How to attract ‘digitally native’ talent

Organisations need to better understand what Generation Z candidates want

How to attract ‘digitally native’ talent

Employers who want to capitalise on the influx of Gen Z candidates into the labour market must consider how best to appeal to these individuals and reduce the desire to move elsewhere, according to Lauren Smith, vice president of Gartner’s HR practice.

Her comments come as new research from Gartner shows that an increasing number of young candidates are regretting their career decisions.

Last year, 40% of Gen Z respondents reported that they would not repeat their decision to accept the job offer they had accepted and only 51% said they could see themselves having a long career at their organisation.

Why are these statistics so important?

Candidate regret leads to turnover, low engagement and low productivity; more than one-third of candidates who regret their decision intend to leave their position within 12 months, according to Gartner.

Smith said that to better address this increase in candidate regret — and stem the ensuing issues with underperforming talent and/or high turnover — organisations need to better understand what Generation Z candidates want.

Gen Z candidates (those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) are the first digitally native generation to enter the workforce and understand that innovation and change are a constant.

Moreover, Gen Z workers are keen to leverage various types of development opportunities, from training programs and boot camps to continuing education.

Gartner’s Global Labour Market Survey found that in 2018, 23% of Gen Z candidates listed development opportunities as a top attraction driver, compared with only 17% of their millennial predecessors in 2013.

Apart from development opportunities, Gen Z candidates expect flexibility in their work arrangements. In addition to the ability to work from any location, these workers believe work should accommodate play and play should be incorporated in work.

“With this latest crop of workforce entrants, we are seeing an increased focus on work-life integration and the ability to pursue interests simultaneously both in and out of the workplace,” said Smith.

Compensation is no longer a guaranteed method for keeping the young workforce in seat, according to Gartner.

In 2018, 38% of Generation Z candidates said that they would leave a job because of compensation, compared with 41% of millennials in 2013.

Gen Z candidates also differ from their millennial predecessors on seeking a defined career path.

According to data from Gartner’s Global Labour Market Survey, in 2018, only 25% of Gen Z candidates listed future career opportunities as a top attraction driver when considering a job; in 2014, 34% of millennials felt the same way.

“Given that today’s graduates are focused on learning and developing skills, employers looking to gain a career commitment from their Gen Z employees must ensure they offer these opportunities,” said Smith.

“Our research shows that more than anyone, it’s an employee’s manager who influences the type of development an employee gets on the job.”

In today’s digital age, graduates know they possess unique skill sets that are very much in demand and make up for a lack of experience. Management approaches must adapt to this new reality and shift from an “always-on” approach to a “Connector” manager approach.

This approach means managers foster meaningful connections for their direct reports to and among employees, teams and the organisation to develop an employee’s specific capabilities.

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