Attracting new talent: what does Gen-Z look for?

by Thom van Wijk
ScaleHub Blog Gen-Z

All is fair in love and the war for talent. So it seems, when you look at modern-day recruitment and headhunting. It should be no surprise: without attracting talent, there’s no way to grow a business and stay ahead of competitors, especially if you want to go from small to big business.

As we’re in the office market with ScaleHub, we know that our product can play a central role in attracting and retaining talent for our tenants; new talent is just one of the factors for growth, but it’s an important one. 

When it comes to serving the needs of our customers, it’s much more important for us to understand them – our “users” – than to know all there is to know about real estate. And to know our customers, is to know that they are in the war for talent. Even if they aren’t that much aware.

Finding talent versus attracting talent

When we talk and read about the war for talent, the focus has mostly been on Millennials. But Gen-Z (short for Generation Z) is coming, and it’s time to get ready for them. And even though they show a lot of similarities with the previous generation of Millennials, the same laws of attraction don’t apply.

To refresh your memory: Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995, age between 26 and 41 in 2021. Gen-Z was born between 1996 and 2015, age between 6 and 25 years old in 2021.  Millennials are tech savvy, Gen-Z are natives – they don’t know a world without smartphones. Millennials are seen as idealistic, Gen-Z as more realistic and pragmatic. Both generations find flexibility important but Millennials prefer flexibility over security. With Gen-Z it’s the other way around. 

But why is it even important to understand these generations, when you could just hire recruiters and headhunters to find them? Well, it’s not only about finding talent. It’s about attracting talent. And then keeping them. So it may be helpful to have a bit of understanding.

Offices opening back up full-time: How will we deal with it?

The war for talent

In context of the war for talent, it may seem strange that Gen-Z concerns an age group of which half isn’t even allowed to work yet – or has just entered the job market. But when we look at how to create work environments, we have to understand what type of workforce we will be serving. We have to create work conditions that serve and attract future generations too. 

When we look at how to shape our offices at ScaleHub, we find it useful to keep in mind some “workable” characteristics of Gen-Z, as we try to understand our working community – lots of Millennials (like us) but of course a growing number of Gen-Z members too. We have tried to outline the most important need-to-knows in a short and simple summary that may be helpful, trying to access the Gen-Z talent pool.

6 can’t-go-wrong insights into Gen-Z

A short and simple summary that may be helpful trying to access the Gen-Z talent pool. What you need to know:

Offer flexibility and freedom

A healthy work-life balance is a priority. Don’t expect them to do the 9-to-5 but give them options on how, where and when to work. 

Offer security

Gen-Z doesn’t like risks, so offer security, stability and opportunities for growth. This generation is much more consumed with being able to pay off their student loans and saving for retirement than being allowed to play table football at the office. Show them how they can grow at your company and provide health coverage and paid time off.

Recognize hard work

Gen-Z likes a little competition. Money is important. They are willing to work hard to be promoted and are dedicated to improve their performance with (constant) feedback. 

Emphasize commitment to diversity and inclusion

Gen-Z is deeply invested in diversity and inclusivity and cares a lot about working for diverse companies. Being genuine in your efforts is essential; be open and honest about where you need to improve just as much as highlighting what you’re doing right.

Be purpose driven

Gen-Z’s won’t work for companies involved in scandals; their work needs to have a positive impact on society. Authenticity and sustainability are big drivers for them and honesty and integrity are important. Be real. 

Upgrade your online presence

Gen-Z’s are digital natives: they’re very comfortable doing research and connecting with others online and are used to finding all the answers on the internet without much of your help. Your online presence and work environment matters to them. Also what online reviews and feedback they can find about your company.

You can’t and don’t have to know everything about Gen-Z to be a good employer, but the more you know about and understand them, the better off your company will be too.

Blog: Offices opening back up full-time: How will we deal with it?

What will have changed after the pandemic

Even though Gen-Z is all about modern technology, they still prefer face-to-face interactions with colleagues. And although remote working has quickly become a basic pillar for many trying to balance work-life, this doesn’t yet apply much to Gen-Z. But, flexibility does play a vital role and may be an important part in the attraction (and retention) of the best employees. And Gen-Z’s are backed by the Millennials, currently putting up a fight if being commanded to go back to working from the office full-time again.

They don’t call it a war for nothing. May the best win.

Want to know more about how to deal with returning to the office post-pandemic? We wrote a piece about it.