The time has finally arrived. This year, Generation Z is graduating from college and entering the workforce. Perhaps you have already hired a few or you are currently holding interviews. Either way, you may notice that your average candidate age is getting younger. Generation Z brings with them a few key characteristics that distinguish them from previous generations, and some that make them very similar to their Generation X parents.

Who is Generation Z? GenZ was born between 1997 and 2010(ish). They are the first generation to be “mobile natives”. They have never known the pain of not knowing who sang a song or having to wait for the radio to tell them. That knowledge has always been in their pocket.

98% of GenZ own a cell phone. In fact, 80% feel “distressed” when they are separated from it and 40% of GenZ claim they are “addicted” to their phone. All of this leads to interesting questions and concerns about cell phone policies at work. Many companies currently have policies that prohibit cell phone use while working or at the minimum in customer facing areas. Does this mean that 80% of our newest employees will be distressed while working because they are separated from their phone? Perhaps. Does this mean we should adjust our policies to accommodate this new workforce? Let’s consider these questions in a broader context.

Many GenZ-ers grew up during the recession and tech bubble burst. They understand the world can be a challenging place and that jobs require work. In a recent survey of GenZ by Business Insider, 77% of GenZ expressed that they expect to work harder than previous generations. 75% want to hold multiple roles in an organization. Many members of Generation Z are focused on earning and saving money. In fact, when asked, the two biggest post-college goals of GenZ-ers are “find a dream job” and “be financially stable”. So even though they may be “addicted” to their phones, they are probably willing to put them down and get to work. GenZ-ers are more pragmatic than their Millennial counterparts. They are focused more on concrete authenticity than ethereal values.

Recruiting GenZ will be similar to Millennials, in that they are looking for their dream job with room for growth. But for GenZ, that dream job will have more concrete characteristics like a 401k match and good health insurance. You are more likely to attract GenZ with a retirement plan than a ping pong table in the breakroom.

Only time will tell what truly motivates and retains this new generation, but playing to their desires for stability and hard work is certainly a way to start.

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