What Marketers Need to Know About the Gen Z Workforce

By 1stFive Archives
Cover image for  article: What Marketers Need to Know About the Gen Z Workforce

For years, Millennials have captured the attention of marketers and media alike.  From being labeled as "entitled" members of the workforce to being scrutinized for their spending habits, they couldn't seem to catch a break.  However, Millennials can finally breathe a sigh of relief as a new generation has stepped into the spotlight.  Generation Z -- anyone born between 1997-2010 -- has a population of 61 million strong in the U.S. and by 2020 will represent 40% of all consumers.  With an estimated spending power of up to $129 billion, Gen Z has been the focus of consumer reports for some time now, with marketers anxious to learn how Gen Z shops, what they care about and how to reach them.  What Gen Z wants in the workplace, though, is a relatively new focus.  A report from RippleMatch, an automated recruiting assistant for early career hiring, sheds some light on this specific facet of the Gen Z identity.  Through surveying tens of thousands of college students, RippleMatch found out what this generation actually wants at work.  (The full report is available for download at the end of this article.)

Here are highlights from the report:

Gen Z Isn't Impressed by Company Prestige

When ranking the importance of things like professional development, compensation, work-life balance and company prestige, Gen Z ranked a company's prestigious reputation as the least important thing when it comes to choosing a job.  It's an unsurprising preference when coupled with the fact that Gen Z consumers are skeptical of big-name brands, preferring to do their own research and decide if they like what a company has to offer.  The same holds true for their career preferences.  To keep Gen Z talent on your team, companies need to offer more than a great name on a resume.

Opportunities for Professional Development will Make a Job Offer Stand Out

While a well-known name won't help a company stand out to Gen Z, robust professional development programs will.  Out of all the things a workplace could offer, professional development was the most important, followed by upward mobility.  This ambitious generation wants to progress in their careers and be well-prepared to do so through mentoring and skill-building opportunities.

Social Impact Is Important, But to Some More than Others

You've likely heard that Generation Z is considered to be extremely socially conscious, and it's true.  A Gen Z survey by Trendera found that nearly 70% of Gen Z holds progressive viewpoints, and a survey by DoSomething Strategic found that 76% of Gen Z said they have purchased or would consider purchasing from a brand to show support for the issues that the company supported.

However, social issues and their importance vary across gender, race and ethnicity.  RippleMatch data found that the importance of a company's social impact depends on what Gen Z segment you looked at.  Gen Z women, for example, value a company's social impact more than young men do, and black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students value a company's social impact higher than white students do, especially young white men.  The variations across race, ethnicity and gender are mirrored in other Gen Z reports, including a study produced byMTV and the Public Religion Research Institute.  That study found that Gen Z women tend to be more politically and civically active than Gen Z men, and black young people cared the most about issues such as gender equality, race relations and income inequality, followed by Hispanic young people and then by white young people, who cared the least.

While Gen Z is largely a progressive demographic, it can be helpful to understand the differences that span Gen Z segments, especially when it comes to marketing a company based on their social values and initiatives.

Generation Z has stepped into the spotlight and they're here to stay. As they begin their careers, their influence as consumers will only continue to grow as their incomes do.  Whether they're going to be your coworkers or customers, understanding the holistic Gen Z persona is essential.

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