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Welcome to the next generation

This year, we have seen a seismic shift in our global workforce - and that’s not even considering the COVID-19 pandemic!

With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, it’s predicted that Millennials will make up 35% of the talent pool, with Gen Z not far behind them at around 24%. As Gen Z start their careers, and Millennials move into management roles, what do employers need to know about attracting and retaining these candidates?


Millennials have been a disruptive force in the workplace from day one. Like Baby Boomers before them, they brought with them somewhat of a revolution, and not everybody liked it. They’re assertive, they have strong views, they know what they want, and they’re willing to move if the job they’re in isn’t giving it to them.

They’re also the first digitally savvy generation. Millennials have grown up with immediate access to almost unlimited information thanks to Google. They probably had a Facebook profile before they had a CV. And with the invention of smartphones, they’ve got used to having everything at their fingertips. Substandard tech won’t cut it for Millennial candidates.

But despite being described as the “me, me, me” generation, Millennials aren’t just in it for the company MacBook. Making a positive impact is important to them. They want to do work that feels meaningful, for a company that has a clear mission. And they value company culture. If they don’t feel like they fit with who you are and what you stand for, you’ll lose them. So investing in, and communicating your company culture is vital for both attracting and retaining Millennials.

The sectors they’re most interested in are IT and technology, business, finance and life sciences. Sectors like healthcare and retail would be wise to find ways to make their offering more attractive to Millennials, who are now dominating the talent pool.

Gen Z

Gen Z share some common ground with Millennials, but there are also some key differences. For example, Gen Z prize individuality and personalisation. They want to work for a company that sees them as unique, and values that. They want to feel like they’re making a personal contribution to the company they work for, and they want to be rewarded for that with financial stability.

But despite their individuality, they don’t see themselves in isolation. Gen Z are social animals; being socially connected is important to them, which you’d expect having grown up with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They’re more likely than any other generation to use social media at work. But it’s not all narcissism. Gen Z have a strong sense of social responsibility, fighting for equality and diversity in both their personal and professional lives.

Like their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z are very tech savvy, but these guys probably don’t remember a time before the internet. Their use of tech is almost innate. They want to work in technologically advanced companies that invest in shiny new gadgets and platforms, like VR and AI. While it’s easy for employers to see these things as a distraction, to Gen Z, they’re as much a part of their everyday life as brushing their teeth, so embracing them is key.

Flexibility is another important factor for Gen Z. They’re affinity for technology means they’re able to work anywhere, at any time they want, but they don’t want tech to replace human connection, rather facilitate it. They prefer to work in an environment that allows for collaboration with their co-workers. That said, they see flexibility as an important way to combat stress, and mental health is high on their agenda. They have a strong prevalence for part time work too. For Gen Z, flexibility works both ways though. They’re more willing to relocate and work outside of office hours for the right job.

The sectors they’re more interested in are food, retail and healthcare. More traditional office-based jobs have a long way to go to getting Gen Z interested, but flexing that EVP, embracing individuality and investing in technology could be a good place to start too.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to today’s workforce; different generations of workers means different approaches to work. It’s up to each and every organisation to create an inclusive recruitment message that engages candidates of all ages.

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One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to today’s workforce.