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99% of Employers Get This Wrong About What Gen Z Wants in a Job

I've spent the past two decades in recruitment, and I've given many workshops to CEOs and executives, trying to help them understand one crucial thing: How to attract, recruit, and retain Gen Z.

In almost every presentation, I start with a quiz: "What are the top three things Gen Z looks for in a job?"

  • High pay

  • Work life balance

  • Job security

  • Career development

  • Brand reputation

And not surprising, 99% of the time, they got it wrong.

The truth is, Gen Z has a different set of priorities. They want more than just a paycheck. They want a job that aligns with their values, a company that invests in their growth, and a work environment that respects their need for balance.

So, if you're still trying to lure them in with free snacks and ping pong tables, you're not giving them what they truly want.

Here's what Gen Z actually wants (and how to give it to them):

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility: It's Non-Negotiable

Gen Z isn't lazy - they're efficient. They've grown up in a digital world where everything is accessible online - from ordering food to attending classes online during the pandemic. They understand that work can happen anywhere, anytime.

Why it matters to them:

  • They've seen firsthand the burnout and stress that comes from a "hustle culture" mentality.

  • They value their personal time and want to pursue their passions outside of work.

  • They're not afraid to prioritize their mental health and well-being.

How to make it happen:

  • Focus on results, not just hours worked. Set clear goals and expectations, and give them the autonomy to manage their time.

  • Embrace remote work options and flexible schedules. Show them you trust them to get the job done, no matter where they are.

  • Use the SMARTe framework to set goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, and Evaluated. This creates clarity and accountability for both you and your Gen Z employees.

Example of SMARTe goals:

  • Specific: Improve the company's social media presence by increasing engagement.

  • Measurable: Aim to increase the number of followers by 15% and engagement rate (likes, comments, shares) by 20%.

  • Achievable: Utilize content creation tools and follow best practices for social media marketing.

  • Relevant: Enhanced social media presence is crucial for brand visibility and customer interaction.

  • Time-bound: Achieve these targets within 3 months.

  • Evaluated: Review social media analytics monthly to track progress and adjust strategies as needed.

Work Life Balance for Gen Z employee

2. Company Culture and Values: Walk the Walk

Gen Z is drawn to companies that share their values. They want to work for organizations that are making a positive impact on the world – whether it's through diversity and inclusion, social responsibility, or environmental sustainability.

Why it matters to them:

  • They're passionate about social issues and want their work to have a purpose beyond profit.

  • They believe in equality and fairness for all.

  • They're deeply concerned about the environment and climate change.

How to make it happen:

  • Go beyond lip service. Implement real diversity and inclusion initiatives. Create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.

  • Don't just talk about CSR – actually do it. Develop and promote meaningful programs that address issues Gen Z cares about.

  • Set clear environmental goals and communicate your progress. Show them you're serious about sustainability.

Career Development and Growth Opportunities: Invest in Their Future

Gen Z is ambitious and eager to learn. They want to work for companies that invest in their development and offer clear paths for career progression.

Why it matters to them:

  • They're entering the workforce during a time of economic uncertainty and rapid technological change.

  • They want to build skills and knowledge that will make them more adaptable and resilient.

  • They crave mentorship and guidance from experienced professionals.

How to make it happen:

  • Create a culture of learning. Offer regular training, workshops, and opportunities to learn from experts.

  • Establish mentorship programs. Pair younger employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support.

  • Involve Gen Z in decision-making. Give them opportunities to lead projects and share their ideas. This shows that you value their contributions and trust their abilities.

Final Thoughts About What Gen Z Wants

Forget the outdated perks – Gen Z wants more. They want a workplace where they can learn, grow, make a difference, and have a life outside of work.

Give them what they want, and they’ll give you their talent, their loyalty, and their passion. It's a win-win for everyone.

Ready to start attracting and hiring the best Gen Z talent? Check out Kabel - the AI-powered platform that connects you with the brightest young minds ready to make a real impact on your business.

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