A guide to attracting Gen-Z to your agency (and retaining them…)
A guide to attracting Gen-Z to your agency (and retaining them…)

Published by gabriele


A guide to attracting Gen-Z to your agency (and retaining them…)

Generation Z loosely includes anyone born between 1997-2012. They are the under-25s who grew up – smartphone in hand – into a world with more diversity, more choice, and more access to information than any generation before them.

If you want to attract and retain the highest quality employees from this unique cohort, understanding their needs and desires is the first step to success.

Meet the Gen-Z Workforce

Firstly, let’s get to know these tenacious young professionals.

McKinsey have labelled Gen-Z “True Gen” as their core behaviours are all anchored in one element: the search for truth. These behaviours influence how Gen-Z consume, communicate and their relationship with the work environment. They view work as access rather than possession, as an expression of individual identity, and as a matter of ethical concern. To them, a career is an extension of their identities and lifestyle habits. An intentional choice, that they hone (very) well on and offline.

The eldest are leaving education and already making changes to the way we hire and recruit.

We mustn’t forget that Gen-Z are the first true digital natives. They understand and interact with technology in ways preceding age groups cannot and have values and expectations others don’t.

Why get them on your team?

Their hunger and curiosity can shoot energy bolts through a creative environment.

Bringing together a diverse range of ages and experience levels gives your agency footholds within all demographics – and a great edge. Junior employees help to keep ideas fresh and new perspectives brewing.

Gen-Z’s unique motivations and sense of self are redefining how, where and even why we work.

By the year 2030, the number of Gen Z employees is expected to triple. They’re the juniors now, but soon they will make up 30 percent of the global workforce and will play a vital role in shaping the workplace for decades to come.

In many ways, Gen-Z aren’t just the next workforce, they’re a new kind of work relationship.

Meeting them on their own terms could mean successfully attracting and retaining the largest generation of workers ever born.

Set out clear career paths

To turn a Gen-Zer’s head, you’ll have to keep them consistently stimulated. Unlike Millennials and Boomers, the idea that ‘a job is for life’ doesn’t wash with Gen-Z. These young professionals are ambitious and audacious enough to leave a job that doesn’t fit them perfectly.

Young professionals are entering the workforce – and then leaving again, quickly.

According to recent studies, 75% of Gen-Z workers plan to leave their current place of employment in the next two years; and 49% plan to leave within one year. They’re finding their feet. Still looking for that organization to help them grow.

To keep younger employees on your team, don’t let them get bored.

Nurture their skills and potential by offering training opportunities to expand their knowledge, and regular tête-à-têtes about their career trajectory. Autonomy is important to Gen-Z, so be prepared to have frank, collaborative dialogue.

Allowing them extra responsibility with initiatives and programmes can also keep them inspired and will speak to their altruistic nature.  Trust them with graduate programmes or organising volunteer days and they’ll unlikely let you down.

Be flexible

We don’t mean bend over backwards; but if you want to win over Gen-Z talent, we do suggest loosening up your work structure.

Generations are shaped by the context in which they emerged

Gen Z are entering the workforce at a tumultuous time. COVID-19, and its subsequent societal changes have shaped the cohort’s first understanding of the work environment. They’ve grown accustomed to organizations being flexible, adaptable, and responsive; and now, they’re hesitant to join any agency that remain rigid with their policies.

Hybrid work is the norm for Gen-Z, they know it can be done successfully

In a June 2022 survey of 647 Oxford students, “a good work/life balance” was the most important attribute of a job, edging out “intellectually challenging” from the number one position for the first time. Any agency that is demanding five days a week, in-house, is likely to find its pool of candidates shrinks.

Whilst hybrid or non-linear working is easier said than done within the creative industry, there are steps you can take to show Gen Zs that you care about their individual work-life balance, thus also their wellbeing.

Read how to pivot to a Non-Linear work structure.

Stand for something

Compared to 39% of millennials, 60% of these digital natives are serious about wanting to change the world for the better; and they appreciate employers that help them do it.

You may have noticed that Gen-Z applicants ask as many questions about the environment, sustainability, and governance issues as any other topic. It’s because they want to bring more of themselves to work and feel purposeful. Many Gen Z employees will regard a company’s actions on equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) as being as important as the terms on offer around pay and location.

B-Corp agencies get a big thumbs up, as do those whose actions match their manifesto’s.

Agencies looking to recruit Gen-Zers should aim to showcase ways in which the role either has a purpose itself or supports another purposeful activity. Be authentic with your messaging, and relationships. Add in great company culture and great growth opportunities – you’ll have the recipe for attracting and retaining Gen Z.

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