We're delighted to present a guest blog post from Youth Marketing Strategy partner MSLGROUP. Read on for insights into Generation Z:
Whilst Millennials and Generation Y have dominated the consumer and employer brand conversation for the last 10 years, 2016 will see the first wave of Generation Z (loosely defined as those born between 1995 and 2001) entering the workplace as graduates. In reality, workplaces across the globe are already home to the latest generation who left school at 18 to pursue their career via apprenticeships, school-leaver programmes and other vocational alternatives to higher education. We see the advent of Generation Z having three clear impacts on the world of work.
University will no longer be a given
School-leaver and apprenticeship programmes are increasing in popularity and number. Whilst apprenticeships have long been valued in technical environments, even those that were once the preserve of university graduates, such as professional services, are investing heavily in understanding this audience and providing different entry points to similar career paths. Where there might once have been stigma associated with a job straight out of school, now there is recognition that, for many, the appeal of a vocational route, instant earning potential and a clear first step on the career ladder is right for even the most ambitious. University fees and the debate around the varied quality of degree courses is certainly playing a part in decision-making, but the quality of school-leaver programmes means that it has become an equally attractive route for many.
This means one of the biggest changes to impact employers will be when and where they start to engage Generation Z, as university is no longer the only path to high quality employment. Services such as Plotr are facilitating this conversation and employers like EY have prioritised their school-leaver programme - and they are not alone. Something that many employers are dealing with for the first time is the pastoral element of having young people in their workplace, away from home for the first time. Line managers need training so they can coach and support their younger team members and HR teams must recognise the different needs of this group.
Technology-dependency will change how organisations engage with employees
Generation Z’s dependency on technology will impact both the infrastructure of the workplace and the attraction strategies required to recruit this audience. Employers will need to embrace the demand for content to be consumed on the go with more bite-size communications developed for mobile devices. They will need to adopt new social channels in recognition of this generation’s comfort with social media and to increase advocacy.
More importantly, perhaps, is how this dependency will speed up an organisation’s need to implement Enterprise Social Network (ESN) solutions and other tools and processes to encourage digital collaboration (see MSLGROUP’s report on optimising digital collaboration for more detail on this subject). This will allow companies to really make use of Generation Z’s digital capabilities. And with a cohort who are used to finding what they need online quickly, companies will need to address both the simplicity and speed of their ESN’s as well as maintaining quality and relevance of content.
Purpose will be top of the check-list
Early demographic research shows this generation is culturally and socially aware. Whilst this isn’t unique to their peer group, it makes sense that a demographic which has grown up in an environment of uncertainty and negativity covering property, the economy, the environment and political affairs is more engaged and active when it comes to driving wider social and cultural change. Like Millennials before them, this generation want to work for organisations that offer a chance to have a tangible impact, either through the intrinsic work the organisation does or through its ethos - manifested through everything from supply chain to CSR to culture. Companies who can communicate this position and purpose clearly and provide an opportunity for Gen Z to directly participate in it whilst at school or university, will have a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting the best of this generation’s talent.
Image by iStock
To find out more about MSLGROUP, head over to the MSL website.
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