust governments, corporations and other authority figures. Transparency is key to gaining the respect of the next generation and retaining their employment.

3. Focus on perks, lifestyle and technology over money.

Money isn’t a major factor with Gen Z. In 2014, Millennial Branding and Randstad conducted a study of workplace preferences for Gen Y and Gen Z. It revealed: “only 28 percent of Gen Z said money would motivate them to work harder and stay with employer longer.” Instead of financial rewards, focus on flexible working, investment in self development, access to technology and involvement within entrepreneurial projects.

4. Engage with individuals.

Generation Z wants to be engaged. They want to be a part of things. Your recruitment process must reflect that. Gamification (link to games in recruitment) is a great way to give Gen Z candidates an opportunity to showcase their talents in a way that they are comfortable with. App based engagement is another wonderful way to communicate with Gen Z.

The gold dust.

Ultimately Generation Z can be an employer’s dream. Tech savvy, politically aware and socially adept. But the hard part is going to be securing them to your company and engaging with them sufficiently to create a desire to stay and develop within your business and not the other.  If you are still using traditional recruitment agencies do yourself a favor and ditch them now. The first of Gen Z are entering the workforce so it’s time to adapt now and adapt fast if you haven’t already.

Generation Z are gold dust in candidate’s terms, don’t miss out because you’re stuck recruiting the same way you have done for the last 30 years.  Generation Z won’t wait around for you, why would they – their world is on demand….

Aspire is now open for applications! We are an invite only platform so if you don’t want to miss out on your opportunity to be involved, check out our website at where you can request an invite.


No Comments

Leave a Reply

Company No: 10745314
VAT: 276385465

T: (+44) 07828 507061

Trading addresses:
56-58 High Street, Sutton, London, SM1 1EZ, UK
Avon House, 435 Stratford Road, Solihull, B90 4AA, UK

Registered office:
C/O Fairman Harris, 3rd Floor North, Walworth Road, London, England, SE17 1JE

Developed by ATOMX

Register with us for product updates