Just as the corporate world is finally coming to grips with how to attract and retain the Millennial generation, Generation Z is entering the workforce. But this new generation might prove to be a much more harmonious match for large corporations than its Millennial predecessors.

In 2017, colleges began turning out a new group of graduates who are approaching the work world with a different perspective than the generation before them. Gen Z maintains a future-forward outlook underscored by what could be considered traditional values, with a twist.

THIS YEAR’S GRADUATES ARE PROVIDING LARGE EMPLOYERS A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY THEY SHOULD CAPITALIZE ON WHILE IT REMAINS OPEN. 

Millennials transitioned from college to the workforce with an idealism that gave some the impression that they had a ‘sense of entitlement’. This view often chaffed against their senior colleagues and left these young college grads frustrated by a slow path to success. They eschewed large corporations in favor of dynamic startups or smaller businesses where they felt they could make a difference―a career reward they were willing to prioritise above financial compensation.

Believing their education alone was enough of a qualification for a fast track to success, many Millennials did not plan well for the demands and expectations of the workforce of the future when they chose their educational path. In fact, according to Accenture’s study on recent college graduates, a significant number of Millennials (54%) have been left frustrated by slow moving careers or unsatisfying jobs they feel overqualified for.

Gen Z is different.

A mutually beneficial partnership opportunity

Gen Z appears to have much more in common with their Gen X parents than they do with the Millennial generation they’re following into the workforce, and so they are much better prepared for the realities of the corporate environment. Most significantly, Accenture’s study indicates college grad interest in working for a large company is up 37% over last year. This is very good news for big business, and for financial services in particular―an industry that has recently had difficulty attracting young workers. It seems Gen Z is more interested in partnering with the corporate world than in resisting it.

What does this mean for large financial services firms? First of all, it provides for a spirit of renewed optimism, as this newest generation recognises and is a willing recipient of the advantages large firms are able to deliver. But it also means firms will need to make sure they are well-positioned to attract and keep Gen Z recruits, and that they communicate the advantages big business can offer this new pool of young workers. Preparation is key.

A tailor-made work experience that works for everyone

Firms must take a close look at their own workplaces and policies and deepen their understanding about the wants and needs of younger workers of both generations, then set aside what doesn’t appeal to either Gen Y or Gen Z and embrace what does. It’s worth noting one of Gen Z’s primary desires is a tailor-made work experience that individualises personal development. Because firms will be dealing with four generations in the workplace, HR teams should look for ways to harmoniously blend the generations together in an environment that meets the needs of all workers, regardless of their generational characteristics.

In this three-part blog series, I’m going to explore how financial services firms can capitalise on the interests of this newest generation to capture and keep valuable talent. In my next post, I’ll take a deeper look into what makes Gen Z tick, and how that relates to the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship between Gen Z and the corporate world.

For more information on the Gen Z workforce, please see the Accenture report: Gen Z Rising

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