The Gen Z Graduate: Coming to interviews near you

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You’ve worked the 9-5 with Generation X, you’ve discovered technology with the Millennials (Generation Y), but are you ready for the latest instalment in the talent pool, Generation Z?

Generation Z: what you need to know.

Born in the years between 1995 and 2010, the next influx of graduates are here: Generation Z grew up during the recession and were the first generation to be affected by the raising of university tuition fees in 2012. As a result, the average Gen Z student leaves university in £50,000 worth of debt.

Thanks to a combination of high fees, increased student loan interest rates while studying and maintenance grants being replaced by loans, graduates in England are leaving university with the highest student debts in the developed world. Yes, this includes the US, famed for its high fees, whose average debt on graduation is $36,000 (£28,000).

How to engage your Gen-Z employees

Despite their debt, Generation Z rate opportunities for growth and a good work-life balance above a higher salary when choosing an employer. Therefore, offering a competitive starting salary may not be enough to attract the top Gen Z graduates, however, combining this with specific benefits and perks could greatly enhance your employer brand.

Remember, one size doesn’t fit all. Looking at each generation in turn, it is clear to see that each generation’s priorities and concerns differ greatly. Millennial employees are significantly less financially secure than their parents, having only amassed 50% of the wealth of the Boomers at the same age. They are on the path to being the first generation to earn less than their parents, meaning that benefits such as salary sacrifice on technology and retail discounts still hold a certain amount of sway with Generation Y, and the same is true for the burgeoning workforce that is Gen Z, but these are still some of their lower rated benefits.

Generation Z don’t have their heads completely buried in the sand when it comes to financial worries, however. The urge to escape the reality of student debt is strong but growing up during a recession and seeing first-hand the struggles that their parents faced, today’s young people are more financially mature and diligent than might be expected. Despite this, they may not see the value of long term investments that are valued strongly by Generation X; such as pensions, healthcare and life insurance. So why not help younger employees understand the value of a long-term investment in their financial future? We offer a fair value loan benefit for our staff and they can also access resources, webinars and support on all kinds of financial worries and issues.

It is this realism which has given rise to purely financial rewards holding less importance for Gen Z. The knowledge that there’s no certainty with regards to job security, financial security or the ability to buy a house has encouraged them to value personal satisfaction and quality of life more highly than material success. So a focus on mental and emotional wellbeing is key when it comes to Gen Z; happiness is the secret to keeping them engaged.

Communicating for results

It is important that any benefits are communicated in a way that will engage today’s young people. It is an undeniable fact that technology has changed the world of internal communications – staff room posters and company newsletters are dying out. Many employers are using digital communication for promoting employee benefits. However, despite their reputation as ‘digital natives’, 74% of Generation Z said that they actually prefer face to face communication. So why not find a way of combining the two? We see the value of face to face with our clients every day. Through our staff sitting down with our clients’ employees, we help improve their understanding of the benefits offered to them. We have found that Personal Group’s assistance is invaluable for those staff members who were not as technologically savvy. No impersonal mail merged letters – this is about interaction and showing that their employer is invested in their wellbeing and happiness.

Most young people today view email much the same way that Millennials view letter writing, with Gen Z often choosing to go to a brand’s Twitter or Facebook page to make their complaints rather than emailing customer services. They use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, WhatsApp for messaging, and the ephemeral nature of Snapchat allows the control over their digital footprint that this new generation crave. But what do these technologies have in common? They’re all available at the tap of a phone screen. While Facebook was originally primarily a website, accessed through a traditional web browser, recent statistics show that 90% of Facebook’s daily users access the site via a mobile phone. While your candidate and employee experience may be digital, if it isn’t mobile, it may be viewed as antiquated by Gen Z!

With these apps come the ability to utilise push notifications. These short, snappy banners, flashing up on the screen have been shown to boost app engagement by 88%, with 65% of the users returning to the app once a month when they are enabled. This technology can not only keep your staff engaged and updated with regards to their benefits, but with the ability to instantly connect with any number of your employees at the tap of a phone screen, the possibilities are endless.

So, in this ‘there’s an app for that’ era that we live in, make sure that you make the most of the advantages that technology can provide when it comes to engaging your new generation of workers. However, do not underestimate the comfort and security that face-to-face interaction can bring to your stressed-out Generation Z employees.

 

About Hayley Dolby

Hayley Dolby

Hayley is Communications Executive at Personal Group, a technology enabled employee services business which works with employers to drive productivity though better employee engagement and a more motivated workforce. With over 30 years’ experience, the Company provides employee benefits, serving 550 businesses, reaching over 2 million employees across the UK.

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