61 million Gen Z will soon enter the workforce and bring big changes with them

Gen Z in the Workforce

CGK’s CEO, Dr. Denise Villa, was quoted in a new CNBC article about the impending flood of Gen Z into the workforce. As a generation with no memory of life before smartphones, Gen Z present new challenges and opportunities for workplace leaders.

Workplace leaders: Get ready. The labor force is about to receive millions of young workers—members of Gen Z—who grew up in the age of smartphones, the aftermath of the Great Recession, and social media ubiquity. Leaders will need new strategies to attract, train, and retain these emerging employees. In fact, those who don’t adapt with proven solutions will find themselves at a significant disadvantage that will only grow more challenging if not addressed.

At CGK, we call Gen Z “digital dependents.” This generation is also referred to as iGen and Centennials. From our latest State of Gen Z research, we know that 95% of Gen Z ages 13 to 24 own a smartphone, 26% say they use their smartphones ten hours per day or more, and 65% are on their phones after midnight at least a few nights each week. In fact, our research shows Gen Z trust YouTube ads more than any other advertisement medium, including radio, print, and television! For this new generation, the smartphone is an extension of the self, and it serves as a gateway to digital communities that offer entertainment, friendship, learning, and news.

Gen Z’s digital dependency holds major implications for each stage of employment in the modern workforce, starting with attracting the right job candidates.

Hiring Gen Z as digital dependents

The era of career fairs is fading fast, and even online job boards seem to interest Millennials far more than Gen Z. Instead, per CGK’s research, Gen Z is evaluating prospective employers on YouTube and Instagram. 40% of Gen Z ages 13 to 24 say they would use YouTube to determine if they want to work for a company, 37% would use Instagram, and 36% would use Snapchat. Just 24% would use online job boards like Glassdoor. That’s a big shift from Millennials and older generations.

Gen Z tend to view the job application process itself as a gauge of a company’s quality and the potential employment experience. They believe job postings on company websites should include salary ranges for each position, and prefer applications take fifteen minutes or less to complete.

“Workplace leaders should use employment applications as a marketing tool to advance interest in a position throughout the application process itself,” says Denise. “There’s a ton of talent in the emerging Gen Z workforce, and great candidates begin evaluating a prospective employer from the moment they click ‘Start Application.’”

Communicating with Gen Z on the job

Feedback, feedback, feedback. When Baby Boomers comprised most of the workforce, tradition in many workplaces held that bosses rarely spoke with employees unless they were doing something wrong. Per CGK’s research, Millennials reversed that trend, and now Gen Z are taking it even further. Much further.

Two-thirds of Gen Z report needing feedback from their supervisor at least every few weeks in order to stay at their job. One in five members of Gen Z say they need feedback daily or several times each day in order to stay with an employer. For this generation, job satisfaction is directly linked to receiving constant, meaningful communication with their leaders.

Gen Z employees want to know that you know they are present and contributing. What is particularly interesting from a leadership standpoint is that you don’t have to deliver this message to Gen Z in-person. You can do so by IM, text, video, or a tool such as Slack or Teams. This new generation brings tremendous talent to the workforce, and adapting to engage and retain them better is definitely worth the effort!

Driving Gen Z results at your organization

Would you like specific strategies for recruiting, retaining, and developing Gen Z talent in your multigenerational workforce? Contact us here and we will set up a phone call to see how we can be a resource to you through our customized presentations and more. We are passionate about unlocking the potential of every generation!

Gen Z Workforce


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