In 2018, the ISE’s (Institute of Student Employers) Annual Student Recruitment Survey revealed that businesses have increased their student hires by 16%. As this number grows, we’re faced with a new challenge, how do you engage with Gen Z? But as a member of Gen Z myself, I’ve been constantly surrounded by negative stereotypes that define us as ‘lazy’, ‘disengaged’, ‘impatient’ and only capable of expressing our feelings through emojis. Stereotypes like these have made it difficult to see beyond these labels and appreciate new ways of working. Having been raised in a ‘digital environment’, live messaging and online events are the new ways of engaging with students and graduates. As Gen Z become a core part of our future talent strategies, understanding how they think, what they expect and what they want from employers is vital if we want to better engage and attract them to our workforce.  
 “72% of candidates who had a negative experience shared their experience online or with someone directly” (Careerarc, 2017)
  Also known as the Net Generation, Gen Z have high expectations of organisations and they’re not afraid to say what they think. They utilise social media as a platform to share opinions and experiences which then act as a guide to inform their decisions. In our recent research with EY and Bright Network, 60% of graduates said that they were most interested in meeting current interns and apprentices at campus events (Meet & Engage, 2018). And so, it’s clear that Gen Z don’t just seek authenticity and honest opinions, but they seek these from people that they can relate to. That’s why candidate experience is pivotal when engaging with Gen Z. Research by Careerarc found that after receiving a negative candidate experience, 3 out of 4 candidates shared this experience online or with someone directly. Yet candidates who felt positive about the experience they received were 38% more likely to accept a job offer (IBM 2017). What’s more, Gen Z are not salary motivated. Research by Nielsen found that 67% of employees prefer to work for a socially responsible company. They want to work for a company that shares their values, supports social causes and allows them to see the true value of their work. Bright Network’s research also highlighted that 4 in 10 students view an organisations’ current employees and company culture just as significant as salary. Perhaps more so than any other generation, Gen Z have shown real initiative. 76% of them believe that they can earn a living from their hobbies (Forbes, 2017). And so, it’s not surprising that many young people have a ‘side hustle’. They use the technology around them to learn new skills and enhance their strengths while balancing this with their education and work commitments. As a recent graduate who’s just been through the application process with several organisations – experiencing the good and the bad – I think it’s about time to ditch unfair stereotypes about Gen Z and consider us in a new light. After-all, being able to adapt and embrace generational differences is vital if you want to remain at the forefront of candidates’ minds If engaging with future talent is at the top of your agenda, check out our recent webinar hosted by Business Development Director, Nicola Sullivan and The Branding Man, Steve Keith to hear their top tips and the latest insights on Gen Z. To chat more about how the Meet & Engage platform can support your recruitment processes, feel free to contact Nicola at Nicola.Sullivan@meetandengage.com.

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