Hiring Gen Z: How A Global Pandemic Will Affect This Generation’s Job Search

In coming years, employers will be forced to re-examine the recruiting tactics they’ve been relying on for decades, as Generation Z (ages 12-24 or born roughly between 1997 and 2012) begin to enter the workforce. Gen Z has experienced a much more volatile world than the one in which their predecessors came of age, and now they are attempting to build a career amidst a still-raging, deadly coronavirus crisis – the world’s first global pandemic in over a hundred years.

So how have those experiences shifted their thinking about the world of work? When it comes to looking for a job Gen Z-ers have very different values, preferences, and priorities than previous generations. Where members of the Greatest Generation looked for steadiness, Baby Boomers looked for wealth-building opportunities. Where members of Generation X valued work-life balance, many Millennials looked for jobs that would provide unique life experiences. Enter Gen Z.

So what is most important to this next wave of job searchers entering the workforce, and how can you compete to attract the best of them? Here’s a list of the top four characteristics that Gen Z-ers are looking for in a future employer:

1. Stability & Security

In contrast to many Millennials, whose desire for unique experiences led to a generation-wide reputation for job-hopping, Gen Z-ers plan on sticking with an employer for more extended periods. In fact, one study found that nearly half of new graduates name security and stability in their job as a top career goal. This contrasts sharply with compensation and work-life balance concerns of new job seekers just half a decade ago.

And who can blame them? As younger children, many watched their parents and older siblings experience one financial setback after another while struggling through The Great Recession, then record-high unemployment rates in 2020.

2. Diverse, Equitable & Inclusive

Gen Z views employer values as almost as important as salary when it comes to a potential position, including diversity.

According to Intel, diversity “will be a workplace deal-breaker for Gen Z.” Over ⅓ of Gen Z-ers say if given two similar offers, they would undoubtedly choose the company they perceived as more diverse and inclusive. And over half (56%) said they would be hesitant to accept a job from an organisation that does not have any underrepresented minorities in senior leadership roles.

3. Digital-first

Gen Z is the first generation to be considered as “digital natives.” They grew up on the internet and social media and blend the digital and physical worlds as no generation has before. In fact, 58% say they find it difficult to go four hours or more without access to the web.

As a result, Gen Z-ers now expect more and more advanced uses of technology from the organisations they build relationships with: especially their employer. Those that will succeed will master digital experiences.

4. Flexible About When & Where Work Gets Done

At the end of 2019, 51% of graduates rated geographic location as a “very important” part of their job search; today, that number has dropped to 39%. Even before the start of the pandemic, many planned to embrace remote work regardless of where they lived. With so many Gen Z-ers treating geography as more or less irrelevant in regard to their employment, shouldn’t employers do the same?

The hiring experience has shifted with remote hiring now commonplace, and it’s well-understood by both employers, employees and future candidates that the job market we knew at the start of 2020 no longer exists. Employers that are serious about finding the best way forward need not only to invest in their candidate experience but also get to know the candidates of the future.

To learn more about how HireVue can help you engage with graduates job seekers in 2021, click the link below.


HireVue is where hiring happens – transforming the way organisations discover, engage, and hire the best talent. Connecting companies and candidates anytime, anywhere, HireVue’s industry leading end-to-end hiring platform features video interviewing, assessments and conversational AI. HireVue has hosted more than 20 million video interviews and 143M chat-based candidate engagements for over 700 pioneering customers around the globe.


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