talent April 2, 2020

3 stats employers need to know about Gen Z

Over the next few years, the first batch of true digital natives will enter the workforce. Because of their lifelong technical aptitude, they bring skills to the table that have the potential to seriously level-up your work culture. To get to know them, you need to understand them on a personal level. In this blog post, we round up a set of stats to help you.

In the world of engineering and product development, one of the first lessons that we learn is that “you are not your customer.” When we build software, we have a dramatically different worldview than the end-users of our solution. 

As a recruiter or hiring manager, you’re in a very similar position. Your open reqs are the products that you’re looking to sell. Your customers consist of your candidate pipeline. 

So how do you design a job listing in a way that appeals to Gen Z, consisting of the first generation of digital natives who are entering the workforce for the first time? How do you connect with them? How do you build up a recruiting experience that makes them excited about your company?

To help you answer these questions, we’ve compiled 3 stats to help you better understand the mindsets of your potential future teammates.

9 out of 10 believe that companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues.

According to McKinsey, Gen Z cares about environmental issues and social responsibility Given this awareness about Gen Z, one of the most important steps that you can take, as a tech recruiter, is to connect your company’s story to a larger global narrative. How does what they are building contribute to sustainability and social causes? How will new hires make an impact with the code they are shipping?

For inspiration, take a look at Asana’s Company Page on Stack Overflow. The company articulates a clear mission to “help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.” In addition to making this value proposition clear, the company shares stories about specific engineers’ contributions to open source. Narratives like these help applicants understand that their work has the ability to make a real impact.

32% believe that they should receive a promotion within six months.

Gen Z comes to the workforce with ambitious career goals and hungry to get ahead.

For this reason one of the most valuable steps that your company can take is to articulate, clearly, how your culture supports employee development. Asana’s Company Page, for instance, provides detail into the career opportunities that employees are likely to have. This perspective explains exactly how a career path for a new hire has the potential to evolve.

Candidates of all generational cohorts come away with an understanding that their learning and development efforts will be well supported. To effectively recruit them, you’ll want to show them that there’s a pathway to get ahead.

67% of Gen Z will only consider working for a company that has a clear thesis around diversity and inclusion.  

According to research from The Pew Center, Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in the United States, due to the immigration patterns that impacted the Western world right before they were born. Research from Handshake has further pointed out that Gen Z only wants to work for companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion.

For this reason, it’s crucial for companies to have a clear statement around diversity and inclusion — and that’s a good thing. Research has consistently shown that companies that prioritize diversity consistently outperform those that don’t.

There are several steps that your company can take to articulate a clear diversity and inclusion strategy. For inspiration, take a look at Handshake’s Company Page on Stack Overflow.

Handshake, a social network that matches students and recent grads with work opportunities, has published the following:

  • Information about a project that tackled an important diversity and inclusion goal — making the platform more accessible for all students
  • Photos of the office culture behind the scenes, showcasing employees who come from a variety of backgrounds
  • Links to its development team’s profiles on Stack Overflow, so potential candidates can learn more about them

Final Thoughts

Hiring Gen Z is one of the most important strategic moves that your company can make. As the first generation of digital natives, this cohort brings a wealth of technical skills to your organization. They’re capable of adapting to any cultural climate, especially working remotely and bringing new ideas to the table.

For these reasons, recruiters and hiring managers should expect Gen Z talent to be in high demand — to effectively reach and recruit them, you’ll need to win them over. Demonstrating a commitment to the environment, social responsibility, diversity, and career growth will empower your recruiting efforts.

Podcast logo The Stack Overflow Podcast is a weekly conversation about working in software development, learning to code, and the art and culture of computer programming.

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