Generation Z in IT – Why Is It The Next Big Thing?
It is estimated that by 2030, Generation Z will make up over 30% of the global workforce. Growing companies need to take an interest in this group if they don’t want to experience severe understaffing one day.
Generation Z differs from previous generations in values and pays special attention to certain elements in job offers. They don’t choose jobs based solely on salary or employee benefits. If you want them to join your ranks, you need to understand them and create jobs that attract them.
What are the benefits of hiring Generation Z in IT, and how to make your offer attractive to them?
In this article, you will learn
· What characterizes Generation Z and why it is called that. It will help you understand the changes in the job market and adapt to the current trends.
· What matters to Generation Z? What motivates them and what should you pay attention to when building IT teams with them?
· What can we learn from Generation Z employees? What value can they bring to the IT workplace?
· What do employers think and say about Generation Z?
· How does Generation Z imagine the ideal company? What guides them when choosing a job and how to persuade them to stay?
· How to motivate and care for Generation Z employees?
What is Generation Z and why is it called that?
Generation Z is the youngest generation currently entering the IT job market. The oldest are the 24-year-olds who have just graduated from universities and are looking for their first jobs.
However, there is no rigid time frame for Generation Z. According to sources such as Insider Intelligence and Pew Research, they are people born between 1997 and 2015. They are called Generation Z because they are the next generation after X and Y.
Generation X includes people born between 1965 and 1979. They choose their jobs based on salary and employee benefits.
Generation Y, also called the Millennials, includes people born between 1980 and 1996. For them, the greatest value is time to pursue their passions and interests.
In 2020, the population of Generation Z was about 2.56 billion, and by 2030 they will constitute 30% of the global workforce. Employers should adapt their job offers and create attractive positions so that they are ready for the arrival of new employees.
These people were born in a time when access to technology and the Internet was widespread, and most spent much of their childhood in front of computer screens. As a result, Generation Z in IT ensures familiarity with various devices and systems.
For most of them, social media, Wi-Fi, or Smartphones are the natural environment. They can’t imagine the world without the Internet because they don’t know what it was like before it was invented.
Their openness to new technologies and foreign language skills is a strong advantage in international teams. Additionally, according to Dr. Anna Dolot’s research, Generation Z has lower financial expectations than the representatives of previous generations, which makes them potentially more attractive candidates.
According to official EU estimates*, there is currently a shortage of about 600,000 programmers across the European Union. The ever-increasing demand for specialists in the IT industry means that employers should prepare for Generation Z.
According to Dr. Anna Dolot, many companies prefer employees without extensive professional experience. They can control the process of knowledge acquisition, teach the right approach to work, procedures, and functioning in the organization. They don’t have to eradicate the bad practices that more experienced employees might have.
What motivates Generation Z? What should you keep in mind when hiring Generation Z in IT teams?
According to a study conducted by Dr. Anna Dolot, 93% of Generation Z respondents consider the atmosphere in the workplace a significant factor. If you want to create a pleasant atmosphere, focus on employer branding activities and organizational culture.
Salary comes second with 91%. Compared to previous generations, Generation Z has lower financial expectations. According to research conducted by Honeypot and Payscale, junior developers in Germany earn between EUR 42 000-53 000 a year, while those who have a minimum 6-year experience make about EUR 70 000.
88% point to job security as the most important factor. Representatives of Generation Z like to work in organizations that provide stable employment and offer working hours that suit them. These are the elements that respondents indicated as the most motivating.
The fourth factor is a competent supervisor who shares their knowledge and experience. Generation Z appreciates supportive managers. Learning from people with expertise in a particular field is of great importance to them.
Performing work related to hobbies and interests also came up in the study. Although a bit different than in the earlier generations, professional development still seems to be important. Generation Z expects short and specific feedback that makes them feel part of a team.
What can we learn from Generation Z employees? What is the value of Generation Z in IT?
Research shows that teams diversified in terms of generation, gender, and personalities produce better ideas and create more added value. Representatives of Generation Z like to solve problems on their own – they treat it as an opportunity to prove themselves.
What we can learn from Generation Z is that it is an employee who decides whether to work in a given company, not an employer. If they like the company and the working conditions suit them, they will stick around.
They also stay if they have a mentor, participate in exciting projects, and work in a well-coordinated team. If an employer does not provide appropriate working conditions and employment stability, they will not retain their employees.
People from Generation Z are looking for their place – somewhere they feel comfortable. They want to experience working in many companies to find the right one offering employment on preferred conditions. What is also important is a company that looks good on a resume and social media. An ideal employer should have a positive image and a good reputation in the labor market.
Changing jobs is not a problem for Generation Z, because job interviews are conducted remotely. Most of them do not have children, so the decision to move on is easier than for representatives of other generations.
What do employers think and say about Generation Z?
In an interview with Piotr Bucki, j-labs CEO, Dr. Anna Dolot said some employers believe Generation Z employees to be disloyal, uncommitted, smartphone-dependent, and have no interest in anything. When asked what they thought about such an opinion, Generation Z respondents replied: “They used to say that about every new generation and will keep saying that about future generations.”
As the saying goes, the old cow thinks she was never a calf. Many employers do not remember their first jobs and the mistakes they made. Now that they have a lot of experience, they complain about Generation Z and their shortcomings.
Meanwhile, many employers see the potential of Generation Z in IT and the value they can bring to their companies. They try to meet their expectations to attract the greatest talents.
Many companies are introducing various incentives and benefits to encourage Generation Z to apply and stay, but what actually determines young peoples’ choices?
How does Generation Z imagine the ideal company? What drives them when choosing a job and how to persuade them to stay?
For Generation Z, the ideal company lets them have an impact on the entire organization. They commit to the assigned tasks and are highly proactive. They are not interested in small, repetitive, and undemanding tasks. They like to take on challenges and experiment with different solutions. If assignments are not challenging or meaningful, they don’t perform well.
They want clear career paths, mentoring programs, and training. Continuous development and the possibility to acquire new skills make them more likely to stay with a company. It is worth talking to them about their career goals and supporting their development. Convince them they have a future in your company.
How to motivate and care for Generation Z employees?
Provide optimal conditions for development
Generation Z is ambitious and focused on continuous improvement. They want to achieve great results and move up the career ladder. People from this generation are looking for offers that are well suited to their talents and interests.
Respect their independence, and if they ask – support them
Generation Z employees like to deal with problems on their own and look for new, out-of-the-box solutions. They also appreciate the support from team members and trust when it comes to assigned tasks. When times are tough, or they need help, they expect someone who can direct them.
Work on team communication and feedback
Generation Z is the first generation that grew up with widespread access to technology, and it might seem like they can only communicate through social media. In reality, they are very engaged in live meetings.
They also like to know where they stand. They expect their employers to provide clear information and specify expectations. They find praise motivating as it makes them feel appreciated.
It is worth remembering that not everyone born after 1997 can be so easily characterized. People have different personalities and expectations. The above tips are intended to help you create an organization that appeals to Generation Z. One thing is certain – they will not accept just any job. Companies that recognize their potential will win the battle for ambitious and committed employees.
And what steps is your organization taking to attract, engage and motivate Generation Z employees?
Anna Dolot, 2019, What Motivates Generation Z at Work – Selected Aspects – Empirical Research Results – Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakowie – Wydawnictwo SAN | ISSN 2543-8190 –
Komisja Europejska, raport Digital Economy and Society Index(DESI) 2020