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What employers can do to prepare for Gen Z in the workplace

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Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2015, is slowly ousting millennials as the new kids in the workplace. According to the Irish Times, they already make up of 20% of the Irish population.

With the oldest of Gen Z turning 24 in 2019, employers should expect them to become more prominent in business. With that said, employers will need to prepare themselves with the knowledge to effectively leverage that demographic.

Gen Z v Millennials - what's the difference?

Research suggests there are key differences between millennials and the Gen Z demographic. For starters, whereas millennials largely grew up without smartphones or convenient technology, Gen Z grew up in a more technological environment with 92% of them having a digital footprint. As a result, they are more likely to be tech-savvy in the workplace.

According to Business Insider, college degrees and further education is less important to them than millennials, and they're 55% more likely to start their own business than millennials. Irish university DCU says a third of young students nowadays see themselves as entrepreneurs or working in their own business five years after graduation.

What can employers do to prepare for Gen Z's growing prominence in the workplace?

Create a sense of independence

Gen Z Guru says Gen Z is more independent than the generations that precede them. Many of them prefer having an office space to themselves, rather than a collaborative workspace - which is preferred by millennials.

According to our 2019 Salary Guide, flexibility was one of the key factors to attract top talent, and for Gen Z, employers will need to start taking that more seriously.

Giving employees benefits like flexible work hours will give them a feeling of independence and help your business retain quality talent for longer.

Emphasise security

Gen Z's formative years were during the recent worldwide economic recession. Many witnessed their parents in financial difficulty during that time, so they value a clear career path, job security and upskilling opportunities.

According to a survey of 100 Gen Zers by Business Insider, nearly 10% of teens saiddebtand the economy are their biggest issues. If you're advertising jobs to the money-conscious Gen Z age demographic, lead with salary and job security details to entice applications.

Make your workplace more inclusive

According to Sparks & Honey, 60% of the Gen Z generation want to have an impact on the world, compared to 39% of millennials. It's important that your company's values are parallel with that vision.

Sustainability combined with diversity and inclusion are key factors in attracting and retaining Gen Z talent.

Gen Z will also be the most diverse generation yet. According to a Pew Research Centre report, in the US, 40% of post-millennials who are currently between the ages of 6 and 21 are from a community of colour, compared to 38% of millennials and 18% of Baby Boomers.

Research from McKinsey shows that the most ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform the least ethnically diverse companies. Prioritising Diversity and inclusion for all ethnicities and genders is key for a successful business going into 2019 and attracting the Gen Z.

Focus on experience over education

Since college degrees and further education is less important to Gen Z than millennials, altering your hiring process to cater to this is essential.

Employers will need to change the definition of what makes a competent and capable hire outside the realms of college education. Focus on relevant experience and soft skills - such as their ability to be self-directed and self-motivated.

Overall, the Gen Z generation is shaping up to be very different from generations past in the workplace. Employers need to recognise these trends and begin to think about them seriously.

Giving Gen Zers more independence in their roles (and encouraging collaboration when needed), combined with an emphasis on job security and a more inclusive workplace for all genders and ethnicities, will help your business thrive when acquiring key talent as they become more prominent in the workplace.

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