A major study by Capita Resourcing shows that nearly three quarters (71 percent) of 16-20 year olds believe that employers are not making enough effort to attract them, despite a quarter (28 percent) of organisations reporting that they proactively recruit this age group.

The A to Gen Z research examined the attitudes of 1,015 Generation Z-ers (aged between 16 and 20) and 106 senior HR professionals. It revealed a shift in power from employers to candidates, with the large majority (62 percent) of Gen Z believing that an interview is as much about interviewing a prospective employer as it is about the employer interviewing them.

The study also found that 59 percent of employers think Gen Z workers will leave very quickly if their organisations don’t adequately accommodate and support Gen Z individuals who are starting their first job. However many employers aren’t anticipating this generation’s need to feel wanted, or just how long they plan to stay in an organisation for. In fact, over half (54 percent) of Gen Z stated they only expect to stay in their first job for under two years. This translates into an average expectancy of just 500 working days for a Gen Z employee in their first role.

Nicola McQueen, Managing Director, Capita HR & Resourcing, comments: “To maximise the potential of Generation Z, organisations need to better understand the needs, ambitions and expectations of this cohort in the workplace. Particularly in terms of their unwillingness to stay in a company for longer than the 500 day window highlighted in our research. Treating candidates as you would a consumer can help you to stand out amongst competitors and ensure that potential recruits, especially in this younger age bracket, feel appreciated, valued and ready to invest their career in your company.”

McQueen continues: “It’s all about building a brand ethos and story that resonates not only with Generation Z, but the entire workforce. Establishing and communicating the opportunity for career progression, professional reward and personalised company benefits from the first point of engagement will help to draw employees in. The trick is to understand what each age group needs and making the necessary investments into these areas to benefit the entire organisation.”

The research highlighted some interesting factors which Gen Z are looking for from their employer:

  • Steady as you go: According to the research, most respondents want stability in their role (93 percent), to work for a well-known company (82 percent), a challenge (80 percent) and work that makes a difference/impacts society (79 percent)
  • Trust is a must: It was found that Gen Z-ers want clear direction (72 percent), transparency (67 percent) and trust (66 percent) from their managers
  • Quality over quantity: When it comes to ways of working, working face-to-face in a small team (54 percent) was favoured over virtually/remotely (32 percent) or face-to-face in large teams (14 percent)
  • Moving on up: Good opportunities to progress within a company (93 percent), good opportunities to develop as person (93 percent), time off to study (47 percent) plus a mentor/coach at work (45 percent) were preferable amongst Generation Z\;

McQueen concludes: “Implementing an effective, bespoke, recruitment campaign to attract Gen Z is key, but it can’t just be an exercise to tick the resourcing diversity box. You need to employ workers that fit your organisation’s ethos and culture and follow-through with clear progression pathways, accelerated learning opportunities, balanced flexible-working policies and knowledge sharing through different cohorts. If you fail to maximise the potential of young workers, the likelihood is that they will move on quickly, which could result in poor business productivity and an impact on the bottom line.”







Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.