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Who are Generation Z and Why You Need to Know

The first, fully-immersed, technology natives: this tends to be the go-to tagline for Generation Z workers. Born between 1996 - 2010 (according to Career Planner), Generation Z are coming of age around about… now. So it’s high time, as a recruiter, you learn a few things about what makes them tick on the job market.

How do Generation Z differ from previous generations?

First and foremost, to generalise any generation is a risky hiring manoeuvre. Just because studies suggest that Gen Z candidates are better multitaskers than Millennials, doesn’t mean that it’s a truth across the board. So our disclaimer here is: the following advice is based on findings from large studies - but exceptions can always occur.

There. That’s our backs covered, let’s get on with it.

Generation Z are perceived as being more entrepreneurial than any previous generation. The reasons for this can be down to multiple things - such as access to advanced technology, right through to the ability to connect with people on a global scale. Opportunities to be your own boss have never been so accessible, but what does this mean for the recruiter?

Well it means that the Gen Z candidate needs to be kept happy through means other than money. Lifestyle is just as important as salary to them, so offering plenty of perks - from remote working to flexitime - can make the difference in making a successful hire.

Hiring a graduate (the oldest Gen Z candidates are around 21 years old now) can bring with it advantages and disadvantages, depending on the role and company. Let’s take a look at what these can be …

The strengths of Generation Z candidates

  • Multitasking

Generation Z were born into the brave new world of technology, and it really has shaped the way they operate on a daily basis. They can type quicker than they can write, tweet quicker than they can speak, and like a status quicker than applaud.

The digital landscape means that they are adept at completing multiple tasks at once, making them efficient all-rounders when it comes to the workplace.

  • Technological competency

Similar to the point above, Gen Z candidates have a higher technological competency than Millennials. Their ability to understand and operate a variety of software and devices makes them appealing to many companies. They have innate skills in problem-solving tech issues, using initiative rather than 300 page manuals, and this approach can lead to revolutionary new ideas.

  • Individuality

92% of Generation Z have a digital footprint. The likes of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat all facilitate a desire to be individual. This portrayal of uniqueness is an inherent feature of Gen Z candidates, which is a big advantage in many industries - most notably within the creative sectors.

Personal brands are becoming a huge driving force behind many companies, with their staff proving to be ever more influential to the consumer. This is where individuality can come into its own.

The weaknesses of Generation Z candidates

  • Concentration levels

Technology is a gift and a curse. As a direct result of interference from technology, Gen Z candidates tend to have lower concentration levels than Millennials. The distractions of multiple social media platforms, cool websites, YouTube and ‘oooo cat memes!’ make their ability to focus on a single task very difficult. And while they can multitask as a result, it can also compromise on the quality of their output.

  • Low company loyalty

25% of Generation Z candidates believe they should stay in any one job for a year or less. They like to move around a lot, which can be a difficult thing to manage for employers. Their views on job hopping are fuelled by recent revelations that you can significantly boost your salary by doing so, along with the fact that staying at the same company can potentially hinder your personal development.

Of course this isn’t always true, but Gen Zs are forever itching for change and if your company isn’t offering them opportunities or excitement, then they’ll be out of the door quicker than they can take a selfie.

  • Reliance on tech

Lastly, and rather ironically, being born into a world of tech is actually one of their downfalls. While it’s great that they are future-proof (at least for another few decades), the simple reliance they have on technology is actually a disadvantage. Whether or not we like to admit it, technology makes us lazy. We complain if Google takes longer than 5 seconds to populate 432 million search results. We baulk at the fact our computer dared to complete an update in the middle of a task. In an environment without tech (or limited tech), Gen Z candidates would struggle to thrive.

The internet is their oracle, Wikipedia has replaced encyclopedias, libraries / museums / theatres are struggling to survive - and we think that’s kind of sad, don’t you?

Hopefully this short piece has given you a useful look into the pros and cons of hiring Generation Z candidates. Ultimately they will become a much bigger part of the UK workforce as the years pass, so it’s good to get an idea of maximising their potential, as well as how we can manage their shortfalls through training and foresight.


Jon Clarke - Distinct Digital

Tel: 0330 380 0298 -