· News

Employers trying and failing to hire Gen Z

Youth unemployment rates are more than two times the national average

Nearly half of UK managers (45%) indicated that they intend to hire workers aged 25 and under from July to September of this year, a survey by recruitment firm ManpowerGroup has found (11 June).

However, the report also showed that 96% of employers reported challenges engaging workers with less than 10 years in work, including Gen Z and younger Millennials.

Michael Stull, managing director at ManpowerGroup UK, told HR magazine that this was indicative of employers recognising the benefits of a diverse workforce.

They said: "These numbers are broadly indicative of hiring intentions we’re hearing about and seeing, in speaking with clients across multiple sectors.

"Because diverse workforces bring broader perspectives which can improve problem solving, creativity and innovation, an increasing number of UK employers have been actively targeting more inclusive workforces for some time."

However, employers can face challenges due to the demand for flexibility from Gen Z, Stull went on to explain.

Read more: Age stereotypes stunt career progression, study finds

He said: "Younger workers, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, prioritise work/life balance and flexible working more than previous generations, which might present difficulties for companies only offering more rigid work structures.

"Less seasoned workers increasingly want to see evidence of dynamic and inclusive workplace cultures that align with their own values and aspirations, as well as expecting employers to be up to date with the latest technology and tools, like generative AI.

"Plus, it remains a highly competitive job market, requiring employers to offer compelling employee value propositions."

Employers could attract Gen Z by being transparent about their commitment to sustainability, career opportunities, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), suggested Oli Coles, co-founder of Windō, a CSR comparison platform for jobseekers.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: "Young workers want more than just a pay check; they want meaning, growth opportunities and an inclusive culture. 

“Over 80% of young talent looks for company sustainability and DEI data when researching potential employers.

“This means clarity around progress on websites and job ads, and actioning these values in hiring by offering what younger workers want, like flexible working and salary transparency.”

Read more: How to stop generalising generations without ignoring them

Moving towards a skills-based hiring approach would also attract younger workers, Stull commented.

He advised: "Shift to skills-based hiring versus an over-reliance on formal qualifications and assess candidates for learnability.

"If candidates can demonstrate curiosity and desire to learn, they’ll likely be a good fit for a role, across Gen Z and any other age group, for that matter."

Investing in Gen Z skills would prepare organisations for future needs of the workforce, added Coles.

He told HR magazine: “Gen Z will make up 30% of the workplace by 2030. We need to understand their needs. 

“They are the most diverse, purpose-driven generation we’ve ever seen; it's not about fitting them into existing moulds but reshaping the workplace to accommodate their strengths.

“Companies embracing Gen Z not only gain a competitive edge in today's fast-paced market but also lay the groundwork for a sustainable, inclusive future.”

ManpowerGroup surveyed 2,100 employers for its Employment Outlook Survey.