The impact of Gen Z on employer branding

Juriaan Vergouw

Juriaan Vergouw | Senior Account Lead

March 9, 2020

This year you will definitely be hearing more about Gen Z. After the millennials, this new, fresh generation is coming to disrupt the labor market. It’s a group that is difficult to define, according to research by my colleagues in London. Born between 1995-2005 (14 and 24 years old), they are the first “real” digital native generation and growing up in a bubble of political and economic uncertainty. What do you need to know as an employee engagement and employer branding consultant to attract, engage and keep this new generation of professionals interested?

RESEARCH

In terms of numbers, Gen Z is going to surpass the millennials. This is for sure. We are talking about approximately 3 million Dutch people. Research by our sister agency FleishmanHillard brand among Gen Z respondents in various countries in Europe shows that it is a group with conflicting characteristics and polarized views. Some interesting findings from the research:

Gen Z is seeking career development that allows them to take ownership, but with a good work / life balance. They prefer careers that they are passionate about, but also desire roles with a more temporary nature.

The research showed some striking views on wanting to be your own boss. Despite the high visibility of ‘Insta-entrepreneurs’ on social, only 11% strive to be their own boss. The top 4 most important factors for choosing a job (as an employee) are: passion, money, work / life balance and stability.

Gen Z appreciates brands that pursue a purpose, but brands must be sincere and relevant and not make a forced connection. Nevertheless, brands do not necessarily have to have a purpose. 25% indicate that brands are “responsible” for social change. Brands should be authentic and say nothing rather than half-heartedly try to steal the hearts of this generation.

PURPOSE AND IMPACT

The research provides interesting insights for an employer branding strategy. This new generation requires a communication strategy in which you respond to their desired feelings of: making an impact and giving meaning. Show how your organization makes an impact. What is the purpose of your organization? Gen Z wants to do good and make a real impact. For your campaign, it means that the work must connect to a higher goal. In terms of implementation, it goes further than just a slick digital campaign. As digital natives, this group is used to an abundance of information and filtering messages at a super speed. Your offer must be visually attractive and interactive (mobile first). It must also have meaningful content and be personal. In your campaign you should show what you stand for as an organization, but above all you must tell/show what you actually do. Who does it? What is your culture? Show what you promise. Honesty and openness pays off.

INDEPENDENCE AND STRUCTURE

It is also important to address Gen Z’s desire for self-determination and independence. This must go hand in hand with offering the “safety” of structure and leadership in the background. Learning is important, but they prefer learning-on-the-job instead of lengthy studies. It is a generation that thinks as an individual (me, myself and I) and values freedom of choice. Heavily affected by the economic downturn and the loan system, they know exactly how to shape their own career path and make quick choices.

CONTRADICTORY

Appeal to sometimes conflicting wishes, that is Gen Z at its best. That is what makes formulating an employer branding strategy for this generation an interesting challenge. Do you want to know more about Gen Z? Download the Project Z report or leave a comment.


Photo by Min An from Pexels.