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Here’s what Gen Z is looking for at work

Economic security is a top concern, a new report finds.
By: | October 4, 2019 • 2 min read

Many employers are striving to meet the changing needs of the youngest entrants to today’s workforce with innovative benefits, flexible scheduling, tuition reimbursement and more—but is that what Generation Z wants? A new comprehensive global study from Universum shed some light on just what Gen Z wants in an employer, providing a potential pathway for organizations looking to attract and retain today’s top young talent.

The annual Most Attractive Employers research, released Oct. 4, surveyed nearly 250,000 business and engineering students in 12 global economies to explore what companies, industries and employer attributes are hottest right now. On the last front, a majority of respondents (53%) were classified as security seekers—driven, perhaps, by economic insecurity toward employers with name recognition and stability—while 35% are eager to innovate through today’s disruptive workplace challenges.

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Google—the top-rated employer by respondents for the 10th year in a row—is a perfect example of that divide.

“Continually evolving, Google appeals to Gen Z’s bifurcation,” says Universum CEO Mats Röjdmark. “As an employer, it’s dynamic and innovative, as well as large, successful and secure.”

Google took the top spot as voted by both business and engineering students. The rest of the business top five were: EY, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Apple. Business students said high future earnings would be the most attractive attribute of an employer, followed by training opportunities and employment security. This group of students additionally reported goals that included work/life balance, job security and future leadership.

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Those goals were similar for engineering students, who also were focused on feeling like they were serving a greater good. Earning potential was similarly the top driver for them, but engineering respondents also cited an employer’s potential for innovation as another highly attractive attribute. After Google, their top employers were Microsoft, Apple, BMW Group and IBM.

Other findings include jumps in the e-commerce and auto industries, declines in international work and an emphasis on in-person career fairs rather than online job boards for engineering students.

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Being attuned to these trends can help employers effectively recruit younger workers, while policies and overall culture should be tailored with an eye toward what it will take to retain them, says Universum Director of Global Employer Branding Stefan Müller-Nedebock.

“Today’s students enter the workforce with a keen understanding of what they want from their career, actively following the brands and companies they find attractive,” he says. Knowing this, employers can develop and implement content and communications that speak directly to potential candidates, building strong working relationships as these students enter the job market.”

 

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected]

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