What is Gen Z?

Gen Z is short for “Generation Z,” the generation born between 1995 and 2012. Currently constituting 27 percent of the United States population, Gen Z is the largest generation in US history. They are also the most racially and ethnically diverse of all of the generation groups.

What defines Gen Z?

They are known for growing up with the internet, being very active on social media, and being open-minded, accepting, and politically knowledgeable and active. The oldest members of Gen Z are in their late 20s, meaning a sizeable fraction of Gen Z contributes to the workforce and is eligible to vote.

Why should HR leaders care about Gen Z?

Gen Z is the upcoming generation of new workforce members, and they’re already influencing and transforming the work world as we know it. Generation Z in the workplace is known for several important qualities, including:

  • Valuing salary less than other generations
  • Caring about diversity
  • Desiring personalization
  • Being good multi-taskers 
  • Preferring individual tasks to teamwork
  • Choosing companies based on ethics, impact, and practices
  • Valuing financial stability
  • Seeking out independent learning opportunities

What can HR leaders do to attract and retain Gen Z?

Preparing for and serving a new generation entering the workforce goes beyond simply understanding who Gen Z is. In order to attract and retain members of this upcoming generation, HR leaders would do well to focus on the following.

  • Highlight your ethics, values, and actions. Gen Z wants to work with companies committed to making a positive difference in the world. To truly stand out as an appealing employer, go beyond just claiming a value and forefront the actions you’re taking to make a difference. 
  • Prioritize diversity. In your employee marketing materials–and throughout the ranks of your organization–represent the full spectrum of people across gender, race, education, and sexual orientation to attract the most diverse generation the US has seen yet.
  • Offer educational opportunities. A Gen Z-friendly benefits package gives people ample opportunity for learning and development and will help retain and attract top talent.
  • Personalize. Gen Z wants companies to see them as more than just cookie-cutter job candidates to fulfill a job description. Personalize as often as you can to allow Gen Z to use and develop their skill set rather than having to declare a single specialization. To attract and retain Gen Z, companies can prioritize flexible career paths and work formats over traditional hierarchy.

Why should Gen Z be a part of the modern HR strategy?

The fact that Gen Z is entering the workforce is inarguable. To make the most of their skills and strengths, HR professionals and companies should consider the question: “What does Gen Z mean to our organization, and how can we benefit from employing them?” Understanding this generation will be a meaningful step toward successfully integrating them into your company.