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The rise of the Gen Z generation

Aug. 31, 2016
How trucking needs to approach Gen Z workers

If you thought you had your hands full trying to figure out how to recruit and retain Millennials – also known as “Gen Y” workers – into your trucking business [go here, here and here for some examples] get ready for a whole different set of challenges with the “Gen Z” generation.

Online job recruiting firm Monster Worldwide Inc. recently conducted what it calls a “multi-generational survey” with global research agency TNS, polling over 2,000 people across the Boomer, Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z generations in the U.S.

Monster noted that Gen Z respondents to its poll – aged 15 to 20 – pre-qualified themselves as either employed or, among younger teens, planning to work in the future.

"At this stage in the recruiting game, employers looking to attract future talent need to expand their focus beyond Millennials to understand the next generation's unique, practical job must-haves, and proactively develop a working environment that will keep them happy and motivated,” noted Seth Matheson, Monster’s director of talent fusion, in a statement.

"The key to successfully attracting and engaging Gen Z throughout their candidate journey will be a strong employer brand that is consistent across technologies," he explained. "Organizational brands will need to be transparent, adaptable, personable and memorable; targeting through tools like social recruiting.”

So what makes this latest crop of future workers different from previous generations?

For starters, Monster’s survey found that the Gen Z cohort is the first true generation of "digital natives," the first-ever to have ubiquitous Internet technology at their fingertips since birth.

The poll also found that that they don't merely think outside the box; they throw it away entirely. As they strive to reinvent norms, members of Gen Z will be attracted to careers that have both purpose and pragmatism. And yet they're more “altruistic” than the workforce before them as 74% of Gen Z members believe jobs should have a greater meaning than just “bringing home the bacon,” compared to 69% of those in older generations and specifically 70% of Millennials.

But don’t let that “altruism” fool you, according to Monster’s survey findings. Here are some examples:

Gen Z is driven by money and ambition, too: While the survey revealed that Gen Z is motivated by a variety of factors, one thing stands out: They'll do whatever it takes to reach their goals. Entrepreneurship is a major priority, with 76% of these individuals seeing themselves as the owners of their careers, driving their own professional advancement. Nearly half (49%) want to have their own business, compared to 32% across all working generations. Plus, the majority (67%) is willing to relocate for a good job, and 58% say "bring it" to working nights and weekends for a better salary, compared to 41% across all working generations. Could that make them more willing recruits for long-haul trucking jobs?

Forget Ping-Pong for Gen Z wants a White Picket Fence: In an unexpected twist, Gen Z differs from the Millennials before them by valuing benefits and security that have traditionally been associated with Boomers and members of Gen X. The top three "must haves" for their first job are health insurance (70%), a competitive salary (63%) and a boss they respect (61%). “A common theme we saw in the report is Gen Z's emphasis on some of the more 'traditional' benefits like health insurance and a quality,
two-way relationship with their potential manager," said Matheson. "At the same time, we expect them to hit the ground running in their new roles, providing innovative new solutions for tackling problems."

Gen Z seeks motivation and seeks it now: Optimizing Gen Z's power to transform industry relies on keeping them motivated. The digital-native nature of Gen Z means they're already accustomed to rapidly and constantly changing environments and stimulators, so employers will need to maintain a focus on their core values to keep these new workers inspired. This includes money/pay (70%), the ability to pursue their passion (46%) and the challenges/excitement of the job (39%). Keeping Gen Z galvanized and engaged throughout the year – not just when their annual reviews roll around – will be critical to employers' success, Monster stressed.

Let's get digital: A key element of Gen Z's potential to change the way work is accomplished is their comfort and immersion in mobile technologies, which enable constant communication and innovation. According to the survey, Gen Z believes that technology allows them to be more productive (57%) and mobile (45%). Furthermore, 39% see smartphones as essential and 37% rely on laptops, compared to 25% and 30% across all working generations, respectively. These tools enable Gen Z to be "always on" while determining their own schedules, creating tailor-made paths to their personal version of success.

Focus on employer branding now: Before Gen Z enters the workforce in ever larger numbers, employers need to define and communicate who they are, their purpose and what makes them unique. It is vital that these qualities are accurately and consistently communicated across social media channels, Matheson noted.

As if recruiting and retaining workers for trucking wasn’t difficult enough already …

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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