Attention employers: going forward, a successful and sustainable workforce development strategy is going to heavily rely on attracting Gen Z workers to your careers.
Why? Because Gen Z has already begun entering the workforce, and will dominate early/new hires for the next decade.
Let’s first understand what makes this generation unique, and then discuss what they look for in a job description, so you can connect with the right Gen Z workers for your company.
Who is Gen Z?
This generation encompasses about 68.6 million individuals (in the US) born from 1996 to 2012, with ages currently spanning from 10 years old to 26 years old.
Gen Z is largely known for:
- Growing up with modern technology and the internet
- Their collective desire to improve the world around them
- Spending their formative years amid the COVID pandemic
With the oldest members of this generation now part of the labor force and the majority at an age where they are planning and preparing for future careers, it’s imperative that employers understand the mindset, priorities, and communication styles of this cohort, and tailor their workforce development strategy accordingly.
So, let’s start with one of the basic building blocks of connecting with these future workers: job descriptions.
Take a look at these 6 tips for writing better job descriptions for Gen Z, based on industry research and insights from student users of Golden Path’s workforce development platform, Compass.
How to Write Better Job Descriptions to Attract Gen Z
1. Keep it skimmable and well-organized
Gen Z are digital natives, meaning they’ve grown up with modern technology, social media, mobile devices, computers, and the internet. This means they’ve become experts at quickly identifying what information (out the endless available content at their fingertips) is worth their time. Making your job descriptions well-organized and skimmable, with the most important information front and center, is key to attracting the attention of Gen Z. Rather than including long-winded paragraphs, consider breaking info into bullet points when possible, or shorter tidbits with clear, bolded headlines. Readers should be able to find the exact info they care about most within seconds of looking at your job description.
2. Highlight your company values, mission, & social responsibility prominently
At least one of the sections included in your job description should center around your company’s mission, values, and social responsibility. In general, Gen Z cares deeply about the ways an organization contributes to their communities, whether that be through environmental sustainability, promoting equity and inclusion, or simply supporting and giving back to their local communities. Whatever it may be for your organization, these prospective workers want to know what your company cares about, why the work it does is important, and the actions it is taking to support its values. In addition, making this clear will help attract the right employees to your organization – ones who identify with your mission and priorities, and that are more likely to fit into your company culture.
3. Share opportunities for mentorship, growth, & advancement
While many associate younger generations with job-hopping and the gig economy, Gen Z is proving them wrong by seeking out more stability in their first jobs (2 out of 3 members of the college class of 2022 say they see themselves having a long-term career with their first employer). And despite growing up in the age of personal relationships being distanced by phone screens, text messages, and social media (or perhaps because of it), they crave 1-on-1 mentorship and feedback in the workplace. They are eager to learn from those with experience to find their way in a new career, and they want to know their organization and direct leaders will help their professional growth. Knowing this, we recommend sharing potential future opportunities for advancement; any professional development or skill-building opportunities offered through your organization; and any other info on how your company supports long-term growth in the role or organization. You may also consider including information, photos, or quotes from the team or mentor to give a potential worker a clearer picture of their support system and community at work.
4. Point out how your organization supports work-life balance
Gen Z knows what they want out of a job, and they’re not afraid to ask for it. One thing they’re clear about wanting is work-life balance, prioritizing mental health and flexibility. That’s not to say that they’re expecting to put in less effort than other generations (keep in mind their perseverance in school and work during the pandemic, and their commitment to long-term professional growth as mentioned above). But given the larger societal focus on mental health, along with the widespread stressful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, they want an employer who is dedicated to supporting them as they contribute to their organization.
According to one study, 92% of graduating students said companies should offer mental health or emotional health benefits. They also said the two most important factors other than salary when considering jobs are flexible work hours (68%) and a flexible work environment (47%). This can mean a variety of things, but considering their comfortability with technology and their experience with remote school and work during the pandemic, more and more are partial to work-from-home or hybrid work environments (60% according to this study). The more you can highlight the way your company supports flexibility and mental health in its benefits and policies, the more likely your job description will resonate with Gen Z.
5. If you can, include transparent information about pay/salary
Gen Z, more than any other generation, cares about pay transparency. They aren’t afraid to talk about pay early on with employers, and even negotiate. Unfortunately, some studies suggest there may be a mismatch between what Gen Z expects for starting salary and what employers are offering, but this can largely be mediated by sharing salary information on your job descriptions. That is because, more than anything, these future workers want to know up front what to expect, and they care about their own financial stability. This is likely influenced by the uncertainty experienced during the COVID pandemic. As mentioned earlier, unlike the Millennial generation, they are less interested in a gig economy, which prioritizes flexibility over stability; Gen Z crave longer-term reliability and potential with their job and salary (while still wanting some level of flexibility). Including pay information on your job description can start your professional relationship off on the right foot with full transparency and shared expectations.
6. Expand the way you think about job descriptions, and start sharing with high-school-age Gen Z
Did you know that, according to one survey, 81% of Gen Z strongly agrees that it is important to establish employer connections even if they don’t have an immediate job opening? With this rising generation of digital natives who are used to algorithms and cookies providing them tailored content, products, and suggestions before they even know what they’re looking for, employers need to get smarter about how and when they’re reaching potential employees.
We at Golden Path believe the key to successful workforce development moving forward will be getting your company in front of future workers early on and in strategic ways. Most existing platforms focus on sharing job descriptions for current openings with working-age applicants. What if you could also:
- Share information about your company and roles with younger students just as they are beginning to plan their educational and career paths?
- Inspire them to pursue a career that you offer, and even more: specifically pursue that role at YOUR company?
- Have your company and careers matched to the students they would be perfect for based on that student’s skills, personality, classes, and interests?
Small Steps Make a Big Difference
We recognize it can be daunting trying to adapt your business and workforce development methods to fit with a new generation, but incremental change can go a long way. Small steps in the right direction, along with sharing the information that matters most, can show this cohort that you value their perspectives and are excited to welcome them to your teams. We know that Gen Z is excited about their future careers, and they’re eager to do what it takes to find the right role at the right company for them.
As written by Forbes:
“The speed with which this generation has pivoted is a positive COVID-era takeaway for employers, especially in skills-gap industries like manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, transportation and others. ‘Industries that have been struggling to attract qualified talent should take note: the future workforce is willing, adaptable and nimble to find a job that is the right fit for them,’ says [Thomas Welch, Tallo CEO and co-founder].”
We hope you’ll utilize these tips help you build your best workforce development strategy and find your best employees!