Gen Z: How this generation could be your diversity and inclusion saviour

Gen Z is full of diversity-focused digital-savvy candidates. Why then are they finding it so hard to find work?

With COVID-19 leaving thousands being made redundant or on furlough, thousands of more job prospects have also vanished. Casey Welch, CEO and Co-founder of Tallo, however, believes companies will benefit from hiring more Gen Z.

Is Gen Z the generation best equipped for working from home?

There’s no question that they are the digital generation. Growing up with technology means that they already have skills that are critical to successfully working from home. In fact, a recent survey we did found that 86% of Gen Z feel confident that they will be just as productive in a virtual role as they would be in a traditional in-person role.

However, one important thing for employers to keep in mind is that just because Gen Z is confident in their abilities to work remotely, that doesn’t mean that they prefer to work from home. In that same Tallo study, 74% said they would prefer a hybrid work environment with a job that offers both remote and in-person opportunities.

How do they view the gig economy?

Gen Z is not interested in the gig economy: they’d rather play the long game. Young people are craving job stability, which the gig economy lacks. In a recent Tallo survey of nearly 10,000 students, only 6% said they would be very likely to participate in the gig economy after graduation. In the same study, 51% said they expect to stay at their first job for three or more years.

While the gig economy may provide more job flexibility, as the economy continues to be in flux and Gen Z students prepare themselves to enter a tough job market, they’re looking to put down stable workforce roots now more than ever before.

What does the employment market look like for them in 2021?

Despite mass layoffs and shutdowns in certain industries, I remain cautiously optimistic about the 2021 employment market, and so does Gen Z. The September survey I mentioned before showed that 71% believe the job market is strong for students and adults today, and 77% think that the job market will be even better in one year. On top of that, 85% are confident that they will be able to find a job that pays enough money to support themselves after graduating from school.

However, in the future, the workforce may need to apply their skill sets to different types of jobs or explore different career pathways than they previously planned. For example, while certain industries like hospitality and entertainment can’t bring in new employees, others like retail and healthcare are experiencing labour shortages.

Also, employers should be open to hiring talent who have different experiences than what a recruiter may traditionally look for. As long as the candidates are capable of learning and have the desire to, they could end up being star employees, and this is especially true of Gen Z who is still in the early stages of their career and eager to learn or try new things.

How can employers help them navigate the job market?

Employers can help Gen Z navigate this job market by connecting with them earlier. The younger generation and employers both know the importance of developing professional networks. In fact, 81% of Gen Z strongly agrees that it’s important to establish connections with employers even if they don’t have an immediate job opening (jumping up from 59% pre-pandemic).

Getting exposure to various career pathways and workplace environments well before they enter the workforce will help this generation make smarter decisions about finding the right job opportunity. For companies, this will lead to longer employee retention and a more efficient talent pipeline.

Why does Gen Z care so much about diversity and inclusion?

Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet, and they expect that diversity to be reflected in an inclusive work environment. In a recent Tallo survey of over 5,000 high school and college students, 67% say they have witnessed discrimination at work based on someone’s race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and 44% have felt personally discriminated against.

These experiences are personal and contribute significantly to anxiety and fear. Since they spend much of their time at work or with co-workers, diversity and inclusion is always top-of-mind. Gen Z has made it very clear that a lack of diversity in a workplace would deter them from applying or even accepting a job offer.

Should businesses take advantage of their awareness of social justice?

Yes! Companies’ involvement in social justice causes is something that will make them stand out from the crowd when it comes to attracting qualified Gen Z job candidates. More than three-thirds (68%) said that it’s important for their employers to support a cause they care about, so social justice is something that companies should start paying more attention to.

Gen Z prioritises social justice and doing the right thing, and recruiters should clearly present information about their corporate social responsibility plan to attract top candidates. Additionally, we’ve found that race and ethnic identity impacts how members of Gen Z feel about a company’s response to social issues. In a survey of Gen Z students, 67% of Black Gen Z respondents said that a company’s response to social issues was very important, followed by 72% of Hispanic respondents, 68% of Asian respondents and 59% of White respondents.

For companies looking to attract more diverse candidates, showcasing their commitment to social justice issues is critical.
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