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Are Gen Z demands excessive or simply well-articulated?

"Catering to Gen Z’s unique needs and preferences is crucial," says Tiger Recruitment's MD - ©sturti/iStock

A few weeks ago, a study revealed that nearly half of UK managers intend on hiring Gen Z employees over the summer. But almost all managers (96%) reported challenges with engaging them.

For companies to stay competitive, a steady influx of diverse, innovative talent is essential. However, understanding and meeting their distinct work attitudes can be difficult for managers. We spoke to two hiring experts to explore how employers can effectively attract, hire, and retain Gen Z staff: Charlotte Steggall, global employer brand manager – early careers at WTW, and Corey Bainerman, vice president – people and culture at Orangutech.

1. Understand Gen Z’s mindset

To appeal to Gen Z, it’s crucial to understand their unique mindset. As Charlotte Steggall explains: “Gen Z doesn’t have any different needs to other generations, they just vocalise their needs better.” They demand more from their employers, including flexible work arrangements, diverse workforces, and strong corporate social responsibility. This generation isn’t afraid to leave jobs that don’t meet their expectations, with 25% planning to change jobs within the next six months.

Managers must engage in open, clear communication with Gen Z employees about their wants and needs. This generation will constitute 30% of the workforce by 2030, so understanding must translate into action: “Gen Z’s demand for authenticity and transparency is compelling organisations to bridge the gap between what they claim and what they actually do.”

2. Recognise the factors shaping Gen Z’s attitudes

Several factors have shaped Gen Z’s work attitudes:

Millennial burnout: Growing up, Gen Z witnessed millennials’ burnout from the “rise-and-grind” culture, prompting them to prioritise work-life balance and higher salaries over long-term career promises.

Pandemic disruption: The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted alternative ways of working and reinforced the importance of employee wellbeing. This exposure to remote work and flexible schedules has influenced Gen Z’s work preferences.

Entrepreneurial spirit: Gen Z is entrepreneurial, confident, and tech-savvy. They are accustomed to side hustles and online business ventures, which makes them less tolerant of jobs that don’t meet their expectations. Charlotte notes: “They know their own worth and have a strong sense of what they’re able to offer an organisation.”

3. Align company values with Gen Z priorities

Gen Z values inclusivity, accountability, and social responsibility, and they actively seek employers whose values align with theirs. To attract Gen Z talent, companies must update their DEI guidelines and demonstrate genuine commitment to these principles. “Holistic wellbeing, social and environmental activism, and personal fulfilment top their list of values driving workplace engagement,” according to a We Forum article.

Corey Bainerman emphasises the importance of value alignment from leadership: “This is most true of the CEO, as many people will follow their behaviour.” A culture-oriented approach led by top management can resonate deeply with Gen Z. Showcasing company values on the website and throughout the hiring process is essential to attracting this generation.

4. Educate Gen Z on benefits packages

Many Gen Z employees are entering their first jobs and may not fully understand the value of benefits packages. Charlotte advises hiring managers to educate Gen Z about benefits: “Someone leaving education may not know the great benefit of having private healthcare or a dental plan.” Proper education on benefits during the hiring and onboarding process can empower Gen Z employees, building trust and loyalty.

Hybrid working remains a priority for Gen Z, who have largely experienced remote work. A Financial Times survey of Oxford University students found “good work/life balance” to be the most important job attribute. Employers reducing remote work options risk losing Gen Z talent to competitors.

5. Invest in Gen Z’s career development

Gen Z’s loyalty is influenced by perceived investment in their development. Charlotte states: “It’s about the commitment to the employee. When they see investment in, and long-term planning with, themselves they are more likely to think long-term about the employer.” Emotional intelligence in management is critical, as old-school, directive management styles don’t resonate with today’s young workers.

Providing opportunities for personal and professional growth is key. As a LinkedIn article states: “By enabling Gen Z employees to pursue their passions and personal interests within the context of their professional journey, learning and development teams tap into their natural curiosity and foster future leaders.” Developing robust training and leadership programmes with a focus on diversity can help retain Gen Z employees.

Corey stresses the need for transparency in career progression: “Most companies fail to clearly share the requirements to move to a new role and the associated pay changes.” Implementing clear career frameworks can give Gen Z employees control over their career paths and motivate them to stay with the company.


Understanding and catering to Gen Z’s unique needs and preferences is crucial. By aligning company values, educating on benefits, and investing in employee development, organisations can enhance recruitment efforts and foster a more engaged workforce.

Tiger Recruitment is hosting a roundtable with HR leaders in July 2024, centred around attracting and retaining Gen Z. A report with the discussion’s findings will be released in August. Pre-order a copy here.


Rebecca Siciliano is managing director at Tiger Recruitment