How to Recruit & Retain Gen Z - Glassdoor for Employers

How to Recruit & Retain Gen Z

It seems like moments ago when every talent acquisition pro was fine-tuning their strategies for attracting millennials. However, Gen Z has begun to hit the job market and given the historically low unemployment, recruiters need to adapt and uplevel their approach to the new kids on the block.

Using Glassdoor data, our Economic Research Team uncovered insights on Gen Z workers in the U.S. leveraging job application data and company reviews.  And for a quick refresher, members of Gen Z were born between 1997 and 2012. While the majority of Gen Z has not yet entered the labor force, we looked at those born between 1997 and 2000 to uncover insights about this new generation of workers.  

Here's what we found:

  • Gen Zers are aspiring to work in tech - the majority of job applications from Gen Zers were for companies in the tech industry, followed by business services, finance and retail. IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Deloitte are the top five companies that Gen Z are applying to on Glassdoor.
  • Across Glassdoor reviews left by Gen Z, "work environment", "flexible hours" and "good pay" are the most common keywords used by Gen Z to describe the pros of working for their employers. "Free food", "company discount" and "easy work" also appear in the top ten most common phrases for Gen Z employees. "
  • Like the generation before them, Gen Z is applying to open jobs in popular metros like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. However, Champaign and Raleigh are two metros that rank among the top ten locations that Gen Zers are applying to but not for millennials.
  • Software engineer is the most in-demand job that Gen Z job seekers are applying to.

So what does this mean for you and your recruiting team? It means that you'll need to double down on your employer brand and invest in recruiting the best Gen Zers in the market. Here are a few ways to get started recruiting this talented bunch.

Get high tech.

New technologies drive Gen Z, so your hiring process needs to keep up, too. From ensuring your ATS is mobile optimized for easy-apply to creating recruiting videos to showcase your fun culture and perks, it's important to keep thinking ahead. A traditional job posting and 30-minute phone screen followed by weeks of interviews won't cut it anymore.

"Gen Z is 100% digitally native, meaning they are the first job seekers to be born during the age of smartphones, self-service online tools and AI-enabled virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa. They've never known a world without the convenience and speed of digital interaction. Much of their time is spent on social media, streaming videos and gaming online," says Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of candidate engagement and interview software, Montage.

"As a result, because so much of their world is instant, digital and seamless, they expect the exact same experience when it comes to job searches and the hiring process. To create the kind of candidate experience that will engage Gen Z and accelerate job offers, explore interviewing technology that gives candidates more choice and control - like automated scheduling, AI-enabled virtual hiring assistants and on-demand interviews - that offers candidates the high touch, high tech experience that they want during their job hunts."

Consider AI-empowered tools like Montage, AllyO, Textio and TextRecruit to uplevel your recruiting and hiring.

Build out social media networks.

Gen Z-ers spend much of their day using social media applications designed to make their lives easier. Promoting your employer brand across social channels, devices and platforms will influence these tech-savvy candidates, raising your awareness and showing them why they should work for you. Create and regularly update company accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Encourage all employees to use social media to share open positions.

Refine your sourcing tactics.

Track which hiring channels are most effective and adjust spending accordingly. Target informed candidates such as those on Glassdoor. Share relevant content - reviews, articles, videos - with candidates at each stage.

"74 percent of Gen Z would rather connect with colleagues face to face than via other formats. But here's the catch: Gen Z doesn't equate face-to-face with in-person," says Heikkinen. "Employers should use mobile-first video interviewing technology with live and on-demand interviewing. This helps recruiters and hiring managers reach and communicate with Gen Z in a manner that they prefer, through technology that's already in their hands nearly 24/7."

Offer more than flashy perks.

While free food, game rooms, pet-friendly offices and company-sponsored vacations may seem like great perks for employers to offer job-seeking Gen Zers, research shows that this audience cares about much more.  "The competition to catch the attention of the newest generation of workers and potential applicants will likely favor employers who can demonstrate - via their job descriptions, interview processes and other online forums -  that they value culture, career opportunities and trust in senior leadership, along with a balance of benefits that appeal to Gen Zers," says Glassdoor Economic Research Analyst, Amanda Stansell. 

Show (and prove) a dedication to diversity.

Include diverse employees in employee stories such as videos, blogs and social media. Engage with women and minority career networks in relevant fields. Address bias in the screening and interview process to give diverse
candidates a fair chance.

When it comes to topics as important as diversity and inclusion, it's not enough to hint at what your company is doing to stay competitive. You need to devote time in each interview to call out your efforts and show prospective candidates you take diversity seriously down to how you hire, who is allowed to contribute and who you promote.

[Related: Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace]

Get smart with content marketing.

Highlight new product developments, philanthropic initiatives, awards and other news in press releases and blog posts. Use videos to showcase employee stories and unique aspects of working at your company.

One example of a successful marketing strategy was Hilton's "Stay Hilton. Go Out" campaign. The hospitality giant reached out to LGBTQ consumers with a hotel discount and accompanied the landing page with examples of Hilton's dedication to LGBTQ members and employees. Hilton also launched a series of videos and articles to proudly showcase members of the LGBTQ community.

Offer inclusive benefits.

Benefits and values are important considerations for candidates when deciding whether or not to work for an organization. 63% of job seekers review an employer's benefits when reading a job ad. However, many businesses may not realize the language or options of their benefit plans are biased towards non-LGBTQ individuals. According to the Human Rights Campaign's deputy director Beck Bailey, the language of benefits can unintentionally exclude LGBTQ people. "Benefits can be written in language that's very gendered and assumes certain things about employees," he says.

Some LGBTQ inclusive benefits strategies to consider include providing healthcare benefits to domestic partners; ensuring the health insurance policy has a definition of "spouse" that includes same-gender spouses; allowing employees to take family and medical leave to care for domestic partners as well as the children of a domestic partner, regardless of biological status; being conscious of the use of gendered language in benefits in order to expand benefits to LGBTQ parents.

"As members of Gen Z continue to join the working population in the next decade, this will only heighten the pressure on companies across diverse industries to compete with their tech counterparts to recruit and hire skilled workers," says Stansell.

So get your teams ready and energized to adapt to the future of recruiting!


Learn More

The Next Generation of Talent: Where Gen Z Wants to Work