With the pandemic an almost distant memory, the wider economic and political events of recent months are now taking their toll on young job seekers. The end of 2022 gave us a glimmer of hope that confidence was returning to our Gen Z audience, but feelings of anxiety and nervousness have dashed this.
A recent report highlighted that 41% of females were experiencing these feelings compared to 27% of males. However, 32% of the male population is experiencing a lack of confidence compared to 20% of females. So what's going on? Much of this can be attributed to the economy and financial uncertainty, but as the pandemic hugely impacted this group, they likely felt it more.
Feelings of being underprepared and lacking specific skills are now paired with economic uncertainty and finding their place in the world. And whilst many organisations might be scaling back on programmes, or in some cases headcount, there are ways in which they can still help and assist the Gen Z audience with these thoughts and emotions.
Provide support to your talent pools
Here are a few ways to support your talent pools for a ready-made group of prospective candidates without relying on reactive campaigns to get their attention or gain their loyalty.
This remains a key need for our audience. If you can't currently talk about your upcoming programmes, upskilling can help prepare candidates for registration. It helps keep you front of mind and enhances the candidate experience.
- Skills training workshops
This is best done in person as the audience responds well to face-to-face, despite being on their mobile devices most of the time! You can build this out with additional virtual or pre-recorded content available on-demand.
An informal mentor programme can be highly beneficial, even for a set period, so think about how to set one up.
- Industry focussed sessions
Educate your audience on the industry and try targeting new audiences who may not realise there are opportunities for them.
Strengthening your connection
These three principles will guide you to get the best out of your Gen-Z audience, and create a connection based on an honest understanding between you.
- See the individual beyond the grades
Firstly, and most importantly, they need to know that exam results aren't the key driver in their success. Gone are the days when academia counted for everything – the values of employees, businesses and society have shifted, and there's a much bigger focus on the person behind the grades.
We want to know everything that makes the candidate who they are and what they can bring to your organisation as individuals with unique views and ideas. That's not to say exam results don't matter; there's just far more to their story.
- Detail, detail, detail
Give them as much detail as possible about the role. From what their day-to-day will look like to career prospects and available training, the more up-front you can be about the job, the better. It enables students to opt out earlier if the role isn't suitable, leaving you with applicants more suited to the job or programme.
Current figures show a distinct lack of loyalty from Gen-Z, with 44% expecting to move employers multiple times and the average student applying to between two and six programmes to secure employment. However, a focus on career development and investment in their individual growth will help them view us as an employer with longevity and can hopefully help reverse this trend.
- Be honest about the culture
Gen Z wants to know who you are and how they might fit in, so don't pretend to be something you're not, as they'll see straight through you. It doesn't matter if you still need to get the latest technology, your DEI strategy sorted, or you aren't that company that rides scooters around the office. Instead, focus on what you do have, whether flexible or hybrid working, a great learning culture or impressive sustainable practices.
Whatever culture your company adheres to, everyone looks for different things, and it's impossible to please everyone. So be proud of who you are and what you can offer while acknowledging where improvements can be made.
What does all this mean?
Getting under the skin of your audience to uncover their drivers is essential, but more is needed. An authentic campaign requires you to understand your company's identity and find the link that connects you and your Gen-Z audience.