Baby owls in their nests might be ready to fly away but Gen Z people are still living with their parents.
Fans of the BBC’s Springwatch programme will know this is the time of year for young birds to fledge and leave their nests. That’s not the case with many human families though. 
 
It’s fair to say there’s something significant happening around the country. Compared to the 2010s more adult children in their 20s and 30s continue to live with their parents
It’s not just a question of affordable accommodation, for Generation Z people (born between, say, 1997 and 2010) expectations have changed. As well as being true digital natives, people in this age group have a less positive outlook. They are concerned about their prospects for income, employment, education, and lifestyle. They’re activists too, taking an interest in climate change ad social justice. They’re also looking for companies that align with their values and who provide solutions for their problems. 
 
These are trends employers should understand. 
 

Preparing for flight 

Many amongst the newest generation of employees might be well qualified and keen to start a career, so why hesitate? 
 
Rented accommodation is expensive, but the likelihood of saving a deposit and a mortgage is becoming remote. The cost-of-living crisis, rising stress and strained family resources mean many are feeling trapped. Above all, a recent study found over one third felt they lacked opportunities to find their dream jobs. Less than one in 10 said they currently had a job they enjoyed, in which they felt happy and financially secure. Many are prioritising any job over their dream job, but at the same time feel little loyalty to their employers. For employers looking to recruit and retain their next generation of ‘movers and shakers’, this represents some challenges. 
 

Understanding Gen Z 

Technology is part of the Gen Z world to the point it can overwhelm them. For example, they’re more likely to feel judged if they have technical issues while working remotely. The flexibility, work-life balance and autonomy they’re looking for require reliable remote working tools and technology. 
 
However, despite their technical know-how, they’re still looking for roles offering opportunities for innovation, creativity, and continuous learning. 
 
Sustainability, equality and ethical practices are all high on their priority list too. To attract high-quality younger employees businesses must prioritise their mission, values, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments. 
 

Strategies to attract Gen Z high flyers 

To overcome the practical and emotional barriers facing potential Gen Z employees, businesses must take a proactive approach: 
 
Technology. Younger employees expect to use digital tools at work that are reliable and useful. They will soon lose patience with poorly implemented IT. Start off on the right foot with video interviews, virtual career fairs and online assessments. Make the best use of technology for your onboarding processes too. 
 
Flexibility. Work-life balance is important for your younger employees so make sure your policies can accommodate them. Highlight how you can fit with individual preferences for working hours and locations, for example. 
 
Inclusion. Equality and diversity covers a wide spectrum which is evolving all the time. Make sure you’re up to date and meet all the current requirements. Provide resources, mentors and initiatives to build a sense of belonging in your organisation. 
 
Careers. Use examples of how existing employees grow with your business through support, learning and development. It’s an important part of staff retention and will benefit your business in the longer term. 
 
Values. Gen Z employees are looking for employers whose values fit well with their own. If you don’t already, communicate your mission, values, and CSR activities. Sustainability, community engagement, and ethical business practices are all important. 
 

Overall 

If you stick rigidly to the recruitment strategies you have used in the past you will probably struggle to attract new talent. As your older employees consider slowing down or retiring you could face a serious skills gap. Taking a proactive approach to recruitment and retention will help you build long-term success. 
 
Ascendant Recruitment is now in its 22nd year. We’ll use all our knowledge and experience to help you find talent amongst the younger generation of employees. 
 
Please get in touch to discuss a recruitment strategy for your new generation of employees. 
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