The mystery of Gen Z

For generations, HR professionals have had to deal with a workforce that was seeking predictability. People believed in finding a job and sticking to it. A simple retirement party after a long tenure with a single employer was to die for. However, these beliefs have seen a paradigm shift ever since Gen Z has joined the work force. These youngsters have turned the game around quite a bit and have been giving the HR fraternity a challenge.


Making up 40% of the workforce, Gen Z (also called the iGen) is rapidly occupying the largest proportion of workforce today, overtaking the Millennials. To list a few of their identifying traits:

  • The youngest Gen Zers are merely 8 while the oldest are 24
  • They are quickly becoming the most educated generation in history
  • 65% of Gen Zers believe that salary is the most important determinant in taking career decisions. More than 50% of them are willing to work night shifts and weekends to earn more
  • They are referred to as the job hoppers by the industry

Research finds that Gen Z employees have a median job tenure that’s two-thirds shorter than older generations. These professionals tend to know their worth and switch fields without skipping a beat. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (US), the median tenure of workers aged 55 to 64 is 10.1 years, while the median tenure of workers ages 25 to 34 is 2.8 years.


Millennials Gen Z
Prefer collaborative working environments and seating arrangements. Prefer personal working spaces
Optimistic due to encouraging Boomer parents who grew up in a time of opportunity and prosperity Realistic due to growing up during a recession with skeptical parents.
Digital pioneers, witnessed the rise of social media, internet, and instant messaging. Born into the digital age and are 24/7 connectivity.
Notorious job hoppers and have little patience for stagnation in their careers. Interested in role hopping and learning different tasks or taking on projects outside of their designated job role.
Concerned with progress Concerned with innovation, flexibility, variety in role, education


Gen Z has been a generation wrapped by economic instability on both ends. They began their teenage in the 2008 global crisis and entered adulthood with the 2020 global Covid-19 crisis. Their priorities are a mix of both conventional, yet unique points. These include the following:

  1. Health insurance
  2. Competitive salaries
  3. A boss they like and respect
  4. Professional development
  5. Maternity and paternity leaves
  6. Flexibility to switch role
  7. Work-life balance (Over 40% of the iGen consider it to be a top priority)
  8. Human rights, diversity, ethical alignment with the values of the employer
  9. Flexibility of work hours and location
  10. Culture of the organisation


Gen Z does not only pose the need to change the communication channels of the future but also the approach itself. While millennials were more likely to look for jobs through job search portals, any average Gen Zer would first go to their friends and families for referrals. They tend to rely more on the personal touch.

Since most of them use snapchat and Instagram way more than any other app, they are used to snaps and stories that disappear after viewing. Their endless scrolling has made them immune to ads and shortened their attention span drastically. If the information you’re providing cannot be absorbed in seconds, it is not engaging enough. Gone are the days when candidates would try to know more about the company through LinkedIn. Today, YouTube and Quora are much more reliable sources of information. They have a greater trust on testimonials and interactive information. Again, reiterating the point of greater reliance of a personal touch.


As mentioned earlier, Gen Zers value a personal touch and require feedback much more frequently than their predecessors. Almost 60% of them want feedbacks more frequently and 40% out of them want it to be on a daily basis. Companies need to establish channels that would make this possible over online communication since a 2-hour meeting with every employee every week is not possible. Social media is going to be a major disruptor of productivity in the workplace and controlling wearable technology too will pose a challenge. Also, Gen Z desire to give as little time to the whole application process as possible.

Companies will need to adjust and adapt to that. The Gen Z wants their employers to value their skill and time more and treat them accordingly.


So, what are some specific steps needed for better HR planning? Well, for starters:

  • Since Gen Z is known for job hopping, always keep a talent community in the pipeline and be ready to recruit on short notice.
  • Shorten the application and on-boarding process (More than 60% of Gen Zers say the ideal job application is one that takes less than 15 minutes to complete).
  • Make communications more personalised, direct and precise.
  • Come up with innovative employee engagement and retention strategies.
  • Create clear career progression routes for employees and communicate it from time to time.
  • Broaden and deepen the performance feedback systems.
  • Give more monetary than materialistic perks
  • Offer more flexibility in every aspect of the job
  • Provide genuine mental health support
  • Embrace social media and understand the need of a work-life balance

While all this may sound overwhelming, it’s not in fact that difficult to manage the Gen Z. As long as the employer treats the prospective candidates and employees with respect, it is easy flowing. Yes, with shorter attention spans, companies need to enhance their communication techniques, but that is anyway needed for consumers. If anything, Gen Z is training corporates for the challenges of a dynamic consumer market.