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Recruiting Gen Z - Not Just Beanbags & Free Food Anymore (Part 1)

Millennials and Gen Z now make up the largest percentage of the workforce and potential workforce in the UK, but employers are struggling to engage with this rich pool of talent and innovation because of legacy mindsets and outdated approaches to recruitment.

With teams remaining one of the biggest costs and greatest assets that a company has, it pays (literally) for businesses and organisations to rethink their approach to recruitment in order to attract top talent. Doing that means understanding this young and vibrant group of potential employees and aligning your practices with their values. 

In this two part series, we look at the mindset and aspirations associated with millennials and Gen Z, to help employers understand what they want and adapt recruitment processes to suit their needs.




Millennials and Gen Z have the skills employers need

The world of work has an increasing need for high value soft skills, which are harder to find and measure than technical ones. With digitisation and automation of certain tasks, it’s the soft skills that cannot be replicated by machines and where human value is essential.

In 2017 Deloitte “reported that ‘soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030’ and that hiring employees with more soft skills could increase revenue by more than $90,000.”  

What are the highest rated skills?

  • Empathy
  • Integrity and ethical responsibility 
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience 
  • Self motivation
  • Mindfulness

Gen Z and millennials are, broadly speaking, shown to have these skills in abundance, along with critical thinking, being technologically savvy, creative, inclusive and courageous. Their awareness around personal values and their desire to work for companies that align with those values also has the capacity to make the right employee a powerful and passionate advocate for your organisation.


How do millennials and Gen Z think?

In particular, Gen Z is often stereotyped for its lack of loyalty. However, if the pandemic has shown us anything it’s that millennials and Gen Z aren’t just resilient, they are also made up of savvy individuals with ideas, enthusiasm and a determination to challenge the status quo. 

It’s those attributes that help to generate new ways of thinking and drive companies forwards, making them an asset on your team. The question is, how do you attract them to your company or organisation? It starts by understanding the broad characteristics that drive their thinking:


1. An entrepreneurial mindset

These generations of digital natives have grown up in a world of influencers, the technology boom and the rapid disruption of industries from taxis (Uber) to entertainment (Netflix). They are born to an entrepreneurial mindset, and this is reflected in their choices and actions, particularly when it comes to their careers. They are less interested in a standard 9 to 5 and are more autonomous in their approach to career progression. 

In the pandemic we saw this attitude play out as many took the opportunity to up-skill, take up new hobbies or seize new opportunities during lockdown and furlough rather than sitting idle. For example, The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey showed that 25% of millennials and 27% of Gen Z said they learned new work capabilities during their personal time.

This entrepreneurial mindset can be intimidating to employers with an old school approach to recruitment, but look beyond that approach and it has enormous benefits. Young employees have the capacity to be more motivated, passionate and invested in the success of a company if their values and beliefs are fully engaged. They have an interest beyond the payroll.


Question for You: How can you nurture and harness an entrepreneurial mindset in the workplace to the benefit of both employees and your organisation?


If you're currently hiring, and want to build your talent pool for the future in new and exciting ways - Sort Your Future has a community of 600k+ diverse, talented, young people actively seeking to progress their careers. Click the button below to learn more.

Get Started


2. Value driven 

From eco-friendly products to challenging stakeholder capitalism, social equality and discrimination, millennials and Gen Z are staunchly value driven. Having grown up in a world of transparency, where they can leverage the power of social media for a cause, they have strong beliefs and they are passionate about living by them. That means they want to buy from and work for organisations that not only hold similar values to them, but that are also making proactive steps to live by them.

According to Deloitte’s survey, as many as 60% see systemic racism as a prevalent issue, and many feel they have experienced it personally, and the environment is a top priority for most. Crucially, they are proactive: they donate to charity, they campaign for causes they’re passionate about, they get involved with organisations, participate in marches and contact local representatives or campaigns. They recycle as standard, they are also prepared to change their eating habits, shopping habits, travel habits, and even base decisions around how many children to have on environmental reasons.


Question for You: What are your company values and do they translate into tangible actions throughout your company?



3. Belief in the power of the individual 

Millennials and Gen Z show a strong collective belief in the power of the individual to drive change, whether it’s for social, racial and wealth equality or environmental wellbeing. On balance, surveys show that they have less faith in government and business leadership to action change. However, they haven’t given up on the power of business, so they do make decisions about who to work for based on the values of those companies and the actions they take to drive change in key areas.


Question for You: How can you further empower your employees to champion causes they believe in?



4. Health and wellbeing is a priority

It’s no secret that we no longer live in a world where burnout is seen as a badge of honour, and these generations place a high priority on health and wellbeing. That doesn’t mean a free yoga class once a week - it means a greater work life balance, a holistic interpretation of wellness (from financial health to stress management and positive working environments), and a preventative approach to healthcare. 

However, the balance has not yet been struck. Deloitte’s report found that 41% of millennials and 46% of Gen Zs say they feel stressed all or most of the time. The causes of stress ranges from financial wellbeing to concerns about job stability and worries about the welfare of their families. 


Question for You: How are you ensuring a positive working culture in your team? How can you address the dichotomy between job stability and flexibility in a world associated with higher levels of gig working?


The summary is, the attitudes and behaviours that will drive the next generation aren't the same that have driven the previous generations. In the second part of this series, we'll explore what Gen Z wants at work and how employers can position themselves towards attracting the best talent out there.



If you're currently hiring, and want to build your talent pool for the future in new and exciting ways - Sort Your Future has a community of 600k+ diverse, talented, young people actively seeking to progress their careers. Click the button below to learn more.

Get Started


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