September 19, 2016
Spring and summer graduation ceremonies have welcomed another class of college graduates into the working world. But unlike other years, 2016 saw the first graduates from Generation Z walk the stage.
While they share many characteristics with their brothers and sisters from Gen Y (Millennials), this year’s 21-year-olds represent the first wave of recruits from an entirely new generation of young professionals.
If they haven’t already, members of Gen Z will soon show up in your talent pipeline. Here’s what you should know about them:
- They’re a small demographic (for now). If you’re specifically targeting this generation, competition is going to be tough.
- They’re natives of the digital age. They’re incredibly tech savvy, but they also have the shortest attention span (8 seconds).
- They’re confident and assertive. They’re goal-oriented, and not shy when it comes to talking about career paths.
- They’re fact checkers. With information always in arm’s reach, they’re much more knowledgeable about employers.
- They’re interested in job security. After 9/11 and the financial crisis, the idea of building a career in one place appeals to them.
As most members of this generation are still in elementary or high school, Gen Z may be a small blip on your radar now, but with each passing year, more of them will join the workforce. Keep an eye out for changing trends and be careful not to blindly apply what you’ve learned about Millennials to these young recruits.
For tips on talking with candidates from Gen Z, see what Dan Black, head of recruiting for EY (formerly Ernst & Young), learned from his research with EY interns and Gen Z-ers worldwide. And remember, no matter what generation you’re working with, job fit—not age—is always best predictor of success.