Just when those of us in the staffing industry think we’ve mastered the nuances of recruiting Millennials, here comes Generation Z! Gen Z – born just after Millennials between 1996 and 2010 – is massive with roughly 70 million members. Make no mistake about it, they are a force to be reckoned with now that they are beginning to enter the workforce.
From the perspective of staffing firms, MSPs and their clients, winning the fierce competition for this entrepreneurial-minded crop of workers won’t be easy. For instance, less than a quarter of last year’s graduates preferred to work for a large company according to Accenture’s 2017 edition of “Gen Z Rising.” Even worse, Gen Z-ers have stated that companies in traditional industries such as utilities, manufacturing or agriculture “are not on their radar.”
With Baby Boomers retiring at a fast clip, employers of all types and sizes simply cannot afford to miss out on the next generation of talent. Here are some ways that staffing firms, MSP program managers and their clients can work together to compete for the services of Gen Z (and Millennials, too).
Develop the Next Generation Workforce
Forward-thinking staffing firms are getting on the radar of next generation workers as early as possible. These savvy players understand that students who are exposed to a specific industry and related skillsets – such as science, technology, engineering and math – are more likely to develop an interest in those career fields. What’s more, studies show that early recruitment-related activities positively impact the application decisions of new labor-market entrants.
For example, Qualcomm is working side by side with us and other community partners to help prepare students for a variety of high-paying technical careers. Students’ exposure to stimulating engineering projects at Thinkabit Labs is not only educational, it helps them figure out their strengths and future job interests.
Supporting local chapters and members of industry associations and education-industry partnerships is yet another way to expose young minds to sectors and career paths they might not have considered. Staffing firms can play an active role in developing new talent pools by sharing best practices for workforce development or by providing training and contract-to-hire solutions for the industries they serve.
Expanding students’ horizons through hands-on experience and learning promotes career readiness, closes skill gaps, generates awareness and builds future talent pipelines by preparing young people for meaningful careers in a variety of industries.
Plus, unless businesses continually reinvest in the local community, rising stars will be tempted to leave the area or join flashy companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon that satisfy their desire for interesting and challenging work or advancement. In fact, 82 percent of Gen Z-ers are willing to relocate for a job that offers the right fit. Over time, local staffing firms and their clients may be forced to offer relocation assistance or travel per diem allowances just to attract candidates with in-demand skills for direct hire or contract positons.
Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
A strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is one of the most effective tools for recruiting and retaining Millennials and members of Generation Z. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Millennials in a recent survey said they strongly consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when considering where to work and many won’t even take a job if a company doesn’t have a strong CSR program. Similarly, 97 percent of Gen Z-ers say they value CSR and companies that are good employers.
Uniting staffing firms, program managers, clients, employees and contractors in joint activities for charities such as Habitat for Humanity or Engineers Without Borders not only boosts morale and generates goodwill, it fosters cross-promotional opportunities. Case in point, staffing recruiters, line managers and peer interviewers can entice younger candidates by highlighting upcoming initiatives and opportunities to make an impact in the community or even the world. Everyone across the supply chain who is responsible for procuring talent must understand the importance of CSR as a recruitment tool and be ready to spread the word during outreach activities, phone screens and interviews.
Offer Interesting Projects and Flexibility
There’s good news for companies that rely on the flexibility and talents of contingent workers: Gen Z is known as the “side hustle generation.” Many have been selling products and services on the Internet or building apps and websites on the side from a very early age and both Millennials and Gen Z are very open to freelancing. Moreover, numerous studies suggest that Generation Z is motivated by more than salary alone – they want constant skill development and the opportunity to multitask.
Therefore, offering interesting stretch assignments can help staffing firms and their clients compete for the services of these hard-working, independent-minded professionals. Also, providing flexibility in terms of roles, side gigs and working models – including the ability to work on projects that cross organizational boundaries – will appeal to the entrepreneurial spirits of younger workers.
With the right acquisition strategy in place and a slate of challenging projects on hand, staffing firms, program managers and their clients are assured of benefitting from the arrival of the 21st century workforce. So, what comes after Generation Z?
Tim De Potter